April 28, 2010, from Electronic House featuring Runco Dealer Electronic Essentials in Vancouver, WA
Electronic rock reveals a hidden home theater.
A home theater should have at least one element that really wows its audience. It could be an enormous Cinemascope screen or an audio system hat rattles the rafters. Dimmable lighting can heighten the anticipation of viewing the latest blockbuster film, and elevated seating is one of the best ways to evoke a sense of being inside a real movie theater. The 15-by-18-square-foot Home Cinema room has all of the above, but what really has their friends’ tongues wagging, says John Vandruff of Electronic Essentials, Vancouver, Wash., is the switch that’s built into the surface of a massive stone fireplace in the owners’ gentleman’s parlor. Neither guests nor the homeowners can see the switch—not that it’s much to look at. That’s because it’s connected to and hidden behind one of the stones within the fireplace façade. When pressed, this “secret” stone throws the switch which signals a motorized arm to open a door to the theater. Like the stone, the door is indiscernible, having been integrated into the wooden wall paneling of the parlor.
“There is absolutely no indication that a theater exists beyond the walls of the parlor,” says Vandruff. “And once visitors are inside [the door shuts automatically after being open for eight seconds], no one would ever know there were people inside.”
The hidden door has a lot to do with this; so does the room’s level of soundproofing. By way of house design, room design, special construction techniques, and acoustical materials, a collaboration between the Architect Blondino Design, the builder Tamarack Homes, and Electronic Essentials. They were able to greatly reduce the sound transfer to the rest of the house “When the door shuts you can hear a pin drop,” says Vandruff. “When the 9.2 surround-sound system is playing at a normal volume level, nobody in the rest of the house other than the parlor can hear it.”
However, people in the parlor can see what’s playing in the Theater room on the 110” Stewart Filmscreen CinemaScope screen if they wish. An Elan distribution system routes HD video from the house components racked in a nearby closet to both the Runco CineWide RS-900 projector in the theater.
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