Integrator’s Home Theater Doubles as Showroom
David Huse, owner of Frisco, Texas-based Theater Advice, takes us inside the home theater inside his home that doubles as a showroom.
Grant Clauser · August 9, 2013
As the owner of Theater Advice in Frisco, TX, David Huse has designed, spec’d, built and installed a lot of home theaters. For him, helping clients (including Vanilla Ice) with their home theater goals is second nature. He finds it easy to recommend electronics and design elements to create the perfect room for enjoying movies and music.
When he moved into his present home, he decided that his own theater was going to be an over-the-top project, all designed based on THX standards.
“I tend to do standard media rooms,” he says about the projects he does for clients. Many of his jobs cost under $20,000, and for that his clients get a good projector (usually Epson or JVC), surround sound system, quality components and a lot of custom fine touches and control programming. For this room, he wanted to cut no corners, which explains the $110,000 price tag.
Huse loves home theater, but he actually had two purposes for this room. The first, of course, was to create an outstanding place for his family to enjoy. The second was to be a showroom for new clients. If someone wants to know what’s really possible, he invites them over and presses play.
Aside from enjoying the technical side - matching components, working with acoustic treatments - Huse really enjoys the design aspects of home theater. Usually he can figure out clients’ tastes right away and create a design that will fit their home perfectly. But doing his own project was like a home theater version of the old saying doctors make the worst patients. “Until three weeks ago I had no idea what color scheme was going to go in this room. I was so picky about my own room, that it almost drove me insane.” he jokes.
He eventually went with a classic gold and red scheme to recreate the traditional regal theater look. The walls are covered with Theo Kalomirakis Garbo theater fabric, and even the custom theater seats have gold accents. “I wanted to be able to put a throne in there and not have it out of place.”
Another benefit of having fabric-covered walls is that they don’t reflect light the way painted walls can, so that helps keep stray light from bouncing off the walls and onto the screen.
This theater also demonstrates that you don’t need a room the size of a gymnasium to have a grand movie palace. Huse’s room is only 18 feet by 14 feet. Many people have a spare room around that size that could be converted to a showpiece theater.
The most impressive design element in the room is the star tray ceiling from Numinus (which even includes a shooting star), but before he did that part, he had to make a major construction change to the ceiling. Because one wall borders the house’s roof there was a 45 degree angle to the top of the wall. He had to completely reconstruct the ceiling to make the walls and ceiling look even all around.
In addition to rebuilding the ceiling, Huse also took the walls back to the studs so he could wire the room and build the walls up to his acoustic standards, which included double sheetrock, acoustic Green Glue and an air gap to help contain sounds in the room. Acoustic panels were placed inside the room to handle sound absorption.
The center of attention is a 133-inch Stewart Filmscreen 2.40:1 CineCurve screen. To complement the curve of the screen, Huse built the front cabinet with the exact same amount of curve, then added a small stage that duplicated the curve, except reversed it, so the stage is curved in the opposite direction of the screen. It makes for a nice bit of symmetry.
Flanking the screen are Klipsch THX Ultra II speakers built into columns. Klipsch subwoofers are under the left and right speakers, while the center channel sits underneath the screen. This is a setup he’s very familiar with, and had been wanting for himself for a long time. “Every time I’ve sold one of these systems, I’d go home and listen to my own and think, man that [Klipsch] sounds better.”
The speakers are powered by Parasound Halo THX Ultra II certified amplifiers.
He installed a JVC D-ILA THX-certified projector with a Panamorph fixed anamorphic lens. The projector was a small challenge, because the room on the other side of the back wall is a bathroom, so he hard to reroute some pluming to get the projector box properly installed and (mostly) hidden in the wall. The top of the projector box extends into the attic, so he insulated it to protect it from attic heat (this is Texas remember).
The room, as well as the rest of the house, is operated by a Control4 system, which he programmed himself. A Control4 HC-800 is the master processor for the house, and an HC-250 handles the theater room specifically. He uses a combination of hard-button remotes and iOS apps to operate the system, but relies mostly on the remote. “I’m 90 percent a remote person and 10 percent app,” he says, because while and app is convenient, an actual remote works better when you’re sitting in a chair in front of the screen. He also added some special touches to a keypad. In addition to running the integrated lights, when Huse taps a keypad button once the theater goes into Movie mode. Three taps turns it to another mode.
This was a long project for Huse, working on his own home on his downtime between doing theaters in clients’ homes. It was time well-spent though. He now has a place to demonstrate the best of his work, as well as an impressive room for family movie nights.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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