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   HOME THEATER ROOM  Preparing a Home Media Room
2011 - Volume 1 Issue 1
Casas Bonitas
Article: Bob Skolnick
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Homes built over ten to fifteen years ago seldom had a home theater or multi-media room as part of the home design. In fact, much of the audio video technology available today was not as accessible for the average homeowner due to the limitations on products available and the cost of the products that were on the market. As the need for extra bedrooms changes for a family due to children going off to college or starting families of their own, many home owners are opting to make a specific multi-media or home theater room.

    Photo Captions

1.) This elegant media-family room was once a two-car garage. Now it parks the entire family for movies, sports or concert performances with one central control for audio, video and lighting.

2.) The task of coordinating the system can be made less daunting by your audio-video professional programming unit, a simple use central keypad.

3.) When different members of the family have different interests, a movie can be shown on the big screen, television on one of the smaller flat panels and video games on the other. The system can have individual or central touch controls. The equipment is conveniently assembled in a room behind the screens.

4.) One way to enjoy your fireplace and sitting area is to replace the traditional painting with an LED flat screen television. Renaissance Woodworks made it all elegantly come together with handcrafted bookcases and fireplace mantel.

5.) NuVo touch keypads can be installed throughout the house and can program any room from any location. Lighting control is optional.

6.) During the daytime, the bed is up and it is now a sewing-hobby room.

7.) A spare room can be used in the evening as a bedroom with this pull down Murphy Bed. (Images taken at the Kitchen Concepts showroom in Las Cruces.)

8.) The spare room can dual as a student work station and the perfect place to do homework in a quiet zone.

9.) A spare bedroom can be easily converted into a home-based office. With the skill of a local cabinet company you can design your workspace just to suit your specific storage and counter space needs.

10.) If you do not have a built in laundry and mudroom, then converting a spare room into an organized laundry center is a good idea.

11.) Organized storage cabinets help you maximize space for storage and allow you to label shelves for an easy location of infrequently used items.

12.) A smaller laundry installed on the rear wall of a garage.

13.) Garages can be full workshops by day and car storage by night.

14.) Hanging tools on a wall mounted storage grid makes for a safer garage and also prevents accidental breakage of tools.
  Media Resources

El Paso Audio Video
by Design


Custom AV

RP Engineering Consultants

Storage Resources

Closet Factory

Garage Solutions
of New Mexico


Kitchen Concepts

Sher-wood Fine
Wood Designs

  The only problem with creating a media room is resale value. If prospective buyers prefer to have the additional bedroom, the city requires that it have a window in case of fire.
Bill Murray

Typically when building a home theater, the remodeler would always get a consulting contractor who is approved by the homeowner. You’re always going to want to do that because home media rooms are not something you just throw together. Kevin McGinley
Today, multi-media entertainment is important to most families from flat screen televisions, projection television and screens, PlayStation, Blue-ray, on-line movies, satellite and cable programming, DVD players and on and on. The good news is that not only have the product options improved tremendously, but the cost has become more affordable. Also, the daunting task of remembering how to control all of your audio-video options is made easier with a good master control station that is touch screen and easy to follow.

Because of the complexity and technology options, you and your remodeler should meet with a home audio-video consultant to plan the project. They understand the equipment on the market and can make the right recommendations based on your priorities. Your personal use of the room will determine the number of speakers, whether a 5.1 or a 7.1 surround sound system. Ask the media consultant to let you view and listen to the various options to ensure you get the results that most appeal to you.

You need to select the audio-video equipment and decide on sound distribution before doing any construction to the room. The wiring needs to be placed for lighting, speakers and power for equipment. Everything that needs wiring must be planned and installed before you finish wall surfaces. The wiring can all be installed by your audio-video consultant and his team. You might want to bring in a separate circuit and breaker for the media room. Another consideration should be whether your audio, lightning and security controls are to be distributed to others rooms in the house. NuVo, an audio company, has a variety of programmable options to help with audio distribution throughout the whole house. Wiring, however, will need to be pulled from the media room to the other locations.

The room that was originally designed as a bedroom for only a couple of people at a time will now be serving as a medial room for the whole family plus friends to watch a movie, listen to a concert or entertain the children of visiting family members. Your remodeler can assist you in determining if the treated airflow is adequate for the room’s new use. It is not too difficult to add additional ducting and air vents to improve the room’s comfort. This should be done at the same time the wiring is run.

Light intrusion has to be managed. More often than not, rooms that are converted have windows in place. You may not choose to permanently seal off windows so the original use of the room can be restored at a future time. At a minimum, the windows do need surface sound proofing and black out draperies. Interior room lighting should be converted to lights that can be dimmed by a remote controller so you do not have to navigate back to your seat in the dark.

Sound integrity needs to be developed to ensure maximum fidelity. The room in which the media is placed must be protected from sound intrusion from adjacent hallways and rooms. Conversely, if adjacent rooms are still used, then they have to be buffered from sound in the media room. To accomplish this, the existing walls will need to have a much firmer or denser insulation placed with possibly double dry wall and then the interior surface of the walls should have a special surface called sound board added to the wall surface. Soundboard will dramatically improve the acoustics of the room. The door to the media room should be covered with soundboard as well and designed to close tightly to prevent sound and air transference. The corners of your media room can be rounded or curved if possible to help with the sound distribution. Ceilings that have out cropping and overhangs also help with sound.

Cabinetry to house the audio-video systems, flat screen televisions and other elements need to be designed. Because of the high visibility of the cabinetry when the video equipment is not being used, consider this as part of your investment in fine furniture and engage a woodworking or cabinetry company to provide a multi-function look for the equipment, the flat-screen televisions and for a book case, or to show off a fire place. When designing the cabinetry, air circulation for the equipment is important to keep it functioning optimally, and a fan or access to refrigerated air is good for maintaining the audio-video equipment temperature. Also, allow space to add new equipment that might come on to the market in the future.

Floor surfaces should be soft and carpeting is ideal. Lastly, seating is an important comfort decision. If you can afford the expense, theater style padded chairs can be ordered offering both comfort and convenience for beverages and audio-video controls. Whatever you select, test the seating for comfort, as it is material for everyone’s overall enjoyment of the room.

The Multi-Room

Many homes have second, third or fourth bedrooms that are smaller in square footage and were designed as children’s or guest bedrooms and are now seldom used. With a bed that folds up into the wall, these rooms can function as a spare bedroom for guests, a place to do your sewing, painting or other hobbies or a workstation for a student away from the distractions or their own room or other parts of the house. There are several companies that specialize in pull down bed configurations and the adjacent clothes storage and hobby materials storage.

If you are in need of a private home office for your home-based business, a spare room can be an easy conversion. As always there are considerations, all of which relate to your comfort. The first order of business is to make sure that the floor will not be a place that harbors pollen or dust to which you might be allergic. Hardwood flooring with an area rug is convenient and allows you to remove the rug for cleaning periodically. Another key consideration is electrical outlets and possibly phone lines for your telephone and high-speed internet connection. Finally, the room’s air conditioning and heating volume need to be tested to make sure that you can maintain a comfortable working environment for protracted periods of time.

Converting a spare room into a laundry center is not that difficult, particularly if you have a bathroom on the other side of an adjoining wall. In converting the room, you need to first consider electricity and plumbing. Do you have a big enough circuit to operate your clothes dryer and washer plus iron at the same time? If not, additional circuits can be run to the room. You will need hot and cold water plus a drainpipe. All easy to do if you are near a bathroom or kitchen to which you can tie into. Evaluate the air conditioning to make sure the added heat you will bring to the room, particularly from the clothes dryer, can be offset by an adequate flow of cooled air. Flooring should be solid nonporous surface type and easily cleanable.

Garage - Workshop and Storage

A good way to make better utilization of the spare rooms inside your house is to move all of the unnecessary items that can be stored or used in the garage into an organized garage storage system. That being said, the garage should not be a dumping ground for infrequently used household items. I am not sure what percentages of homeowners park their cars inside their garage, but security surely comes to top of mind if you need to organize your garage to make room for your car. You can have it both ways - a place to park your car and a work / organized storage area. There are many systems you can purchase from hardware and garden stores but you are limited to configurations. There are companies who specialize in tailoring garage storage space to meet individual needs. It is important to select a storage system that is durable, ding resistant and easily cleanable. Your garage can have just storage cabinets or it can have a workbench designed specifically for carpentry, auto repair or any another hobby. You can also have a small laundry center in your garage if the space inside the house is just not conducive to having one inside. As well as cabinetry, you should consider placing a cleanable smooth surface on the garage floor, particularly near the workbench. This will allow you clean the surface and minimize what might be tracked inside the house. ///
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