Dark, quiet and windowless equals an ideal environment for dedicated home theatre

view of the theatre featuring brown leather furniture, blue, ceiling, home, interior design, lighting, room, blue
view of the theatre featuring brown leather furniture, projector, screen, red drape curtains, speakers

Spare room or lounge? Rather than letting these areas develop into a no-mans land of assorted bits and pieces, perhaps you could have loftier ambitions for your extra space.

This home's owners, Brian and Emma Johnson, had a vision of converting a windowless room, set aside for a dedicated home theatre by the previous homeowner, into a high-tech haven for audiovisual entertainment. Gary Patterson, design manager at home theatre specialist Aletro, was enlisted to assist with the revamp.

"Converting an irregular-shaped room with a low ceiling isn't always a simple task. In this case, the ceiling's concrete ribs, which are structural supports, determined the design of the room."

"The ribs, which are separated by Gib board, needed resurfacing and, as structural supports, were slightly unevenly spaced. At one stage we were contemplating flattening the ceiling, but it would have lowered the level too much."

Instead, plastered and repainted, the ceiling provides not just an attractive aesthetic, but a live surface, says Brian Johnson, an audiophile who has previously worked in the audiovisual field.

view of the cabinet holding the denon amplifier cabinetry, chest of drawers, countertop, drawer, furniture, home appliance, kitchen, kitchen appliance, kitchen stove, product, brown, white
view of the cabinet holding the denon amplifier and dvd player

"In terms of the walls, the ratio we wanted to achieve was three dead surfaces and one live. The live surface is the wall with the large, rotating entry door. The dead surfaces at front and back are treated with macrosuede acoustic panelling, while the drape covered wall is the third."

The floor-to-ceiling drapes also serve the purpose of concealing the home theatre's dedicated air conditioning unit. The fabric is one of half a dozen different surface materials, along with carpet, concrete, Gib, leather and acoustic panelling, that give the room its effective acoustic dynamic.

"One key request was for a system that worked especially well for music reproduction," says Patterson. "For this reason, we went for a 7.1 surround system, with Bowers and Wilkins freestanding and wall-mounted speakers."

The system is driven by a Denon AVC-A1XV home cinema amplifier, which along with a Denon DVD-A1XV, was fitted into customised cabinetry. A Panasonic projector, Stewart screen and about 90m of quality cabling rounds out the list of hardware.

"The amp features ten 170W channels. This allowed us to bi-amp the front three speakers, meaning that at peak power there is little distortion, as one channel powers the top and bottom of each speaker," says Johnson.

view of the theatre featuring brown leather furniture, ceiling, entertainment, interior design, living room, room, black, gray, red
view of the theatre featuring brown leather furniture, projector, screen, red drape curtains, speakers

"Freestanding speakers were specified because sound is all about the movement of air. Largecabinet speakers will provide a more superior quality audio than recessed speakers," he says.

Patterson and Johnson both agree that quality cable is essential for running high-end audio-visual equipment.

"Our rule of thumb is that you should spend at least 10-20% of the total cost on cabling. Sub-standard cabling is basically like putting cheap tyres on a Ferrari. Another tip is that before starting out, get someone to design the system from scratch, so you know all the components are compatible," says Patterson.

Credit list

Acoustic panels
Plaster and painting
Andy Seal
Lounge furniture
2 Bowers & Wilkins 802 front speakers, 1 Bowers & Wilkins HTM1 centre speaker, 4 Bowers & Wilkins SCM surround speakers, 1 Bowers & Wilkins ASW850 subwoofer,
Control4 Home Theatre Controller
Cabinetry modifications
McKean Carnell & Associates
Pat Dobson, Aletro
Film screen
Kimber Kable for speakers, video and interconnects
DVD player

Story by: Trendsideas

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