Home Entertainment


Best in Theater. Best in Show.

October 27, 2008 By Michelle Paquette

Lights. Camera. Showtime.

From stellar sound systems in traditional and contemporary theaters to themed, old-world movie palace and rustic theaters, each one of these theaters and installations is sure to entice, enthrall and intrigue.

If Star Wars is your passion, you will feel right at home within The Death Star Theater. The theater-going experience is complete from start to finish, including a bridge replicating the original trilogy’s Imperial Star Destroyers.

Death Star Home TheaterFor design, Doug Chiang, who was the lead designer for The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, lended his expertise.

The theater blends three designs: one based on the concept of a theater built within the Death Star (the deadly space station in Star Wars), another inspired by Queen Amidala’s starship from The Phantom Menace, and the third a concept of the artist’s own creation, which, in the end, resembled the bridge from the original trilogy’s Imperial Star Destroyers.

For comfort and style, the theater is complete with black theater Valentino theater chairs, designed and manufactured CinemaTech.

Definitive Audio supplied and installed the room’s audiovisual gear, which includes a Runco Reflection VX-5c DLP projector, a Studiotek 130 screen from Stewart Filmscreen, a Crestron touchscreen control system and a full complement of Meridian electronics and speakers. To ensure quality sound, Definitive Audio built a wedge-shaped space that offers minimal sound reflection.

For the more down-to-earth theater seeker, Theo Kalomirakis’ nine-seat Light Fantastique theater's design certainly fits the bill.

This cinematic pleasure fills a nearly 1,000-square-foot, free floating, shock-mounted space within a 12,000-square-foot house. Anthony Grimani— who developed Dolby Surround at Dolby Laboratories, and went on to become director of technology at Lucasfilm THX—designed the layout.

The aural centerpiece of this theater is its JBL Synthesis audio system, which is complete with speakers, surround processor, amplification, and equalization.

One interesting modification to the Synthesis Two system, though, is the replacement of its standard subwoofers with a quartet of Triad Custom InWall Silver/12 PowerSubs.

For visual pleasure, Kalomirakis used Color Kinetics, a technology that allows for color changes, within the theater’s lobby. The system rotates through the entire color range in 10 minutes, and it can connect to a CD to blend light with music.

Just outside of Palm Springs, CA, there is an amazing contemporary style home theater installation, nicknamed Desert Flower.

Bang & Olufsen oversaw the home’s entertainment technologies, inside and out.

The master suite houses a B&O 42-inch BeoVision 5 plasma television is positioned on a motorized stand which moves as the viewer moves about the room.

When the TV disappears into the cabinet, Dan Flavin’s neon art becomes the room’s focal point.

The sofas, covered in washable suede, are by Ken Burger of Costa Mesa, Calif., who designed and fabricated all of the home’s sofas and chairs.

The terraced pool area includes a pool house with showers, a bar, and a kitchen. A Bang & Olufsen TV, CD player, and BeoLab 1 speakers are displayed as fine art.  

The terraced pool area includes a pool house with showers, a bar, and a kitchen. Sound is delivered from Rockustics Hillside and Rocky Junior outdoor speakers.

This Stylish and Streamlined custom-built home theater, found in Bowling Green, KY, was built to replicate the Art Deco-style demonstration theater known as the Starlite Electronic Video Theatre, found in First Impressions’ demo cinema.

To achieve this look, custom-made torchieres and an elaborate ceiling treatment illuminate with ice blue LED lighting.

The CineRodeo Lounger is positioned in the front row surrounded by matching theater chairs, motorized with double-wide arms.

Black Granite drink holders and condiment trays complete the package.

Behind the two rows seats is a green marble-topped counter where guests can enjoy food and drinks.

Behind the bar is an area with 42-inch-high tables with four hydraulically adjustable chairs designed for a clear video screen view.

The audiovisual equipment of this theater was $80,000 and the total cost of the theater was a little more than $300,000. 

Incorporating elegance with comfort, Mediterra project designer Jennifer Clark used a rich color scheme of gold, deep red and a cherry finish for this vibrant theater.

The theater walls are covered in bronze silk tufted fabric from Robert Allen/Beacon Hill.

Crushed velvet drapes conceal a 106-inch Stewart screen and a drop-down SIM2 projector retracts into the ceiling via a panel of custom moldings.

The equipment rack is prominently exposed in the front of the room. For comfort, ottomans and oversized Marge Carson theater seats line the front row.

The Media Systems one-touch system provides access to everything electronic––lighting, security, audio, and video.

Crestron’s Ultimate Control Package is the brain of the system.

In true Wild West fashion, the Ranch Dressing home cinema embraces home on the range.

Measuring 27 feet in length and 28 feet wide with dual-height 12- to 22-foot ceilings, it’s almost double the size of most home theaters. 

Ranch Dressing home cinemaWith all of this spaciousness, ample seating is provided in two rows of theater chairs that include a pair of day bed-configured.

The seats are clad in full-hide Nubuck Suede in an antelope hue, and are outfitted with hand-hewn beverage holders.

A Stewart Firehawk 123-inch diagonal projection screen works with a Digital Projection three-chip DLP projector.

To accommodate the domed ceiling, a motorized projector lift drops down from the ceiling when the lights go black.

A Sky Dome features a dusk-to-dawn fiber-optic lighting scene, shooting-star constellations and a color fade system. The ceiling’s centerpiece is an elliptical, wagon wheel-like soffit outfitted with special lighting effects for sunrises and sunsets. 

Last year’s Installation of the Year gets the gold.


Installation of the year 2007The theater is gilded in 24-carat gold and its design was based on the Parisian opera houses from the turn of the century.

This theater’s magnificence lies in the details.

Making a grand entrance through a set of bronze doors, the viewer knows this theater experience is going to be anything but ordinary.

Dark crimson curtains lie on either side of the screen. Not only do the curtains serve an aesthetic benefit, but conceal two of the equipment cabinets.

A wood finish rounds off the theater. The dollar figure attached to this palace was $3.4 million worth of audio, video, and automation.

Housed in a Pacific Island home is a 500-square-foot theater and the 2006 Installation of the Year winner. 

Installation of the year 2006Motorized blinds keep the room dark for the perfect theater going experience.

Leaf and flower pattern carvings frame the screen.

Behind the theater operations is a 400 square foot room housing floor-to-ceiling stacks of amplifiers, surround-sound processors, media libraries, and control equipment.

This ‘tech room’ also has a raised floor that conceals the starting point of 73 miles of wire, automatic fire suppressors and a battery backup. Now, that’s a winner.

From Parisian-inspired to Star Wars-themed, from the Pacific Islands to the Midwest, these designs boast the best of the best in home theater installations and designs. Enjoy the screening. 



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