Everything Hidden In This Magic Media Room

Hiding the AV system was just one of the big challenges in putting a home theater in this room.


When not in use, the projector hides in a cutout spot in the ceiling, then drops into place for movie time.

Vaulted ceilings, an open layout, bright wall-to-wall windows, concrete floors, and modern design: With features like these, you’d never guess that this living room moonlights as a media room. The custom electronics (CE) pros at Bekins, Grand Haven, Mich., the masters behind the magic, tackled the challenges of hiding a slew of A/V gear in this retrofit project with gusto.

The biggest of the challenges was hiding a 65-inch Sony KDL65W5100 LCD TV in the center of the room. Rather than compromise on aesthetics, Bekins devised a creative solution to excavate concrete below the cabinet to provide the additional space required for the TV and a lift mechanism. Thankfully, the company was involved in the project early enough to make this happen. In doing so, they achieved the perfect balance of form and function, allowing the custom cabinet to remain at the appropriate height but still afford the Auton lift full range of motion. The TV rises out of its hiding spot when turned on, then retreats when turned off.


If this isn’t enough trickery, Bekins also concealed a 184-inch Da-Lite screen in the ceiling. “The residents wanted to be able to put on the TV and watch something casually with a small group but also have the impact of a projection system on a huge screen for larger groups and cinematic viewing,” says Dave Ohlendorf, lead programmer of Bekins. To avoid the risk of butchering the ceiling, Bekins created a full-size cardboard template to ensure that the screen casing would fit in the desired spot before the actual installation took place. The only evidence of the mammoth Da-lite screen hidden above is one slim cutaway in the ceiling.

The mystery continues with the equipment rack, which is hidden in a recess by the fireplace. “Each location we suggested was already spoken for by the designers, so we had to work with what was available to us,” says Ohlendorf. The builder was able to create a hinged bookshelf behind which the rack and equipment is hidden. “Without this solution, the distance for the wiring runs would have made HDMI very difficult and would have created a whole new set of challenges,” says Ohlendorf.

This media room is so covert, even the Lutron Sivoia Roller Shades along the south wall’s 15 windows are out of sight. “We had to eliminate as much of the ambient light for the projector and hide the shades in custom sills. You can only see the shades as they are rolling down,” says Ohlendorf.

Check out another extreme system installed by Bekins.

In fact, when you walk into the environment, the only evidence of technology is a pair of Paradigm in-ceiling speakers. Press the AMX MVP8400I touchpanel and technology rains down on the audience from all sides. This hidden media room magic is more than simple sleight of hand. The countless hours of design, problem-solving, and execution have made this trick—in magician’s parlance—the prestige.

System And Room Design
Bekins, Inc.
Grand Haven, Mich.

AMDG Architects
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Interior Design
Via Design
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Mike Schaap Builders
Holland, Mich.

Specialty Consultant
WPF Engineering
Belmont, Mich.


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