Homeowner Expertise Leads to Easy Theater Installation

Designer/builder clients make life simple for this theater's installer.

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Photo by Graham Hobart.

Talk about homeowners who knew exactly what they were looking for in a home theater. Darby and Libby Williams made system installer Hi-Fidelity’s job “a rather easy one.” That’s because Darby’s the one who built the house, and wife Libby’s the one who designed it.

When the Williamses began planning their basement home theater, they wanted warmth and coziness—nothing too fancy or too traditional—some storage space, bright sound, and, of course, a big screen (the 21-inch set in their living room just wasn’t cutting it anymore).

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“All we had to do was find the equipment that would match their needs with their construction and design,” says Hi-Fidelity’s Chad Waller. “With his help in the trim and construction of the basement and her remarkable attention to detail, we were able to build the room of their dreams.”

Now when they entertain in their suburban Lubbock, TX, home, guests can watch movies and sporting events—Darby’s a big NASCAR fan—on a 106-inch Draper screen, beamed via a Yamaha DLP projector. Complementing the video is a 7.1 digital surround-sound system featuring JM Labs left, right, and center-channel speakers and in-wall speakers and subwoofer from Sonance.

The most difficult aspect of the installation for Hi-Fidelity was designing the acoustics for what essentially is a square room. But here again, having builder and designer homeowners by the installer’s side made for a smoother operation. Libby did not want any acoustical treatment on the walls, so they went with a really plush carpet to keep sounds from reflecting; and in the back area, they built a countertop with a mini fridge and microwave in one corner and a staircase in the other corner to keep the bass from being trapped.

“Because they took part of the basement as storage, it left our theater area as a square, so we had to design the functionality of the room around that,” Waller says. “They wanted really pronounced rear speakers, but sound is not very friendly [in a square theater space], so we made the rear corners totally different.”

Darby assisted in building up the Sheetrock and trim to create the columns, which house the Sonance in walls. Libby picked out the room’s color scheme, curtains, fabrics and wrap-around sofa to evoke the comfortable and inviting atmosphere she wanted.

System installers often use houses they’ve worked on as displays for potential clients, and Libby gets that benefit as well: Since she runs her interior design business out of her home, she can now show off her own basement to potential clients.

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