Can anyone explain this space for me? - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 10 Old 12-27-08, 03:21 AM
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Can anyone explain this space for me?

I'm a new guy with minimal experience in "home theatre" types of spaces (though I have done professional recording studio stuff for years), and I have a question about a home we're considering buying. Specifically, one of the main spaces, what I would typically call a family room, seems to have been constructed as a home theatre or media room type space. But I simply don't understand the nature of the construction and therefor can't decide if this is an asset or a liability. Here are a few pics and my best possible description:

1. The main space - kinda shallow, and backs to an open kitchen space (pic below). It's dark-ish and has a false wall with long custom cabinets built into it. Either end of the cabinets are clearly intended to house speakers (with fabric screens in place of the door faces). In the wall itself is a long roll-up blind/screen. This screen opens to a hidden hallway type room behind the false wall (pic below). Here's the pic:

2. The kitchen - opens into the main space. There is an odd placement of a gas fireplace towards the end of an adjacent wall, not centered, and clearly no able to be a focal point of any sort. Here's a pic:

3. The odd hallway type room behind the screen in the main room - accessible through a door in the hallway leading to the bedrooms, it's long but narrow and seems to simply be a place to house gear and/or wiring. But I don't understand the need for a roll-up screen between it and the main room. I also don't understand the need for a completely separate space to house gear and/or wiring in what is clearly a relatively modest home setup (where fidelity and viewing would be compromised by other design elements in the house). Here's a pic:

Any insight or ideas would be much appreciated. I am interested in having a home theatre/media room space in my home but I'm not sure at all about this design or it's purpose or goal. The home itself has been on the market for a year in a very tough market, but in a very good neighborhood. And the price has dropped nearly $100k during that time, with probably another 10% off with negotiation. The rest of the house has many very nice features, but other smaller, more expensive homes with fewer features have readily sold in the same neighborhood in the last few months. Our only guess as to why this one has not sold is because of this odd space and the low budget kitchen amenities (which we could obviously upgrade upon purchase).

Please post your thoughts...

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by darkbuddha; 12-27-08 at 03:54 AM. Reason: bad spelling
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-27-08, 11:54 AM
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Re: Can anyone explain this space for me?

21 views and no ideas yet? Is this as strange as I think it is then? You know, I had a strange thought ... with the roll-up screen going the full length of the wall, maybe it was a puppet show theatre instead of a home media theatre.
post #3 of 10 Old 12-27-08, 11:59 AM
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Re: Can anyone explain this space for me?

I think your analysis is correct. The small room behind does seem to be a separate space for gear/wiring to keep a more clean look in the living area. The screen might be used to prevent light transfer from gear in the room to the living area as well while allowing for moderate ventilation.

All in all a very nice home theater could be put together in that space.

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post #4 of 10 Old 12-27-08, 12:56 PM
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Re: Can anyone explain this space for me?

Is hard to tell why they used that roll up screen, we don't know if they used a projector/screen or TV ...

I think the most important thing here is: What do you think of the house as it is??? ...Can you design and construct a nice HT??? ...Does this house has all what you're looking for???

Don't worry about the roll up screen (if it were me buying the house, I just add some drywall instead of the plastic screen to cover the hole)
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-27-08, 04:04 PM
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Re: Can anyone explain this space for me?

Thanks for the replies. It is difficult to tell what kind of install was originally in the house. My original supposition was that they used a large rear projection screen (or maybe two) placed inside the small room behind the screen, and maybe they would lower the screen to hide them for whatever reason. Based on the construction, I would actually have to guess that the home was originally built this way, especially considering it's only a few years old (2004) and has had 3 owners already. And if it was "upgraded" this way, it seems even more odd to have spent so much money to do so.

I was also thinking I could make the space work very for a modest home theatre setup. It's kinda narrow for a proper stereo or surround audio listening environment, but I'd need to build a proper home studio space anyway (I'm a composer), so I could treat it as more of a family lounge and home theatre combo. It would be cozy and with a nice sectional sofa.

The house otherwise has most of what we are looking for, including 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, 15 foot vaulted ceilings, 3+ car garage, 2400 sqft, lots of security features (including roll-up metal shudders and alarm), excellent schools, nice neighborhood, large screened lanai, etc. Our only concerns are cheaper quality galley kitchen and this odd space. Both are manageable for me... but the missus is a bit more concerned, but mainly with the kitchen.
post #6 of 10 Old 12-27-08, 04:40 PM
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Re: Can anyone explain this space for me?

I think that is an ideal situation to fit an acoustically transparent screen..
You would just need to make the opening to the apect ratio of a 2.35:1 screen..and place your speakers in the space behind the screen..

Home Theatre...the never ending story!
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-27-08, 04:52 PM
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Re: Can anyone explain this space for me?

I suspect the area was setup for aquariums. Regardless, as long as you can make it now work for you, that's all that matters.
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-27-08, 06:54 PM
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Re: Can anyone explain this space for me?

Mike P. wrote: View Post
I suspect the area was setup for aquariums. Regardless, as long as you can make it now work for you, that's all that matters.
Whoa! I think we may have a winner! That had never occurred to me, but now it makes perfect sense. It also explains why folks are put off by the space and why the house hasn't sold with that space. It also explains why there is a standalone generator integrated into the house (it is in an area where electrical outages do occur).

Thanks a ton for piping in... now I'm off to do more research on installing a ht system in there.
post #9 of 10 Old 12-27-08, 11:09 PM
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Re: Can anyone explain this space for me?

With the bundled up wiring piled up on the viewer side and the completely different colored cabinets, it looks like a hack job to me It is a purpose built area. My question is, was it incorporated into the original build or added by one of the other three owners? It wouldn't take that much cash. When you consider the house is below market price by 100K...3 or 4K$ to modify an existing 6 +/- foot deep alcove area isn't a big chunk a change

Still, it takes a lot of work out of finding a place to set up your gear!
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-28-08, 01:20 AM
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Re: Can anyone explain this space for me?

Yeah, an aquarium makes more sense than a home theater set up, but all the (what looks like) audio and video wiring is a curiosity if that's what it was built for. And those grills on the cabinet doors. Maybe it was a dual purpose thing for both an aquarium and a plain two-channel stereo system.

Still, it looks like it has great potential for home theater. The front speakers could be put on top of the cabinet - I sure wouldn't put then down low like that. Maybe you could do some built-in subs in the cabinet instead. The back room also has the potential for an infinite baffle subwoofer.

Just hope there's a place for the back speakers, and a way to get wire to them...

In any event, it certainly is very interesting. If you get the place, you'll have to keep us posted on what you do with it!

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