Audio Video Experience Converts 19th Century Home into Showroom

Audio Video Experience converted a 19th century home into an ever-changing showroom to interactively demo how homeowners can integrate electronics into their daily lives.

Audio Video Experience is in Hampton Falls, N.H.

Photos & Slideshow

Robert Archer · March 7, 2013

The custom installation industry has tried, for years, to figure out how to show consumers that electronics can complement their busy lives.

Few, however, have actually made the financial and time commitments to tackle this daunting task as Hampton Falls, N.H.-based Audio Video Experience (AVE) has.

Andy Himmer, AVE president, says the premise of his sales strategies is to replicate the feel of a typical home, so consumers can experience what it is like use these products in normal setting. To fully execute this, Himmer moved from a strip mall location to a 19th century home on the N.H. seacoast that he converted into a showroom.

“We wanted to maintain the characteristics of a home and real living space,” Himmer says. “We did a facelift; gave it some cosmetic updates, skimmed the walls, cut in the ceiling with architectural speakers and recessed lighting … We wanted some cool things in here, but we also wanted to capture some of those rich New England things like the colors.”

Himmer divided the home into several spaces to highlight the many solutions AVE offers, including wireless audio, multimedia systems, dedicated home theaters and dedicated two-channel audio, which he is currently updating.

One of the most interesting elements of the home’s redesign was converting the kitchen into a lobby. This space is next to the dedicated home theater and uses the kitchen cabinets as equipment cabinets. Himmer says his goal is to make clients as relaxed as possible, so they can feel at ease interacting with the equipment. “We want people to feel comfortable and to give them ideas for the theater room,” says Himmer. “We want to provide the seating, the mill work … [the adjacent space] could be a room with a pool table, an entry to the wine cellar or maybe [it] could lead out to the pool. We want them [clients] to dream.”

Demo Provides Details

Clients who visit AVE will be introduced to its capabilities in themed spaces, which Himmer refers to with names such as the “Ice Breaker Room.” This room houses a selection of products from Sonos, NuVo Technologies, SpeakerCraft, Revel, Wharfedale, McIntosh, Sharp and Vutec. Himmer says the room serves as a backdrop to explain what AVE can do to enhance homeowners’ lifestyles.

Himmer uses the room to show how easy it is to play their favorite music anywhere in their home via popular devices like an iPhone. He can also demonstrate step-up solutions like Peachtree’s integrated amplifiers and McIntosh’s McAire, an all-in-one audio system that includes Apple AirPlay. The space also houses several large-size HDTVs and a choice of TV concealment products, including the completely customizable Vutec Art Screen.


Moving upstairs, another compelling space is the Sports Room.  Himmer says this room is designed to show clients that it is possible to have a fun and versatile space that is home to a large projection-based system.  “Our Sports Room is a front projection [system] that you can use in both daylight and evening movies and sporting events,” he says. “A lot of clients come in thinking home theater is only designed for dark, dedicated rooms. We here today to show you that you [can] enjoy movies and sports in a room that has natural light.”

The Sports Room features products from Epson, Vutec and control solutions from Bitwise.  The room’s other amenities include home theater seating and audio products that show flat-panel TVs and integrated in-ceiling speakers that demonstrate other ways clients can go with electronics in their homes.

Himmer summarizes the showroom as a fluid sales tool that changes as technologies and trends evolve. “We have a concept design showroom in which the client [has] the ability to come in and see products as they would in their own homes.”

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  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at

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  Article Topics

Business · Business Operations · News · Media · Slideshow · Demo · Home Theater · Showroom · All Topics
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