Home Entertainment


Ravishing in Red

May 14, 2010 By Susan Sharpe

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The designer tapered the theater’s red pilasters and added recessed bands of black for an Art Deco twist. Each pilaster provides a cozy and artful residence for a decorative sconce.
“Knowing this theater was going to be an Art Deco style allowed me to design the pilasters with an open mind,” he says.
The client communicated that he wanted a movie-watching environment and not a musical reference listening space. The Tannoy surround-sound speakers, which are equidistant to the theater’s sweet spot, create what Alexander calls “a psycho-acoustic effect.”

A developer, who has only one home theater under his belt, designs a client’s dream cinema to rave reviews.

Home Entertainment: Your company name implies that you’re builder/developer. How did you end up designing a home theater?

Dennis Radzinsky: I have a bachelor’s degree in architecture, so that’s my first love. After working for a prestigious architectural design-build firm for several years, I received my first commission to design and build a 12,000-square-foot home in 2004. The client wanted a home theater, so that was the first one I designed. I also handled all of the interiors for the home.

Most of my clients build large homes of this caliber, so having a home theater is a required element. Even though I’m not a theater specialist, they rely on me for my vision and design ability. For most clients, first I design the house and then I design the interiors, right down to the custom woodworking.

The designer tapered the theater’s red pilasters and added recessed bands of black for an Art Deco twist. Each pilaster provides a cozy and artful residence for a decorative sconce.

HE: Obviously your client is passionate about red … tell me a little about what the homeowner had in mind for the theater’s look.
DR: Being an old movie buff, he believes that home theaters should be as formal and spectacular as the old-time movie houses from the 1930s and 1940s. As soon as I knew there was a spot for a theater in this home, my mind started racing with ideas. When I learned that the client was a movie buff, I was even more excited.

HE: So when your mind stopped racing, what was your first thought?
DR: I told my client that I’m not an acoustic engineer. I designed and built the entire home, but I got the right parties involved to do an acoustic analysis—to figure out the right mix of absorptive and reflective panels, diffusers, etc. I knew I could get the design down, but I needed someone to fine-tune the room acoustically, and an acoustic expert can tune a room perfectly.

It’s important to have a designer and a project manager on site to ensure all the trades work together in a timely manner. It’s equally as important that every design detail is completely thought through and discussed with the designer and homeowner prior to construction.

I provided AcousticSmart with my design and color scheme so they could create a virtual model of the theater before it was built. This gave the homeowner an opportunity to participate in selecting the chairs and the wall sconces.

HE: How did you find the right professional to work with?
DR: It was a very easy decision. Being in the field, I know lots of people and AcousticSmart came highly recommended from a reliable source. I had the opportunity to work with the company on my first theater and we had great success. Therefore, I chose them again. I wanted to take this theater to the next level and [by working with] AcousticSmart, I knew I could. The company also supplied the draperies, reclining theater seats, and fiber-optic ceiling.

HE: This theater appears to be a pretty tight space … how big is it?
DR: The size of the theater is 15 feet by 20 feet—or 300 square feet, so it’s small. It’s located in the home’s basement.

HE: I know AcousticSmart provided more than just the acoustic treatments for the theater. How did the selection process for the theater chairs work?
DR: I set up a meeting at the client’s home with AcousticSmart and myself. We all sat down at the kitchen table and reviewed the 12 home cinema loungers that the company offers. We all collaborated and chose the chair based on style of the room and the height of the owners.

HE: Obviously a busy fabric wouldn’t have worked with the chairs since the theater space is so small—a fabric with an elaborate pattern would have looked too chaotic.
DR: That’s true. At first the owner wanted fabric-covered seats, but then he remembered that kids would be using the theater. Therefore, he went with a leather chair named “Rialto.” Those chairs are custom manufactured by AcousticSmart.

The seats in the front row have dual-control motorized mechanisms for the feet and the back—that means they move independently of each other. The seats on the back row have a wall-hugger mechanism that allows the chairs to be installed as close as 2 inches to the wall, but the chairs can still recline.

HE: But you did select a delicate pattern for the carpeting.
DR: The owner originally ordered the carpeting, but then I received a panic phone call about it being on back order. We had a tight deadline—we had to complete the theater by Christmas. So as the builder, I acted quickly and contacted AcousticSmart because I knew they could find the carpet that the owner wanted. And they did. 


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