Words by Maggie Laubscher | Photos by Erin Curry
Movie fans bring the excitement of the cinema to a home theater near them.
hen Garrett and Mindi Griffin had their home custom built by Cardinal Crest Homes, they opted to leave the basement unfinished to allow time to live in the space before dedicating the lower level to any singular concept.
Eight years later, they were ready. “I’d been thinking of ideas for a while by that point,” says Mindi, who was also the designer on the project. “Our family is a big fan of movies, and we love entertaining. A home theater just made
The couple’s first call was to their builder. While Cardinal Crest Homes specializes in custom builds, they also often work with past clients on smaller projects like this one.
“It was a really good collaborative effort between Mindi
and us and our design team,” says cofounder Joe Christensen.
As a designer—one who worked for the home builder previously—Mindi brought a lot of ideas to the table. The key element: distinctive wooden slats accenting the room’s walls.
“I loved the concept, and I ended up finding the product out of the UK. Then they started manufacturing them in the U.S., which was a game changer,” Mindi recalls.
The wooden slats included felt backing, which created a bonus effect of soundproofing the room. Since the couple’s bedroom sits directly above the home theater, they also installed Rockwool soundproofing insulation in the ceiling.
“That paneling was a really cool feature to add,” Joe says.
Another important element was the placement of the projector. “I hate the look of a dangling projector from the ceiling,” Mindi notes.Joe’s team came up with a novel solution to that issue. “We actually hid the projector behind the wall,” Joe explains. “You can’t see the projector at all within the theater itself.”
The team cut a small hole for the projector light to shine through and framed it with the baffle trim from a can light, painted black. It’s completely hidden behind a wall in the back of the room.
“It fits with the whole design aesthetic of making it clean and modern,” Joe explains. “A lot of times, projectors are very intrusive. But since this one is hidden in the back, you can’t even touch it.”
Beyond the room’s home theater elements, Mindi also came up with a bar counter idea, which adds a multi-use element to the space.
For the technical aspects, the Griffins sat down with Shawn Harrison, account manager for Bravas, a full-service residential and commercial custom electronics design and integration company, and worked out the details. Most home theaters have between 7 and 13 speakers, but Shawn pivoted from that based on the size and layout of the Griffins’ space.
“We installed ceiling speakers that have the ability to aim the sound back toward where you sit versus shooting the sound straight down from the speaker,” Shawn explains. The end result was a 5.1 speaker setup, meaning the space has one subwoofer and five speakers in total.
All of this planning was done at the onset of the project. “Oftentimes, people will start finishing a space and then bring in the interior design element, and then the design lags behind,” Joe says.
With this project, the design and the technical elements worked hand in hand. And the result is a cohesive, unique space that flows well.
The family has since finished the room with a Lovesac sectional, extra large poufs and framed retro movie posters. Just in time for summer, when a good movie night is the perfect escape from the summer heat.