A Home Theater Submerged in Deep-Sea Design

Inspired by his favorite movie, the client approached the Audio by Design team to design the “Nautilus Theater.” 7/17/2006 4:00 AM Eastern

A Home Theater Submerged in Deep-Sea Design

Jul 17, 2006 8:00 AM

The following information is courtesy of the 2005 CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Designers' Choice Awards. For more information on how to become a member of CEDIA, or information on its awards program please visit or call (800) 669-5329.

2005 CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Winner
Designers Choice Awards: Best Home Theater
Level VI ($210,000-250,000)

Audio by Design

Inspired by his favorite movie, the client approached the Audio by Design team to design the “Nautilus Theater.” They initially delivered a theme package within the client’s budget, utilizing a simply designed interior package. Their team architect suggested they present another concept for validation: a theme-park-quality design with a price tag three times the total budget. While that version was not approved, the budget was flexible, and the homeowner hired the specialty fabricator for the submarine’s interior fixtures. The electronics budget was not increased, yet the finished system holds up to the interior package.

One major challenge was the coordination of design and construction of the physical space. Prior to Audio by Design's involvement, the client had already secured an architect and general contractor. This project was viewed as a simple room addition to the existing home, rather than a specialty construction project. Construction delays slowed project completion. The carpet selection was also purchased prior to our design. The homeowner had selected a tan color, but agreed with our designer to install period style carpet, complementing the red velvet seating and motorized draperies.

The electronics package was integrated into the interior package design; most notably the projector is disguised inside a submarine hatch. Free-standing ribbon tweeter loudspeakers were originally specified across the front with in-walls for surrounds. All loudspeakers were changed to in-walls for enhanced visual presentation and proven performance. The speakers were trimmed with rivet-like material provided by the fabricator. This significant design modification required a change to the projection screen, allowing the center speakers to be installed behind the screen without a construction change to accommodate traditional speakers. However, a perforated screen was cost prohibitive and moiré effect from the DLP projector was a concern. The Screen Research ClearPix2 fixed-frame screen promised to avoid the image quality problem with a woven fabric instead of holes.

Fortunately, the client understood the challenges, accepted Audio by Design's recommendation, and approved the additional budget for the screen. Ultimately, the system was made user-friendly by installing an AMX system that controls lighting, HVAC, and theater electronics, completing the unique entertainment environment.

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Equipment list

  • 2 Acoustic Innovations Custom Draperies
  • 11 Acoustic Innovations Royal CinemaChairs
  • 1 AMX NI3000 controller
  • 1 AMX MVP-7500 7.5in. touchpanel
  • 1 AMX PLK-SB two-button keypad
  • 1 AMX VST-TSTAT Thermostat
  • 1 AMXVST-TTM dual temperature support module
  • 1 AMX VST-TSF flush-mount indoor temperature sensor
  • 1 AMX VSS2 video sync sensor
  • 1 AMX PSN6.5 A power supply
  • 1 AMX RDA-ENC6 Radio 6 space enclosure
  • 1 AMX RDD-DM6 six-channel integrated dimmer module
  • 1 AMX RDM-2SWM dual switch module, 20A
  • 1 BTX 5060 Drapery System
  • 1 Custom Rack
  • 1 D-Link DI614+ broadband router
  • 1 Delphi SA10000 XM SKYFi radio receiver
  • 1 DirecTV HR10-250 HDTV TiVo
  • 1 InFocus ScreenPlay SP7200 projector
  • 1 Kenwood Sovereign DV5900M 400-DVD changer
  • 1 Kenwood Sovereign VR5900 AV receiver
  • 1 Kenwood Sovereign MX5000 amplifier
  • 1 JVC HR-S5902U S-VHS VCR
  • 1 LG Electronics LSS-3200A HD receiver
  • 1 NHT A1 amplifier
  • 2 NHT U2 subwoofers
  • 1 Panamax MAX 4310 surge protector
  • 1 Pioneer CLD-501 laser disc player
  • 5 Prepac Multimedia Storage Units
  • 1 Screen Research ClearPix2 screen
  • 8 Solus ribbon DR-ir6 in-wall loudspeakers
  • 6 Solus ribbon DR-ir8 in-wall loudspeakers

    Time and Expertise Worksheet
    Task Hours
    Client Interviews 12
    Electronic Design and Engineering: 24
    Proposal and System Documentation Preparation: 16
    Project Management: 80
    Pre-wire/Rough-in: 8
    Trim-out: 12
    Shop Time for Racking and Testing: 4
    Programming: 40
    Final Installation and Calibration: 24
    Client Instruction: 4
    Interior Design and/or Architecture by your Company: 25
    Interior Design and/or Architecture by Others: 100
    Project Management by Others: 100
    Other time: builder's interior designs, drawings done on paper: 0
    Total Hours to Complete: 449

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