Golden Valley movie buff designs his ideal screening room

  • Article by: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 3, 2014 - 2:08 PM

Unfinished basement space becomes the ultimate movie room.


The movie room includes a unique “speaker wall,” a 65-inch flatscreen plasma TV, seating for five and framed posters from some of homeowner John Kluchka’s favorite movies.

The challenge: Movie buff John Kluchka wanted to turn an unfinished storage room in his lower level into a state-of-the-art home theater. “I wanted a great place to watch movies,” he said.


The team: Homeowner Kluchka did the design; he worked with contractor J.W. Williams.


Simple and modern: Kluchka’s house, built in 1973 in Golden Valley, is contemporary in style, and he wanted the same aesthetic for his movie room. “It was meant to be very minimal and clean,” he said.


Sensory priorities: Kluchka wanted great sound and no visual clutter. All speakers (Definitive Technology Bipolar), cords and electronic equipment are concealed in a 3-foot space behind the visible media wall on which the 65-inch flat-screen plasma TV is mounted. The media wall is finished with strips of cherry-stained poplar wood and black chiffon from a bulk fabric warehouse. “It was a perfect solution that allowed me to make the whole wall into one big speaker acoustically, while letting all the gear just disappear,” he said. The DVD tray of his Blu-ray player is set so that the tray can slide out between the slats. The ceiling was double-insulated to muffle noise from the adjacent HVAC system and other mechanicals. “I was obsessed with zero outside noise,” he said.


Comfy seating: The theater seats five; two of the leather recliners are in a loveseat configuration. Kluchka chose black leather, a custom order from the furniture manufacturer. “When you custom-order in black, the stitching and cupholders don’t change, they’re brown,” he said. At first he wasn’t sure about the combination but it soon grew on him. “The contrast stitching looks fantastic. You get a much more sporty look. It was a happy accident.”

Ceiling interest: Cove lighting in the drop ceiling, and high-gloss paint combine to create interesting visual effects. “The reflections create a unique ethereal pattern — it almost looks like the northern lights,” he said.


Making an entrance: A single door to the utility room was replaced with a double door in cherry with frosted-glass panels and commercial refrigerator door handle. “It was a wet wall [containing plumbing] so it was a ton of work to open up,” Kluchka said. “The carpenter had to create a custom surround because the wall was so deep.” The frosted glass is aesthetically pleasing and also serves a practical purpose, by allowing family members to see when someone else is watching a movie.


Room for guests: The movie room shares the lower level with a guest room and bathroom, which Kluchka also remodeled. One fun feature in the bathroom is a metal door kick installed as a backsplash over the sink. “I wanted to do brushed metal,” he said. “I was going to have a fabricator make one, then I thought, ‘Why have it made?’” when a standard-size door kick could provide the same look for less. “It turns up the volume on what could have been a boring bathroom,” he said.


A place for popcorn: Inside the movie room, the long low table in front of the seats is actually two tables placed end to end. Kluchka bought one, in cherry veneer, about 15 years ago when he was living in his previous house. A tree limb fell onto his skylight, shattering it and gouging the table below, so Kluchka replaced it with an identical table. When he moved into his current house, the tables didn’t work in the living room, so he moved both to the movie room. The horizontal element balances the space, he said. “And it’s perfect as a snack table.”


Finishing touch: For artwork, Kluchka chose six framed movie posters: “Blade Runner,” “Batman,” “Donnie Darko” ... “all my favorite sci-fi classics,” he said.

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