Escapist Retreat: Contemporary Theater Reflects Homeowner’s Love for Florida Keys

Photos Andrew Trask

Life is slower and more relaxed in the Keys, and the homeowner of this theater wanted a space to reflect the region’s comfortable sensibilities, including the vibrant colors prevalent in the area such as teal, blue, amber, and especially purple, which was a departure from the more classical theater with dark woods and red walls.

A highlight of the installation was using the homeowner’s own photographs for the wall panels that are meant to appear as windows. According to Brad Bergoine, president of the Cinema Design Group Int’l (CDGi), this is what made the project extraordinarily unique. It also required a lot of post-processing since the images were taken at different times of the day and at varying angles. It was necessary to perform a good deal of work to get them to match properly so it seems like you’re actually looking at an outside view. The fiberoptic lighting in the ceiling has an actual Hubble telescope view, and each fiberoptic thread was carefully inserted by hand so each represents a star.

The acoustical treatments consist of custom CDGi CinemaScape panels using a proprietary method of diffusion within the fiberglass panels. The recessed columns also provide additional diffusion, as do the recessed wall panels displaying the outdoor scenes. The entry door seal prevents sound from escaping into other areas of the house.


The theater itself is on the third floor in a newly constructed wing of the house. The actual theater dimensions are 14 x 19 feet. The equipment is equally as impressive as the installation with a JVC DLA-RS60U reference 3D projector paired with a 120-inch Stewart StudioTek 130 fixed screen. Another unique aspect of the theater is the use of an active 7.2 speaker system from Genelec (LCR, 4 surrounds, and two subs), eliminating the need for expensive and bulky amplifiers. The Pioneer Elite SC-58 A/V receiver was used only as a preamp.

All the speakers are concealed behind the acoustically transparent fabric of the wall panels, which are set into alcoves that resemble windows. The columns of the room are actually recessed niches with delicate LED backlighting to create a subtle lighting effect. The column look is mimicked for the proscenium surrounds. The LCR speaker array and two subs are concealed in the cowl below the screen.

Custom seating from CDGi allowed designers to modify the seating’s fit and finish to the home- owner’s personal taste using leather imported from a Swedish tannery that offers special colors that harmonized with the paint and “window” images. An RTI control system was installed and is easily manipulated with an iPad.


“The client had specific input with respect to the color scheme and overall contemporary appearance,” says John Forrer, president and systems integrator of Protech e2 Inc. “While they left a lot up to us, they wanted the room to be designed in a manner that would not look outdated in a few years. CDGi made sure the interior design was timeless, and we completed the directive with state-of-the-art equipment and system control that is sure to provide these homeowners with a system they’ll enjoy for many years without the need for upgrades. And when they do, we can easily integrate new gear into the existing design.”

Interior Design & Installation:
Cinema Design Group
(800) 253-4372

Systems Integrator:
Protech e2, Inc
(305) 453-0010