Mark Oser on Home Theaters

Having won numerous awards for design excellence in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Designs By Mark is a design firm specializing in interior design and home construction. But where their true flair for drama resides is in home theater projects, which (as shown here) can elevate an abandoned room's status from throwaway space to...main attraction.

What are the keys to creating a great home theater experience?
Mark: I like to use a wide variety of lighting, luxurious/comfortable fabrics and an exciting color palette as far as the aesthetics go. Stadium seating and cool architectural details make a theater room eye candy. Of course a great audio/video system is a must. Another key feature is to have a touch screen universal remote...which can be programmed to control all A/V equipment, curtains and the lighting without leaving your seat. Laziness at its best.
What kind of room is ideal to transform into a home theater?
Mark: Usually the basement works best. If you have an unfinished area, you can construct walls wherever you like. It is best to have a large room for viewing and a high ceiling (9-feet high) is a plus for stadium seating. The other ideal reason is for sound. It is best to keep your theater room as far away from bedrooms due to loud sound concerns.
What's the most important consideration before starting a home theater project?
Mark: I would have to say...budget. There is such a wide range in what you can and can't do because price usually gets in the way. The good news is that you can always make upgrades to your theater room as time goes on. Remember...The most important part of any project is good DESIGN.
What home theater would you consider your Mona Lisa? Why?
Mark: The Mona Lisa home theater for me has the latest in state-of-the-art technology (pictured above). It has all the bells and whistles...a ticket booth...a ceiling mounted high definition 3D projector and a 123-inch movie screen. It comes fully equipped with the ultimate in style and comfort. The chairs have heat and massage settings, motorized adjustability as well as cup holders for your convenience. The chairs even shake during those high-impact scenes. With one press on the touch screen remote control, the lights dim, the curtains open, the movie starts and your jaw drops. The result is a high-tech, high-end, sophisticated space for family and friends to enjoy...the WOW Factor!!
What trends have you seen of late in terms of home theater design?
Mark: As the price of TV's continue to drop and the quality continues to rise with HD/3D technology, home theaters are becoming more and more popular. Even the cost to do a home theater can range from very basic to mid range and high end. You can always add design elements to your room at a later date. There is just something really cool about having a dedicated space to view a movie in.
In the next five years, what trends do you forecast will hit big?
Mark: Better audio/video equipment -- even though that seems hard to believe given how amazing it is right now. More and more furniture companies are catering to the needs home theater enthusiasts. And perhaps it is not a far stretch to think that some day, we might be able view movies 3D without the glasses.
How would you describe your dream client?
Mark: Someone that is open to do the extreme in design. Most people are afraid of pushing the envelope because they are either scared of the unknown or it costs to much. It is always fun and challenging to find that person who is fearless enough to go beyond their dreams in design.
What are your favorite businesses to get home theater furnishings and electronics from?
Mark: For movie screens I like to use Stewart. For projectors I like Runco. For lighting controls I like Lurton and of course, for a great design-build team, I like Designs by Mark.