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Move Palace Opulance

Custom A/V Project Recalls Golden Era of Cinema

When Future Home president Murray Kunis met with his home theater client in the Arizona desert, the guidelines for the project that would eventually win this years CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Award for Best Home Theater $600,000 to $800,000 were very clear. The Beverly Hills-based custom installation company was hired to provide a high-performance system that would exceed anything that they had done before, while making it extremely easy for their client and his family to enjoy.

The client found us through our marketing campaign, Kunis remembered of his Arizona project. After comparing our services and portfolio to others in his area he determined that we had the skill set for creating the required world class theater for his new home.

Future Home was created in 1988 and is a founding member of CEDIA. Before establishing Future Home, Kunis was staff engineer for several of the top professional music recording studios in the U.S.

Once Kunis and his team realized the overall quality of the fit and detail of their Arizona clients home, he suggested that only the king of home theaters, Theo Kalomirakis, would be appropriate to join the project and create something spectacular.

Kalomirakis, founder of TK Theaters, is an industry legend renowned for his inventive home theater architectural designs. He subsequently joined Future Homes project team and learned that his latest theater would need to complement the traditional design of the clients Arizona house.

Architecturally, I would say that our main contribution was that we exploded the boxiness of the original space, and we managed to give it three-dimensionality with arches, vaults and an elaborate ceiling design, Kalomirakis explained.

From a technology standpoint, Kunis noted, the standards set for the project led to one of the highest performance rooms ever created by Future Home. The 6,000-lumen Runco video projector [VX 6c with 1024 anamorphic lens] and JBL Synthesis One audio system truly create a theatrical experience, Kunis said. Only our Beverly Hills private theater projects with 35mm film systems come close.

In addition to Kunis and Kalomirakis, Future Homes Marcus Stewart served as lead technician on the project, Todd Iman, served as construction manager and Doug Bowman did all of the hand painting of the interior.

Building the theater took about four years, according to Kalomirakis, not because the design was so complex, but because we had to be in sync with the progress of building the rest of the residence, he explained. Once the overall shell was ready, the actual theater construction time was about five months. Most of the architectural elements are created with formglass and hand painted. The proscenium trim was hand finished with gold trim.

The result is an opulent private theater that recalls movie palaces of the Golden Era of cinema. A key feature is how the theaters media system blends into the decor with no compromise in performance. Hidden from view are three main biamplified JBL Synthesis One THX Ultra screen speakers, four 18-inch subwoofers located below the screen and six surround speakers. Four are in the bottom of the side columns, with a rear pair flushed into the underside of the walkway. A total of 6,500 watts powers the 7.1 Dolby EX entertainment system within plus or minus 1db of the Dolby standard.

A 12-feet-plus wide image is projected onto a Stewart Luxus Deluxe micro-perforated screen by the Runco three-chip DLP. The Runco is hidden above the walkway while the equipment racks are discreetly flushed into the back wall.

Both HD satellite and HD D-VHS provide HD video entertainment content. Connections are already in place for HD-DVD. An Escient on-screen-controlled 400 DVD library is also integrated. All speaker wiring and interconnects are by Monster Cable. Tying the whole system together is a Crestron TPS 4500 touchpanel.

For our high-performance projects, Runco, JBL Synthesis and Crestron are the most popular choices for us, Kunis explained about his companys product selection decision.

In addition to the performance levels of these components they are also extremely reliable, which is important when your service call is 1,000 miles away. They also play well with each other, making the Crestron operation easy.

The Arizona project was Future Homes first installation of the Runco VX-6. Its so bright that we used the actual screen image in our CEDIA entry photos. Its not a stripped in image, Kunis said.

Coordination between the clients Arizona home and Future Homes Beverly Hills headquarters was the biggest challenge for Kunis and his team. However, just as in all our projects, the racks are pre-wired and tested before we shipped them, Kunis noted. Communication was also the key. Fortunately Todd, the construction project manager, did an outstanding job of keeping us up to date and executing our countless requests.

From a design perspective, TK Theater managed to capture the elegance and grandeur of the old-time movie palaces in a relatively very small space. The 7,500-cubic-foot venue provides seating for 15 on three tiered levels. The clients early requirement for a stepped-down room resulted in spacious comfort for reclining leather seating and clear site lines for everyone.

But perhaps most indicative of a success design and installation, client instruction was completed in less than an hour, according to Kunis. The first night the client was able to effortlessly operate the theater with a huge grin, he said. The experience far exceeded his already high expectations.

Jeremy J. Glowacki is editor of Residential Systems in New York City.