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Ex-Home Gym Flexes its Theater Muscle

By Lisa Montgomery
Pros confiscate closets to expand space for small but high-performance upper-level entertainment room.

The owners of this theater were willing to sacrifice valuable storage space to transform a spare room into a small but mighty home theater. The room was really too small to function as much of anything, other than a place to put workout gear says Chris Green, general manager at Hi-Tech Home in Clovis, Calif.

Measuring less than 200 square feet, the room didn't quite have the chops to accommodate the enormous screen and surround-sound system the owners had in mind.

So before a single piece of equipment could be installed, contractors from Alta Custom Homes (also in Clovis), enlarged the room by several feet by removing an existing wall, tearing down a built-in bookshelf and turning two closets in the hallway into square-footage for the theater.

The closet conversions also gave Hi-Tech Home a place to fish the network wiring that would connect the theater's Sony 400-disc changer to TVs in the master bedroom and family room.

This would give the owners a huge bang for the buck, says Green. At the time of the installation (the project was finished in January 2009), the Sony changer was about 1/8th the cost of a hard-drive (multiroom) system. The only drawback is that everyone has to watch what's playing in the theater, unlike a hard-drive system that allows everyone to watch whatever they want.

That was another concession the owners madethis time, to conserve cash. The entire project came in at less than $50,000, including the build-out, cabinet work, new carpeting, painting, lighting, and of course, the labor and equipment. Not bad, considering the room would boast a 110-inch Da-Lite screen, a Panasonic 1080p projector, Denon 7.1 surround-sound receiver and a Control4 control system, in addition to the Sony megachanger and seven Berkline chairs.

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