A luxury family home near Knutsford, Cheshire has become the perfect palette for a team of home cinema professionals, bringing bespoke AV, interior and furniture design together with impressive results.
The owners had asked local interior designer Sonia Simpson of ‘Silk & Stone’ Interiors to refresh their décor when, early in the project, it became clear that they needed much more than an interiors upgrade. The couple’s eight-year-old cinema room had become a dead space, called into action only when their kids returned home. So, to bring the entertainment back to life, Sonia contacted Bolton’s Midas AV and Macclesfield-based furniture design company David Lisle Furniture to collaborate on a complete makeover for the main cinema room and an adjacent TV lounge.
Director at Midas AV, Mike Scott, explains, “We’d worked successfully with Sonia on several projects, so she invited us to talk to the owners about the possibilities. They described the old cinema space as ‘dull and miserable’ complaining that they had to be ‘dragged’ inside by their visiting kids to watch movies. Working with Sonia and David Lisle we had the opportunity to transform the 6m x 6m space visually and sonically so that once again it could contribute fully to the quality of life in their home.”
Restoring the Wow Factor
Midas AV put together Gold/Silver/Bronze options for the cinema system, but the client, who had some knowledge of AV brands and performance, wanted to go one better – a platinum solution if you like – so the Midas team designed a 7.2 audio system using Sonance Reference Series R2 LCRs, R1SUR surround speakers and twin i10 active subs, driven by an Arcam AVR10 surround receiver.
Mike says, “This is a pretty straightforward high quality system design, which the clients wanted – and even though we plaster-boarded the ceiling to soundproof the room from above, the shallow depth prevented us from taking the discreet Atmos option, which would entail a false ceiling, reducing the ceiling height.
“They certainly didn’t want that, so we fabricated a tray-type ceiling around the perimeter to house up and down-firing LEDs, the projector and the surround speakers. It’s a very discreet result, offering an excellent immersive audio experience while complementing Sonia’s stunning interior design.”
Mike adds, “For the video elements we designed a dual-purpose system comprising a motorised Projecta screen which drops in front of a Samsung 65in 8K TV, helping the client to enjoy a big screen movie experience when the fancy takes them, or day-to-day, a reference TV solution. The two screens, the LCRs, the system electronics and a single i10 sub are housed within a beautiful custom furniture unit from David Lisle: we made several trips to their workshop with the kit to ensure they had the exact measurements for a flawless result.
“Back-lit alcoves each side of the screens display Star Wars memorabilia at the special request of the lady of the house, who happens to be a huge Star Wars fan.”
New look for the Lounge
The impressive results being achieved in the cinema meant the client had some other ideas for their home as well.
Mike reveals, “We’d almost completed the cinema when the clients asked the team to work on an adjacent 6m x 5m lounge area; they wanted a similar transformation but on a smaller scale: same quality scaled down.
“Again, we used a striking custom designed furniture unit by David Lisle at one end of the designed space to support the TV – another 65in Samsung 8K display – and to house three horizontal Sonance R1 LCRs, together with an ultra-compact Sonance D8 micro subwoofer, an Arcam AVR 390 and source equipment. The cabinet swing door is acoustically transparent, and its operation is assisted by a motorised piston to make the action smooth and trouble free.
“For both rooms we suggested that the speaker grilles be RAL colour-matched to the furniture but again the lady of the house surprised us by insisting that the drivers remain exposed, because she liked the look!”
Mike says, “In the end it all came together beautifully but the major impediment to progress was Covid. The project was planned during lockdown, which entailed many Zoom calls and socially distanced meetings, adding months to the schedule. If you exclude the Covid factor, the entire installation took about three months to complete, aided by Habitech during system configuration.
“Habitech’s Dan Black remained in touch throughout to help us with the equipment choice and to bring in Habitech’s home cinema design team for advice on the positioning of the subs in the main cinema room. They suggested that twin diagonally opposing subs would be the best way to load the room and it worked! And even though I was obliged to complete an online configuration course to supply the Arcam components, Dan offered to perform the final Dirac Live calibrations on-site anyway. It was good before, it’s amazing now! I couldn’t be more impressed by the support from Habitech for this project.”
Mike concludes, “The clients absolutely love what we’ve achieved and say they now spend so much more time in the cinema and lounge. It’s a complete turnaround from what existed before, and they’re thrilled to be able to enjoy movies and music in high quality and within environments that look and feel so beautiful. In essence our custom coalition of AV, interior and furniture design has enriched their experience of the space and transformed the way they view their home.
“In essence our custom coalition of AV, interior and furniture design has enriched their experience of the space and transformed the way they view their home.”
Essential Kit List
3 x Sonance R2 Reference Series LCR
4 x Sonance R1SUR surround/ceiling speakers
2 x Sonance i10 10in active 300W subwoofers
Projecta electric in ceiling tab tensioned 106in 16:9 acoustically transparent UHD screen
Arcam AVR10 surround receiver
Samsung 65in 8K TV
3 x Sonance R1 Reference Series LCR
Sonance D8 micro subwoofer
Arcam AVR390 receiver
Samsung 65in 8K TV