Home cinema Install: Best Cellar?

This snug, high-spec cinema room makes great use of subterranean space

This modern-looking media room is actually below ground, hewn from the unused cellar of a London townhouse by professional installers Finite Solutions. The company was asked to create a space that could be used for music listening, relaxation and – of course – bigscreen movie action. It set to work, first digging out the cellar to provide more space for what has turned out to be a very eye-catching setup.

The owner, while keen to enjoy the benefits of home cinema, didn't want the associated hardware and projector screen to upset the décor, so drop-down options for both JVC projector and Screen Research screen were specified over fixed installations, although the high ceiling meant bespoke solutions were required. All the speakers (from Bowers & Wilkins) are fitted in-wall or in-ceiling, and source components are racked away in an almost invisible cupboard space hidden in the curved wall corner. The opposite corner shields the spiral staircase from view.

Other requirements were for the largest screen size possible – hence the use of a projector rather than a flatscreen TV – and plenty of media options. For the latter, a Sky+HD box, Apple TV, Marantz Blu-ray player and Kaleidescape Cinema One movie server are all plumbed in. For music, another key aspect of the room, there's Sonos hardware.

'The picture quality is excellent,' reveals the happy owner. 'The screen is nice and big and really looks the part once it has extended down from the ceiling. Music sounds great on the system and Sonos makes it so simple to find what I want to listen to.' We're told movie nights with friends and family are a regular occurrence, and sporting events on the bigscreen are a hit, too.

Hot chocolate

As you can see from the images, lighting and aesthetics were also high on the list of demands. The chocolate/grey colour scheme obviously packs style, but brings performance benefits as well. The fabric wall covering has been chosen to help dampen the room acoustically, and provide a non-reflective surface to ensure the largescreen visuals aren't marred by stray ambient light.

Wall lights, down-lighters, up-lighters and strip LEDs are all used in the lighting design, although the ceiling-installed 'light halo' is undoubtedly the pièce de résistance. The owner can use the room's Lutron Grafik Eye controller to adjust the colour of this illumination showpiece, and choose from his various preset colour scenes. Light management is either via an on-wall keypad or the Control4 interface on the handset or the owner's iPad. Control4 is also used for simplified, user-friendly operation of the AV electronics.

Right, time to get digging...

Installer info

Finite Solutions
0113 255 4765 (Leeds) / 0207371 8761 (London) / 0161 428 0374 (Cheshire)

Kit list

Kaleidescape: Cinema One movie server
Marantz: SR6006 AV receiver; Blu-ray player
Bowers & Wilkins: PV1D subwoofer; 3 x B&W CWM7.3 three-way in-wall speakers; 2 x B&W M-1 satellite speakers
JVC: DLA-X30WE projector
Screen Research: Motorized projector screen
Apple: Apple TV
Sky: Sky+HD receiver
Control 4: Remote/processor (and iPad app)
Lutron: Grafik Eye controller