Sunday, December 15, 2019
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  Limitless Lakeside Entertainment  

This installation, by Portsmouth, N.H.-based DC Home Systems, adorned a fourth home for a tech-savvy couple with grown children who wanted every amusement incorporated inside and outside of this 15,000-square-foot lodge-style two-level building, referenced by the integrator as ‘the playhouse’ – one of many buildings on the expansive property which has been developed over a 10-year period.

But there’s more to this “playhouse” than just play. The clients, who are also business partners, required highly robust Internet, networking and cell phone reception to respond to the needs of their international clients.

Their expansive requests included the design of a game room, adult lounge, basketball court and bowling alley, a mini-golf course, a zip-line, fire pits and horseshoe pits - all of which is accented with a comprehensive and automated landscape lighting design.
One particular addition to the grand plan was a theater room, which the client had never owned before.

The directive: it was to “blow away” guests and family with an unparalleled home cinema experience – but not overwhelm them with the technology behind it. It needed to be “a dedicated space optimized for guest and family fun and powerful audio, where the technology is prevalent but does not dominate,” said the integrator. The stated desire was that the technology “not interfere with the theme and the aesthetics of the building. He was adamant that the technology simply is a means to allow people to have more fun, comfort, and enjoyment.”

Cinema Tech sofa bed lounger and custom motorized recliners with a striking aesthetic.

Presented with the option of three solutions to consider relating to the theater: Standard, Premium, and Ultimate, “the client was very engaged in the process and included members of their family in the decision…and decided the Ultimate system would provide the best experience possible.” The result was the construction of a 1,200-square-foot dedicated theater that seats 28 people.

The playhouse is "enhanced by aesthetically conscious automated systems” throughout. Those features include distributed A/V, advanced lighting and climate control, motorized shades, air-supply management, surveillance, network, security and complete cinema room automation and control, according to DC Home Systems, with the “brains” of the technology hidden in an ultra-organized, integrated equipment room that is invisible to visitors.

Triad Cinema Reference speakers compliment the extensive home theater build.

One special challenge, said DC Home Systems, was that the building was already under construction when the integrator began to design and engineering processes – so Nicholas Mark and the DC team used all its expertise in fashioning clever and effective workarounds.

For example, there was ultimately no issue in placing a basketball court above the theater because built into the planning was a Kinetics Noise Control-designed floating-floor system that suspended the entire basketball court on springs, negating any sound transmission into the theater. In another ingenious workaround, the four-lane bowling alley’s sound was insulated by putting a vestibule between the theater and the lanes which serves as a sound and airlock; doors on each side of the vestibule use gaskets that seal shut when closed.

Kinetics also provided its largest starfield ceiling in the theater, which, at 1,000 feet, also serves to hide a complex array of acoustical treatments that keep the audio performance in the theater at a consistently optimum level.

One particular challenge that addressed a client’s request that might have been unaddressable by a lesser installer was keeping windows as an element of the dedicated home theater. Crestron’s true blackout shades, as DC Home Systems tells it, were the perfect solution to this dilemma.

"Working in conjunction with the millwork company, we created a total blackout condition when watching movies, but when the shades are open, all shades, mechanisms and light-blocking channels are hidden from the clients’ eyes."

All in all, said DC Home Systems, for the client, who was "keen on having guests and family feel delighted and relaxed in their home… the playhouse represents the epitome of this desire."




  • Equipment List
  • Autonomic MMS-2A
  • Streaming Music Player
  • CinemaTech Bavarian Custom Sofa-Bed Lounger
  • CinemaTech Espada Custom Incliner Chair, Motorized
  • Coastal Source BT Fixtures Bullet Light
  • Coastal Source FLEX Fixtures FLEX Uplight
  • Crestron CEN-NSP-1 Network Streaming Player
  • Crestron DIN-AP3MEX Custom Control Processor
  • Crestron DMC-4K-C-DSP DM 4K Input Card
  • Crestron HR-150 Custom Hand-Held Remote Control
  • Crestron Pro3 Custom Control Processor
  • Crestron QMT Crestron-controlled Motorized Roller Shades
  • Digital Projection 115-630 Lens for Insight Projector
  • Digital Projection Insight 4K Dual-LED 3-Chip DLP Projector
  • Fortinet FS-224D-FPOE 245-port Gigabit Switch
  • Kaleidescape Alto HD Movie Player
  • Kaleidescape Strato 4K Ultra HD Movie Player
  • Kinetics StarCoustics SX Custom Fiber-optic Starfield Ceiling