Home Entertainment

 

Out of the Box Home Theater

October 16, 2009 By J.B. Howell



Click the images below for bigger versions:
 The chandelier adds glamour, as does the oculus, shown upper right, which is backed with acoustic fabric that portrays a blue sky scene.
The stage below the 120-inch Stewart Filmscreen features inlaid French marquetry. Corinthian capitals top the double-fluted columns that frame the space.
“The theater’s lines follow a wavy rhythm of ovals and interconnecting curves,” Kalomirakis says. “This room has articulation of architectural movement and a sophistication in the way the elements are arranged.”
The entry doors bear an artistic touch, courtesy of the client. Coupled with a mystical staff, the inscription reads: “Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling”—a nod to the 1952 western High Noon, starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly.
Out of the Box Home Theater

A traditional home theater pushes the envelope with it's unorthodox floor plan, elaborate European woodwork and a mind-blowing sound system.
 
The ability to put aside one’s own opinion out of respect for the other party’s desires goes against the grain of human nature. It’s an evolved trait. And for the top expert in his or her field to do such a thing—especially the founder of a particular industry—well, that behavior is more than rare. It’s honorable. And brave.

Theo Kalomirakis is just this kind of brave person.

 The chandelier adds glamour, as does the oculus, shown upper right, which is backed with acoustic fabric that portrays a blue sky scene.

Kalomirakis is the designer behind this plush private screening room. In addition, he’s the owner of the eponymous home-theater design firm in Manhattan, Theo Kalomirakis Theaters.

And he’s known around the world as the “father of home-theater design.”

From the beginning, Kalomirakis’ client was very clear about wrapping his new home theater in rich woodworking that was finished with a shiny lacquer. Kalomirakis, however, disagreed with his client and recommended a different approach: He told the homeowner that the theater’s elaborately carved millwork shouldn’t be covered with a heavy lacquer.

“In my mind, it’s a little too reflective,” Kalomirakis says. “I was concerned it would be wrong for the theater.” Nevertheless, the theater designer understood that the high-gloss sheen was very important to the homeowner. His client had to have that look. So Kalomirakis honored his client’s wishes.

Seven years later, after the client’s home theater was completed, Kalomirakis saw the room in all its high-gloss glory. And he was pleasantly surprised.

“I was very nervous to see it because I was not on site when they installed the millwork,” Kalomirakis says. “I was worried that the shine would ruin the effect. But the owner, a very sweet man, kept saying: ‘Don’t worry about it. It looks great. It’s not distracting.’”

Sure enough, the homeowner was right.

Since Kalomirakis built his first home theater in 1985, he’s orchestrated more than 400 stunning residential cinemas. Not surprisingly, he’s mastered the fine art of hearing and honoring other people’s opinions and needs. “In our world, it’s always about compromise,” he says. “If one part, like me, insists on the design aspect that he or she presents, other trades get screwed up. You have to be able to work out the differences with the contractor and the acoustic consultant.”

The stage below the 120-inch Stewart Filmscreen features inlaid French marquetry. Corinthian capitals top the double-fluted columns that frame the space.

In this project, one of those “differences” involved the theater’s ceiling treatment. “This home has the most amazing craftsmanship,” Kalomirakis says. “They hired people from all over the world and have a lot of decorative painting throughout the house.” 

As a result, the designer envisioned the theater as an extension of those breathtaking paintings and wanted to cover the ceiling with an enormous mural. But after consulting with acoustician Steve Haas, the owner of SH Acoustics in Milford, CT, about the ceiling mural, the design team concluded that it wouldn’t work: The theater’s numerous speakers had no place to go other than in the ceiling.

And if the speakers had to be tucked into the ceiling, Kalomirakis’ mural would have to be orchestrated on a microperforated material to accommodate the sound. With time, the integrity of a mural canvas dotted with thousands of tiny pinholes would be compromised and would sag.

So Kalomirakis shifted gears. He wholeheartedly agreed with Hass that the ceiling would have to “lose a little bit of visual appeal” in order to achieve the best sound possible. That meant the massive ceiling mural was now a thing of the past. But Kalomirakis’ new vision for the ceiling—two massive wheel-shaped coffers arranged in a figure-eight pattern, with acoustic fabric stretched between each spoke—won out.

Comments

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.
  • Glossary terms will be automatically marked with links to their descriptions. If there are certain phrases or sections of text that should be excluded from glossary marking and linking, use the special markup, [no-glossary] ... [/no-glossary]. Additionally, these HTML elements will not be scanned: a, abbr, acronym, code, pre.

More information about formatting options

Local Guides

 All Guides
   Alabama
   Alaska
   Arizona
   Arkansas
   California
   Colorado
   Connecticut
   DC
   Delaware
   Florida
   Georgia
   Hawaii
   Idaho
   Illinois
   Indiana
   Iowa
   Kansas
   Kentucky
   Louisiana
   Maine
   Maryland
   Massachusetts
   Michigan
   Minnesota
   Mississippi
   Missouri
   Montana
   Nebraska
   Nevada
   New Hampshire
   New Jersey
   New Mexico
   New York
   North Carolina
   North Dakota
   Ohio
   Oklahoma
   Oregon
   Pennsylvania
   Rhode Island
   South Carolina
   South Dakota
   Tennessee
   Texas
   Utah
   Vermont
   Virginia
   Washington
   West Virginia
   Wisconsin
   Wyoming