The wall with book shelves, marble tops, and new gas fireplace with marble after remodeling.
Home entertainment areas, with incredible sound and video systems that include the latest in home theatre standards such as Prologic, THX, and AC-3, are becoming popular.
Liz and Ernie Pyle moved from English Hill into a home in Stanwood last February. They had always wanted a home entertainment system built around a family-room concept and never had the right space, but they found it in their new home.
"For years, I have been admiring the quality of direct projection TV systems at local retail stores," said Ernie. "We wanted the ability to view regular cable TV, pay-per-view Sonics, satellite DSS, laser discs, and VCR video tapes. We invested in a big TV and a VCR in 1991, but were limited to one room and not a lot of choices."
The Pyles now have a state-of-the-art home theatre system and in-home cable distribution system using off-the-shelf components and an unconventional design methodology.
"After many false starts trying to find expertise in building such a system, we discovered Pro Comm in Lynnwood that specializes in custom audio-visual systems. My brother Jerry served as the general contractor and we designed the system with the consultants from Pro Comm and did the work ourselves.
The family room was a drab, 15'x20' space with a log-burning brick fireplace and a difficult-to-use wet bar. They wanted to the area to be functional and beautiful.
To design the room, they chose to bring together craftsmen rather than use an architect. Through a series of meetings with Pro Comm, a cabinet maker, a finish carpenter, a fireplace installer, a marble installer, and a painter contractor, Jerry took their ideas and mentally designed the complete space.
"I took my brother and sister-in-law's desires to have a gas burning fireplace, bookshelves, an electrically controlled projection screen, and the design elements used in the existing cabinets in the kitchen to create an integration of all the parts," said Jerry.
Construction took three months, with the need to accommodate the supplier's schedules.
"We started by carefully pulling up the carpet so that it could be reused. Next, we demolished the old fireplace mantle and hearth and removed the wet bar. The existing lighting and wiring was taken out. The fireplace installer used a cutting torch to remove parts of the old fireplace box so that the new gas fireplace would fit. At this time, the fireplace installer also put in a new gas supply line and new exhaust pipe," said Jerry.
Prior to the installation of the custom cabinets, the finish carpenter installed a wood valance at the ceiling to allow for new dimmable fluorescent lighting. Pro Comm installed the wiring for the home theatre, audio, telephones, modems, computer networks, and video in most rooms.
The painting contractor came in to paint the new trim and walls to match the existing colors. The cabinets were installed in two phases to accommodate the marble installation.
Indirect and spot lighting was installed in the ceiling and cabinets. All lighting is adjusted by a controller supplied by Pro Comm which allows remote control or by using push buttons on the wall. The same push buttons allow control of the screen up and down, the gas fireplace on and off, as well as the gas fireplace's two-speed fan.
"What I think is unique about this home theatre is that it is integrated into the living space of the home rather than a separate room," said Jerry.