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October 23, 2009 By Brooke Lange 40 comments
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While Smith’s team has installed theaters in upstate New York before, the weather still posed a challenge. “We had to get through mud to reach the building,” he says.
True Blue Home Theater
The theater’s Digital Projection TITAN projector is housed in a rear ceiling beam.
True Blue Home Theater
True Blue Home Theater

A new addition designed for lap swimming morphs into this nautically-inspired home theater.
The “six degrees of separation” phenomenon is happening among Home Entertainment’s readers and home-theater aficionados. Some owners of the private screening rooms that have graced the magazine’s pages actually know one another.

A case in point is the couple who built this contemporary movie space, nestled within a woodsy family compound in New York’s Adirondack Mountains.

After the couple visited their first home theater, owned by South Florida friends Danny and Fern Toccin, they were inspired to build their own private screening room (the Toccins’ home theater was featured in the May/June 2008 issue of Home Entertainment, also you can find it here).

“We had never stepped foot in a home theater before,” says the husband. “After we experienced the Toccins’ home theater, we thought it would be great to put  one in our rec center.”

While Smith’s team has installed theaters in upstate New York before, the weather still posed a challenge. “We had to get through mud to reach the building,” he says.

The “rec” center to which the husband refers is a 5,600-square-foot contemporary addition to their historic summer home property. The freestanding structure, designed by internationally recognized New York architect Peter L. Gluck and framed in glass and Pennsylvania blue stone, serves as Fun Central for the homeowners and their visiting family and friends.

The building houses the home theater, a 75-foot-long lap pool for the husband and a basketball court for their niece, who plays Division 1-A college basketball. “We want our friends and family to come here, so we have the requisite activities,” the husband says, adding that he and his wife hosted a crowd of 28 guests on Memorial Day weekend.

After talking with the Toccins about how their home theater came to be, the creative process and their theater designer, Jeffrey Smith, the homeowners placed a call to Smith. He owns a North Miami theater design and fabrication company named First Impressions Theme Theatres Inc., which is a one-stop, home-theater architecture and design company that also designs and manufactures its own line of theater seating and home-theater accessories, including acoustic paneling, lighting elements and concession novelties.

An avid swimmer for 24 years, the husband’s original vision for the backyard addition revolved around a simple indoor lap pool. But once he and his wife plunged into the design process—and undoubtedly became enthralled with Gluck’s ideas and sketches—the design plans grew to include a steam room, a dry sauna, a Whirlpool tub, an elaborate workout room and a lounge area with a snack kitchen.

True Blue Home Theater

The husband’s rooftop office, which is wrapped with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides, overlooks the building’s grass-covered roof. “It was designed for a single purpose—an indoor pool,” says the retired mattress manufacturer who works several hours a day on various projects of interest. “But it ended up to be much more. We hired Jeff because of the referral and the theater turned out great. It’s relaxing for me to watch [a movie] in the privacy of friends and family.”

Not surprisingly, Fun Central’s modernist architecture and interior touches called for a modernist theater. In keeping with the owner’s love of water, most of the building’s finishes are nautical—from the water-inspired terrazzo flooring that’s dotted with flecks of blue and slivers of mirror to the gym’s rubber floor with a similar terrazzo-like pattern.

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