Home Entertainment

 

Masculine to the Max

September 19, 2008 By B.A. Hoffman



Click the images below for bigger versions:
Masculine to the Max
Masculine to the Max theater - Whenever the owner hosts a special event in the theater, his kids and their friends man the concession stand. “We made the area in front of the theater big so people can walk around and not interrupt the movie watchers,” he
Masculine to the Max lobby - “I’m surprised how much time we spend together in the room,” says the homeowner. “We get pizza, do dinner down there and watch a movie. It’s a standing thing.” In addition to the soundproof mahogany doors, which are installed

A homeowner, who built a private screening room for his family to enjoy, has fallen in love with it himself.

Walk into this gigantic 2,600-square-foot home theater and try to envision the kind of person who would build a private screening room of this magnitude. It’s probably owned by a man, right? It’s extremely masculine in style with polished wall-to-wall woodworking, two bold rows of sturdy-yet-handsome leather recliners, and a red velvet theater curtain with gold tassel fringe.

The no-nonsense design is confident. Bold. Refined. Sophisticated. This is a serious space for serious entertaining. Or is it?

Masculine to the Max theater

Even the custom-carved columns emote power. Can’t you see two dozen Wall Streeters standing around in pinstripe suits, with cigars and scotch-on-the-rocks in hand?

The simple yet elegant antique torches that illuminate the walls could be a nod to those that were carried by the early Olympians. The 26-foot-long counter that stands behind the last row of theater chairs says “let’s sit down in back and sign the deal now.” And then there’s the size of the screen.

“The client wanted the biggest high-definition image for gaming and sports,” says Senior Systems Consultant Joe McNeill of Electronics Design Group, Inc. in Piscataway, N.J. “He said, ‘I really want to feel like I’m at a movie theater—I want a huge screen.’”

The 150-inch Stewart FilmScreen, which sits 18 feet away from the front row of Murano black AcousticSmart recliners, works in tandem with the Runco three-chip projector. “He wanted the best image,” McNeil continues,  “and with a screen this massive, you have to have a three-chip projector.” The video projector’s three DMD chips and lack of a color wheel puts more light on the screen than the single-chip brethren.

“When Runco sells you a projector, they have guidelines on how their products can be used,” McNeil continues. “You can’t produce a stellar picture beyond a certain screen width.”

With a serious projector like this, the owner has quadrupled his clout, right? He’s the kind of guy who has a chauffeur drive him to his Manhattan office every day, the type of gentleman who will pay the most sought-after interior designer to create a Colosseum-like venue for entertaining the wealthiest businessmen in New York.

Guess again.

Masculine to the Max theater - Whenever the owner hosts a special event in the theater, his kids and their friends man the concession stand. “We made the area in front of the theater big so people can walk around and not interrupt the movie watchers,” he says. For extra seating, the kids bring in beanbags.

The owner of this gargantuan home theater, which won two prestigious 2007 Cedia awards, is an easy-going general contractor in New Jersey. Surprisingly, he handled all of the interior design himself. He researched every single furnishing element without the help of his wife.
“We built the theater to use as a family,” says the owner, who comes from a big, Soprano-size family. “We thought we’d go down there once or twice a month, but we’re in there two or three times a week.”

While he mostly watches football and baseball with his three middle school-aged boys, he’s been known to host the occasional movie night for the guys, hold a Super Bowl party or two, and entertain the extended family—all 35 of them—after Christmas dinner. “Sometimes the kids watch movies in there on their own, but more often they’re in there with their Xbox. It’s nice to have it for a whim.”

“He was really building this for his kids and wife in the beginning,” says McNeil. “He didn’t really watch movies. But once the room was installed and he tried it out, he changed his tune. He was blown away by having a theater of this caliber.”

From the beginning, the owner decided to design the theater himself instead of hiring a decorator. “You know, too many interior designers design what they want—not what the owner wants, and I didn’t want to deal with that,” he says. After looking at pictures of theaters in books and on the Internet, the owner and his wife decided upon a design direction—grand and Old World in style.

“We knew we wanted a coffered ceiling with gold gilding. We wanted the theater that we went to as kids, but more ornate to match the moldings and general theme of the house,” he says.

He found most of the interior furnishings online—from the velvet theater extensions to the pillows, throws, and movie reel artwork. The wall panels are wrapped with acoustical fabric from AcousticSmart; the 7.1 chairs, also from AcousticSmart, offer seven different reclining positions. The custom woodworking ranges from birch to maple and cherry, and features a dark walnut finish.

Masculine to the Max lobby - “I’m surprised how much time we spend together in the room,” says the homeowner. “We get pizza, do dinner down there and watch a movie. It’s a standing thing.” In addition to the soundproof mahogany doors, which are installed with rubber seams to prevent vibration, the theater floor is topped with a sheet of rubber padding. Four layers of sheetrock also help soundproof the space.

“The difference in what you see is the hand-done gold-leaf gilt,” the owner says. The built-in bar serves as Play Central for the kids when they’re playing Xbox games; the granite-topped counter conceals the bar stool area from the formal theater seating. Two more built-in cabinets in the back of the theater provide storage for DVDs and all the necessary Xbox accoutrements.

“I knew what I wanted,” says the homeowner. “I wanted the highest screen quality and good sound quality, but I didn’t want to shake the walls off.”

“The video and audio is excellent, combined with the sheer size of the room,” McNeil adds. Even if a guest sits in a chair at the end of a row, or at the bar, the sound is stellar; the greater the speaker-to-ear distance, McNeil says, the more well-rounded the sound. “In smaller theaters, the speakers are right on top of you. That makes it sound like the sound is coming from two feet away, which it is. The greater distances here create much more of an enveloping sound effect.”

And the homeowner’s reaction when McNeil demoed the theater to him?

“He was totally stunned,” McNeil says. “He looked over at me and smiled and said, ‘This is really cool. I’m going to use this a lot.’”

Now, the homeowner is even more into the theater than imagined. One year after its completion, the homeowner has replaced the DVD player with a Blu-ray player. “There is such a noticeable difference in the quality—it went from great to fabulous,” he says.

“It was a lot more work than I anticipated,” the homeowner continues, referring to the task of handling the interior design process from top to bottom. “It took more coordination in this room than it took in the entire house. But it’s worth it. It’s a cool thing to have.”

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