Home-Brewed Happiness: A Multipurpose Home Theater
Since purchasing our home over five years ago, we wanted to put a home theater in the basement. I was faced with the challenge of dealing with the space I had (a uniquely shaped 32-by-12-foot room with a fireplace) or create a dedicated home theater by adding a room. Ultimately, my wife and I decided to take advantage of the existing space and create a multipurpose room. With two girls and frequent visits from family and friends, this seemed the most appropriate.
As the project came into focus, I reviewed home theater magazines, online resources, and tapped friends for ideas and inspiration. I knew that I wanted to leverage the help of a remodeler for the physical aspects of the space but wanted to configure and install the equipment myself. We partnered with Jordan Englar of Englar Design-Build, who focused on the custom cabinetry that is found at both ends of the long room and the overall build of the room. On the recommendation of Bill Soderholm at StereoLand—a local retailer/installer—I decided on in-wall speakers alongside a flush-mounted VApex 100-inch screen for a clean, uncluttered look. Staying true to the multipurpose goal, we chose seating that reflected a home theater look but was more conducive to other uses as well. Lighting design included sconces for home theater viewing and overheads in three other zones, all dimmable for achieving various moods. Last, we installed a Murphy bed, which is housed in the wall, between the custom cabinets at the opposite end of the theater to accommodate guests.
The build phase of the project took approximately five months. During that time, I researched and purchased the home theater equipment. I was interested in quality components while staying within a reasonable budget. I settled on an Epson 8700UB projector and was able to install a nice shelf mount, which was easy to set up due to its lens-shift capability. I chose a complete Paradigm speaker system, powered by the Anthem MRX300 A/V receiver.
I researched and toyed with a Media Center PC but decided to implement a Popcorn Hour A-210 on a friend’s recommendation, for networked media playback. I also consolidated all of the home theater and network equipment into a new cabinet located in a separate room. It’s been pre-wired to facilitate future streaming to other HDTVs throughout the house, plus there’s an extra HDMI cable and power drop for a possible HDTV on the other side of the room.
The end results are nothing short of fantastic. It’s the highlight of our home, and we enjoy showing it off. In the end, it was truly a team effort that made the results even more enjoyable.
Englar Design-Build, (612) 207-6663
StereoLand, stereoland.com, (952) 829-9700