House & Home

Enjoy the Great Indoors with a New Home Theater

Now that fall has come to the East End, people turn their busy outdoor lives inward toward more indoor activities, and media rooms take center stage in Hamptons homes. The majority of new houses constructed today are designed with home media rooms and theaters, perfect for enjoying movies and entertainment during cooler fall evenings.

The first secret to creating a media room is to ensure that the construction of the room has adequate sound suppression elements. This will allow you to enjoy your chosen viewing material and to turn up the volume without scaring people in the rest of the house.

Then, it’s time to choose the look and feel of the theater. Today’s media rooms have a variety of functions and design choices that range from very formal stepped theater seating to very informal rooms with couches and bean bag chairs for family gatherings.

The majority of theaters are outfitted with theater seating, which fully recline and come with built-in speakers and cup holders to create the ultimate luxury home-viewing experience. Found locally, Salamander Designs creates innovative theater seating, incorporating customizable accessories for full theater automation.

The high-end theater experience is somewhat like owning a new luxury car. The seats feel great, the sound is amazing, and it’s thrilling to experience such a catered entertainment center.

Another area of media room design that is evolving is lighting. With advances in LED lighting, homeowners can tailor their home theater to have multiple color lights that help accent the room’s personality and can help give a very comfortable and unique feeling before, during and after the movie.

The sound and picture quality of today’s media rooms have gone past the simple need for an area for children to play video games. According to Curtis Cole of Systems Design, which is based in Southampton, the Dolby Atmos surround sound system is so authentic that by placing speakers in the ceiling you could swear that you hear the wind blowing above or sense the rain on your head. The standard acoustics of surround sound in the majority of media rooms are great, but in the quest to achieve the next level of sound, there can even be speakers in the chairs and in the floor.

The size of the theater screen has also come a long way from the standard 100-inch screen to screens over 160 inches, with the newest high resolution video available today being 4K.

In the majority of theaters I have designed, the interior decoration is very client-driven and specific to each family’s needs, use and taste. The more user-friendly a media room is, the more apt people are to spend time in these rooms, which are designed to deliver comfort and excitement. Having a media room in your home allows you to have a theater experience with your closest friends without having to drive into town and adhere to a predetermined viewing schedule. Rounding out the entire experience, most of the media rooms I’ve designed are also supported by a wet bar with a microwave for popcorn, a small bar sink and refrigeration.

With any good movie outing, half the fun is talking and gathering outside the theater with snacks and drinks that you can then bring inside to enjoy the show!

John Laffey is an architect based in Water Mill. For more information about his work, call 631-726-5108 or visit johnlaffeyarchitects.com.

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