Home of the Year
Batcave Meets Home Theater
A secret automated door leading to a CinemaScope theater makes these homeowners cooler than Bruce Wayne.
SILVER WINNER: Amazing Applications
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May 03, 2010 by Steven Castle

A home theater should have at least one element that wows.

It could be an enormous CinemaScope screen or an audio system that rattles the rafters. Dimmable lighting can heighten the anticipation of a special event, and elevated seating is one of the best ways to evoke a sense of being inside a real movie theater.

(Click here for additional photos.)

The 15-by-18-foot home theater of Michael and Cyndi Parker has all of the above, but what really has their friends’ tongues wagging, says John Vandruff of Electronic Essentials of Vancouver, Wash., is a small switch built into the surface of a massive stone fireplace in the adjacent gentleman’s parlor.

Neither the guests nor the homeowners can see the switch — not that it’s much to look at. That’s because it’s connected to and hidden behind one of the stones within the fireplace facade.

When pressed, the “secret” stone throws the switch that signals a motorized arm to open a door to the theater. Like the stone, the door is imperceptible, having been integrated into the parlor’s wood paneling.

“There is absolutely no indication that a theater exists beyond the walls of the parlor,” says Vandruff. And once visitors are inside — the door shuts automatically after eight seconds — no one would ever know the room was occupied.

The hidden door has a lot to do with this. So does the room’s level of soundproofing. Through the use of special construction techniques and acoustical materials, as well as collaboration with the architect and builder, Electronic Essentials was able to reduce the amount of sound that seeps out of the theater.

“When the door shuts, you can hear a pin drop,” says Vandruff. More importantly, “when the 9.2 surround-sound system is playing at a normal volume level, nobody in the parlor can hear it.”

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Steven Castle - Contributing Writer
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates.

Installer/Equipment List

System Design & Installation
Electronic Essentials
Vancouver, Wash.

Tamarak Homes
Vancouver, Wash.

Blondino Design
Vacouver, Wash.

Interior Design
Living Life with Color
Portland, Ore.
Room Size
15 by 18 feet

Project Duration
250 hours

Stewart 110” Firehawk-G3 Luxus Deluxe Cinemascope 2.35:1 Film screen
Runco RS-900 Projector with CineWide 2.35:1 Anamorphic Lens
RBH SI-760 LCR Front Speakers
RBH MC6 Side/Rear Speakers
RBH SI-10 (x2) In-wall Subwoofers
RBH SA-400 Subwoofer Amplifier
Integra DTR-8.9 Receiver
Samsung BD-P3600 Blu-ray DVD Player
Escient MX-311 Music/Movie Manager
Sony DVP-CX777ES 400 Disc DVD Changer
Vudu XL Streaming HD Movie Player
Motorola DCX3400 Cable DVR Box (x2)
Xbox 360 Elite
APC H15BLK Power Conditioner
RTI XP-8 Controller
RTI T3v Remote Control
RTI ZM-24 Transceiver Module
Ixos Cables and Connectors
Lutron Grafik Eye
Audyssey Pro Calibration
Custom Acoustical Wall Panels
Leather Theater Seating for six (6)
Middle Atlantic Rack ERK-4025 (Sealed with rear door)
Middle Atlantic Custom Rack Faces
Active Thermal Management Cooling Fans (x11)
Linksys Dual-Band Wireless-N Router

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