If your idea of a great weekend is having a bunch of friends over to watch the game on a 103-inch plasma screen, boy, did you miss the boat. You could have had a replica of the Batcave built in your basement ... or the deck of the Starship Enterprise ... or the ballroom of the Titanic.
In fact, we have now officially gone where no man has gone before, entering the era of the ultimate in home screening rooms. You can have a replica of an old-time cinema complete with popcorn machines, a ticket booth with a properly-suited mannequin and personalized marquees, to the sleekest, most ultra-modern image machines imaginable.
All you need is a team of architects and sound designers, and a whole lot of cash.
Take, for instance, that Batcave. The home it's in, on the Maine coastline, is owned by a naturalist who wanted her indoors to be as outdoorsy as possible, and originally thought of the basement as just a "TV room for the kids."
But by the time she and Nick Mark of
DC Audio Visual Systems got through with their collaboration, between the specially-painted mural, the prop bats, rocks the owner brought back from a spelunking trip, a $36K commercial projector and some motorized leather recliners, the room wound up costing about $400,000 "all in."
Then, there's the deck of the Starship Enterprise (or, to be specific, a replica of the Enterprise NCC-1701D). Created for a home in Palm Beach County, Fla., by
Acoustic Innovations, it was named "the best theme theater installation" at the
2007 Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association show.
No wonder: Featuring motion-activated air-lock doors with specialized sound effects, as well as a hard-drive storage system that includes eight servers with over 3,000 DVDs, the three areas (did we mention the wet bar?) took six months to build, with all the equipment hidden in a closet in the back.
Jay Miller, the president of the design firm, says a similar suite could cost anywhere from $500,000 to $1.5 million, depending on how many gadgets and extra touches a client might want.
Then, there's the Tennessee couple that so loved the film
that they based their home theater on that Art Nouveau fantasy, including the domed ceiling that holds over 1,000 fiber-optic light strands in order to replicate a starry night sky.
The room also features a projector and screen with superwide CinemaScope, just like the films shown in commercial theaters, with its equipment hidden behind a framed picture at the back -- which lowers with a mere button-press.
There's even the "practical" Wisconsin family that transformed its 20-by-40 indoor pool into a theater, adding flooring and carpeting, as well as the screen and equipment, of course -- but keeping the slope of the pool as a sort of tiered effect for the seating. The new entertainment center gets more use now than it ever did before.
But for all-out, drop-dead glamour, there's probably nothing to touch the "drive-in" theater that overlooks the home of the movies itself -- Hollywood.
The house (and its guest house, and its 65-foot infinity pool/spa) was designed in an ultra-mod '60s style by the firm of its owner, architect Hagy Belzberg (who once interned for
The house not only has
droolworthy views of the downtown Los Angeles skyline, but a
gigantic movie screen, viewable from the various terraces and patios.