Family-Friendly Media Room Protects High-Tech Gear by Hiding It Out of Sight

Home of the Year Gold Winner for Multipurpose Room. This room design protects Epson, Screen Innovations, Paradigm and Savant gear from rough-housing kids while transforming the room from a casual entertainment area to a high-caliber home theater.


Kids can be hard on furniture, clothing, toys, pets … basically almost anything that crosses their path.

Rather than risk damage to an expensive home theater system planned for the lower level of their new 10,000-square-foot home, the owners contacted home systems integrator Bryant Moore of Moore Audio Design, of Matthews, N.C., for his advice on how to have a stellar, high-performance entertainment setup in an area where their kids would likely be kicking around a ball or having pillow fights without worrying about someone breaking a piece of valuable A/V gear.

Protection Plan

There were a couple of ideas that were tossed around as the design for the space was taking shape: One was to hang several flat-panel TVs on the wall akin to what you’d see at a sports bar. 

Cool, yes, but it held no appeal to the homeowners who were concerned about having a pricey A/V system out in the open around their playful progeny of preteens. The second idea was to hide all of the video components.

“Concealing a video projector and a 120-inch screen in the ceiling and speakers behind the walls was a completely new concept to the homeowners, but after I explained it, they thought it made perfect sense for their entertainment style and active family,” Moore says.

The design would not only protect the gear from rough-housing, but would allow the family to use the room for activities besides watching movies. When the projector and screen lower from their hiding spots in the ceiling, the room transforms from a casual entertainment area to a high-caliber home theater.

Parental Control Keeps the Peace

In the theater’s hideaway mode, the family often hangs out at the adjacent kitchenette at the other end of the room, where a sliding glass door leads to a patio and swimming pool. Or, the kids might play a video game or watch cartoons on a 65-inch high-definition Samsung TV that’s mounted to the wall in the theater area, while the adults catch a sporting event on the 40-inch Samsung display on the wall in the kitchen area.

“The TV is what gets used when the parents are away and a babysitter is in charge,” says Moore. “We’ve had clients who have had the lens of their very expensive video projector crushed by a bat swung by a neighborhood kid — no joke. Motorizing the screen and projector to enter the room only when the parents are home will prevent this from ever happening at this house.”

Stowed for Safety

Because the owners had put the multipurpose media room on the drawing board before construction of their home had begun, Moore and the builder, Simonini Homes, of Charlotte, N.C., collaborated closely to ensure proper ceiling clearance for the Chief motorized lifts, the Epson projector, and the Slate screen from Screen Innovations.

There was also plenty of room worked into the design so that five Paradigm speakers could be recessed into the ceiling and two Paradigm subwoofers tucked into the walls.

Of course, the theater would need processors, receivers, switchers, and other components to provide the family with engaging A/V content, so Moore worked a roomy, well-ventilated equipment closet into the blueprints, as well.

Behind-the-Scenes Magic

This area is where Moore and his team spent a good chunk of time configuring the Savant system that would operate the A/V equipment in the multipurpose media room and distribute video and audio to 11 other TVs and 13 pairs of RBH speakers.

To make it simple for everyone — kids, adults, babysitters — to enjoy the A/V setup, Moore programmed the Savant system to streamline the process of selecting something to watch and choosing where to watch it (65-inch TV, 40-inch TV, or the 120-inch projection screen) to a simple tap of any iPad or smartphone that’s handy.

A Savant app presents the video options — three cable boxes, a Blu-ray disc player, and two Apple TV boxes. A user simply touches his or her choice, selects the displays to which they’d like the content sent, and the Savant system carries through the command, lowering the projector and screen from the ceiling if necessary. In seconds the home theater, and other entertainment zones, are humming with great A/V.

More on the Entertainment Docket

The Savant system is capable of much more than supervising this multifaceted entertainment system. It can control lights, thermostats, motorized window shades, swimming pool pumps — you name it. The family is perfectly content with how the systems in this space work together to create a sensational entertainment experience that’ll last them a lifetime, thanks to a solid protection plan from Moore Audio Design. Soon lighting controls will be woven into the Savant system, too.

“We selected a budget-minded yet bright projector and a light-rejecting screen to combat any light that’s on or sunlight that’s streaming through the glass doors, but having the ability to dim the lights from the Savant app will add to the ambiance and enjoyment,” says Moore.

Plugging the media room light switches into the system will require nothing more than a few hours of programming time to add one more layer of convenience and enjoyment to this family-friendly, multipurpose entertainment hangout. 

Systems & Equipment

  • Video Projector: Epson
  • Projection Screen: Screen Innovations 
  • Speakers: Paradigm, RBH
  • A/V Receiver: Yamaha TVs: Samsung
  • Control: Savant
  • Whole-House Audio/Video: Savant
  • Systems Design & Installation: Moore Audio Design, Matthews, N.C.,
  • Builder: Simonini Homes, Charlotte, N.C.,

Next: See the Gold Winner for Best Outdoor Space

About the Author

Lisa Montgomery:

Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the CE Pro and Electronic House editorial teams for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor of Electronic House. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in adding electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home.

Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what is on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books.