Planning for Multi-purpose Entertainment Spaces

Planning for Multi-purpose Entertainment Spaces

This multi-purpose rec room by Harmony Interiors is a bar, game room and home theater in one.

While the living room is still a focus for many homes, some buyers are opting to making this area smaller to make place for more functional spaces. Spaces where the family can have fun and not worry about possible messes. Spaces like the recreational room or multi-purpose room.

“It’s a space you really want to hang out in,” says Scott Varn, owner of Harmony Interiors. You don’t want darts in a living room, after all.

One Harmony Interiors and Thompson Builder client, a geologist, had his mineral collection incorporated into his rec room. The bar was made out of white onyx and backlit with LEDs. The dartboard score system had wooden dowels to bring in that nature aspect. The poker table was even handmade.

The theater seating in this multi-purpose rec room is tiered with couch beds and bar seating.

Hidden James Loudspeakers were placed throughout the theater, so the focus is on the sound and entertainment and not giant speakers. Trees created out of steel were made to camouflage them. Even the seating is spectacular. The first row is comprised of couches the clients can lie down on. Behind that is bar seating.

This Harmony Interiors bar has onyx built into it, with LED back lighting.

The room has a Draper Soundscreen, DILA projector by JVC and television behind the bar.​

Quick Hits: The Ultimate (Traditional) Game Room

When incorporating a multi-purpose or rec recreational room in a new home, the most important thing isn’t the projection screen, amplifier or even the foosball table though. According to Varn, whose company specializes in combining technology with design, it’s about acoustics.

Sound isolation is pivotal in these rooms so movie explosions don’t disturb other residents and people walking above don’t sound like elephants.

Varn also recommends easy lighting control with multiple scenes for movie time, cleanup, etc. It is also important to wire the home appropriately, especially for these spaces.

“The word ‘wireless’ is pretty much a lie. People are streaming more, soaking up the bandwidth, soaking up interference from the neighbors,” Varn says. Wired networking is needed to avoid those drawbacks.

The dartboard scoreboard in this Harmony Interiors multi-purpose rec room brings in the client's personality as the dowels are made of wood.Ventilation is necessary to keep equipment in tip-top shape, as things like televisions, gaming consoles and projectors generate a lot of heat.

“A fan doesn’t cost much, but it is worth it,” Varn says.

None of these things sound particularly sexy, but they are integral parts of any recreational room.

“Foosball tables and such are personal,” Varn says.

Now for the really fun stuff.

Related: Game Rooms Gone Wild


Whole in One

High Definition Golf simulators are not only the ultimate home amenity for golfers, but also double as HD home theatre systems for watching television, movies, sporting events and playing video games.

“Homeowners are continuously looking for ways to maximize the space in their homes, and our indoor golf simulators do just that,” says Todd Richardson, president of Interactive Sports Technologies, the manufacturer of High Definition Golf simulators. “With just one amenity, you can transform a large room or basement into a multi-use entertainment space.”

HD Golf allows rooms to also become movie theaters.

From the HD Golf simulator touchscreen, users can select from various courses, tournaments and games.Golfers tee off into the simulator screen connected to the HDTV compatible LCD projector. The cameras capture and analyze the shot, measuring all critical ball and club parameters including swing analysis, ball speed, club speed, launch angle, club face angle, ball spin and spin axis at high accuracy with the IST Computer Vision Ball Tracking System with Quadvision Technology. The user can choose from 25 championship golf courses, chipping/putting greens, driving ranges, games like “closest-to-pin” and “longest drive” and online tournaments via the 19-inch LCD touchscreen.

Unlike other simulators which use computer graphics, HD Golf utilizes advanced computer vision technology that combines high resolution digital images, satellite data and geophysical data to produce a totally realistic golf experience. It also provides comprehensive and precise shot analysis. It has the capability to measure all critical ball and club parameters including swing analysis, ball speed, club speed, launch angle, club face angle, ball spin and spin axis at high accuracy.

When not being used to improve golf game, the system, which is compatible with any DVD or Blu-ray player, can be connected to cable or satellite systems or game consoles transforming into an HD home theatre with 250 watt surround sound and Audio Amp and Paradigm speakers. The total amps required are 20.8A.

The HD Golf simulator is the highlight of a multi-purpose room by homebuilder Spring Creek.

The simulator is one of the highlights in a Spring Creek Co., home in Red Oak, Okla. The projection screen is the second largest HD Golf manufactures, just one step down from the curved screen they make. It takes up half of the recreation room. There are overhead cameras to analyze the golfer’s technique.

The room also has “miles” of Category 5 cables and a DirectTV feed to the projector. Video Revolution put in a Sonos box so the homeowners can listen to music and play golf at the same time. The room is also set up to watch different screens. But that’s not all.

“Our clients also love to play ping pong,” says Ayliffe.

The room is bisected so the canned lighting in the copper ceiling doesn’t interfere with the golf simulator.

“We designed the room to accommodate various activities,” says Ayliffe.


Perfect Storm for Multi-Purpose

Since the Spring Creek-built home is located in Oklahoma, the tornado capital, a storm shelter was also built on the property. It doubles as a Bikram Yoga studio, with independent heating and air climate control. This room also has a Sonos wireless music system to listen to iPods and is wired for a computer and wireless Internet so residents can keep tabs on the weather.

“Why not make a storm shelter something functional the rest of the year?” asks Ayliffe.


Basketball Hoops Inside and Out … and Inside and Out

While basketball is a great way to have fun and get in some exercise, portable hoops and permanent fixtures are often considered unsightly. This is the reason Clarke Pile invented the Auto Hoop and smaller Hide–a-Hoop model.

Auto Hoop was originally manufactured for exterior use on residential properties and now offers models for interior use including installations in racquetball and squash courts as well as other types of athletic rooms in residential and commercial projects.

(Left) Auto Hoop when it's retracted, (right) Auto Hoop when it's open.

The units deploy and retract within a wall with a push of a button, much like a garage door opener. They require a 110 volt outlet. The Auto Hoop unit is for more aggressive players as the backboard is larger when vertical and is 40 inches from the wall. It has plenty of room underneath for layups and the like. The Hide A Hoop measures 12 inches from the wall. An unpainted wood door is included with all hardware and the closure system.

The Auto Hoop is $2,850, while the Hide A Hoop is $1,700.

In rec rooms where more than just basketball will be played, this type of hoop could be ideal.

“It completely eliminates the interference of the backboard in the play of game for, say, racquetball,” says Pile.

Now that’s a slam dunk.

Also Read: 5 Plays for the Ultimate Super Bowl Room

About The Author

Kelly Mello is a TecHome Builder Staff Writer, creating timely, investigative articles for its eMagazine and Special Reports. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in English: Communications & Rhetoric. She began her writing career in 2007 as editorial assistant for GateHouse Media. From 2010 to 2013, she was local editor for various Patch sites, including

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