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Classic Japanese-Style Home Theater Comes to Suburban Philly

Home theater mixes in Asian design flair with high-performance A/V like motorized Draper screen, Digital Projection DLP projector and Triad surround-sound system.


This themed home theater combines the homeowners love of classic Japanese culture with technology, tranquility and ingenuity. (Photos: John Jenkins)

Photos & Slideshow

Grant Clauser · May 17, 2013

We see a lot of far-out home theater themes. Theater rooms styled after favorite movie genres or grand classic cinemas are common, but what’s just as interesting is when a specific design aesthetic is developed to work in tandem with the theater room. It’s then that you get a magical meeting for form and function.

That marriage is what happened in this home theater, the Theme Theater Silver winner in the Electronic House Home of the Year Awards, and it’s a mix of technology, tranquility and ingenuity. The owner of this special room in southeast Pennsylvania has an affinity for classic Japanese culture. He does business there and has a second home in Japan, so he wanted his new space to show off his Japanese interests. Rob Dzedzy of Media Rooms Inc. in West Chester, Pa., helped the homeowner get the room of his dreams, and a little more.

This retrofit job started out as a partially unfinished basement. A portion of the space had drywall and basic laminate flooring, but it wasn’t good for anything more than storage. Besides the theater, the owner hoped for a group entertaining area and a wine room, but everything had to work in harmony, and share the same aesthetic qualities.

To accommodate the multiple uses of the basement, Dzedzy oriented the theater so that the back would open up to a bar/entertaining area, and also adjacent to what would be the wine room.

Many custom design touches went into the creation of the Japanese appearance. The walls were fashioned after traditional shoji paper and wood screens. Behind the shoji screen on one wall is a storage space that also holds the theater’s electronics. Cherry wood beams accent the walls and the cypress wood ceilings of the theater, while a stone meditation garden sits underneath the projection screen. The projection screen itself retracts into one of the wood beams and reveals a piece of Japanese artwork.

All the room’s Triad Bronze/4 speakers are hidden behind fabric panels. The room is lit by recessed can lights, mostly hidden by the ceiling beams, and Asian-themed wall sconces. For a room built to house a high-tech theater, it has the surface appearance of simplicity. You think you’ve walked into a Buddhist hall in Kyoto until you pick up the remote and press play.

Equipment List

Digital Projection M-Vision Cine 260-HC DLP Projector
Digital Projection Ceiling Mount Hardware Kit
Draper Premier (16:9) Format Motorized Video Screen XT1000V 106”
Draper Motorized Screen Trigger
Arlington In-Wall Power Kit
Integra DHC-80.3 Audio Video Preamp Processor
Integra DTA-70.1 Multi Channel Amplifier
Integra DBS-30.2 BluRay Player
ReQuest MP Plus
Triad InWall Bronze/4 LCR Left & Right Speakers
Triad InWall Bronze/4 LCR Center Speaker
Triad InWall Bronze/4 Surround Speakers
Triad InCeiling Silver Rear Speakers w/ Sq. Grill
Triad InWall SlimSub/4 Subwoofer with Rack Amp 350 DSP (qty 2)
Tripp Lite AV3500PC AV Power Conditioner
Straight Wire Audio Interconnects, HDMI Cables & Speaker Wire
Universal Remote MX-980 Remote Control
Universal Remote MRF-350 RF Kit
Middle Atlantic Equipment Rack
United Leather Custom Sectional with Ottomans
Lutron Grafik Eye

From there, the technology takes over. The 106-inch Draper motorized screen is served by an M-Vision Cine 260-HC DLP projector from Digital Projection. The owner presses the movie button on his URC MX-980 remote, which then automatically lowers the screen and fires up all the equipment.

The Triad speakers are powered by an Integra DTA-70.1 amplifier and an Integra preamp/processor. The two Triad in-wall subwoofers get their power from Triad rack-mounted amps. For movies, the owner uses an Integra Blu-ray player, and for music a ReQuest MP Plus media player, which can pull content from an NAS server in addition to streaming from Netflix, YouTube and Hulu. Lutron’s Grafik Eye provides the lighting control functionality.

Just outside the theater, accessible by movable shoji screens, is the bar area with a custom cherry top accented with LED lighting. A border on the ceiling of traditional Japanese clay roof tiles creates the impression of being in another environment. The roof tiles weigh 15 pounds each, so Dzedzy had to provide extra structural reinforcement to keep them safely in place.

A bamboo garden plus bamboo accents on the bar complete the scene. If a user wants to close off the theater from the bar area, sliding shoji doors do the trick. The theater doors look like ordinary paper shoji doors, but between the paper is a quarter-inch thick layer of plywood to help create a bit more privacy for this relaxing home theater escape.



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  About the Author

Grant Clauser is a technology editor, covering home electronics for more than 10 years for such publications as Electronic House and Dealerscope. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email at gsclauser@verizon.net

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  Article Topics


Home Theater · Displays · Projectors & Screens · Speakers · News · Media · Slideshow · Digital Projection · Home Theater · Installation · Projectors · All Topics
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