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10 Strategies to Thrive During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

In the coming weeks and months, families will be spending more time together at home than they probably ever have. A lot of time, with nowhere to go other than under one roof trying to manage a completely new mode of life during the coronavirus outbreak. Now’s your chance as a home systems integrator to help them conquer boredom, work and school obligations, stress, and social isolation.

“This situation is giving us all the opportunity to find our escape, and that place is our home,” observes Skyler Meek, director of marketing, Screen Innovations. “Your home is your sanctuary is a story that dealers have telling their clients for years, and now we are all feeling that truth more than ever.”

By the same token, almost every facet of your work environment has flipped seemingly overnight. Face-to-face contact with clients, conference-room pow-wows with your staff, training opportunities, jobsite walk-throughs, marketing efforts—they’re handled much differently. You, your staff, and the professionals with whom you collaborate are all adjusting to the situation. And although it may feel strange, uncomfortable, and stressful, there are alternative measures you can take to keep your business running smoothly and even capitalize on new opportunities.

Here are 10 ways to conquer this crisis by revamping your sales and business strategies:

1. Show Empathy with Assuring Messages

“Whether you communicate with your clientele via email, newsletters, or some other mode of messaging, reach out to them as their trusted tech advisor,” advises Ed Buday of Buday’s Home Electronics Simplified, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Empathy goes a long way in your approach: Are they experiencing any Wi-Fi difficulties now that the entire family is online and eating up bandwidth? Do they need additional content to watch? Are they concerned about the spread of germs? You have solutions for these and other issues, so make them aware of it.

2. Focus on Solutions that Resonate with House-Bound Customers

What makes sense from a sales and marketing perspective? Which technologies should you pitch to your house-bound customers?

Voice control, projection screens, and wireless networking solutions are the front runners,” says Mark Cichowski, CEO of Clarity AV International, a rep company based in Southern California. Anything that keeps your clients well connected, happily entertained, and fosters a sense of health and well-being is going to resonate.

3. Embrace the Home Office with Enhanced Wi-Fi

“Your clients have probably already experienced Wi-Fi hiccups when the kids are playing Minecraft and they’re trying to do their actual job,” says Joe Whitaker of Thoughtful Integrations, St. Louis and Dallas. Slower-than-normal connections, buffering of video downloads, and spotty streaming, can bring work, school and play to a grinding halt. 

Alleviate these bandwidth burdens by offering to upgrade their existing Wi-Fi network. Be sure to mention other perks that come with having a better wireless networking system, such as enhanced cybersecurity, privacy, and parental controls.

Nathan Holmes, technical director at Access Networks, advocates upgrading to Wi-Fi 6. This new version of Wi-Fi has been engineered to handle the bandwidth requirements of multiple devices operating on the network at the same time. “As more and more Wi-Fi 6 devices hit the market, updating your Wi-Fi network to support them is a logical next step,” Holmes says. 

4. Foster Health and Wellness Through Touchless Voice Control

Consumers have wiped clear the store shelves of disinfectant. Preventing the spread of germs is top of mind. In addition to recommending thorough and continual cleaning of items like handheld remotes and light switches, suggest the addition of voice control. Your clients can keep their hands off the goods, minimize the spread of germs, and still stream Netflix, a favorite playlist, adjust the lights, and more.

Offer suggestions on ways to interact with their voice control platform: Keep the kids entertained with a “joke of the day” or trivia.” Enjoy an audiobook. Teach it some new home control tricks or curate a new music playlist, suggests home systems integrator Steve Stary, vice president of Brilliant AV, Costa Mesa, Calif. “Remind them to explore additional options at their leisure, then add them over time … which many have in abundance right now.”

The adoption of voice control platforms is expected to soar, so should your product offerings in this category. Carry good, better, best options, adding a system like to your lineup. Engineered to understand natural inflections and patterns of speech rather than scripted commands–it’s intuitive for the entire family to enjoy. With data privacy being top of many people’s minds, the platform offers a secure option dealers can offer as an alternative.

5. Provide a Window to the Outside World

“In these challenging times, as many families are and will be self-isolating, creating experiences in the home with loved ones becomes even more important, and enjoying movies, art, and games can make an incredibly positive contribution to how we all tackle this challenge together,” says Tim Sinnaeve, managing director of Barco Residential.

With more time to consume content—and more time to have a system professionally installed–consumers more than ever are realizing the advantages of having a big, immersive screen in their homes. A projection screen/video projector combo brings home the cinema experience, but it’s not just theaters that are closing. Health clubs, yoga studios, sports stadiums, concert arenas, hotels, resorts, golf courses, museums, nature centers, bowling alleys, and other gathering spots are shutting their doors.

Immersive theater experiences will enable homeowners to feel outdoor experiences even though they are inside.

A projection screen can also deliver these experiences to home-bound families. Introduce the notion of swinging a golf club on the fairway of a course in Ireland or relaxing on a beach in Thailand. Explain how they can exercise with an instructor via live video streams, view works of art up close, bring the sights and sounds of nature to the living room, grab a front-row seat to hear a favorite band.

“It’s like having a digital canvas in your living room that makes everything come to life,” Sinnaeve comments. And when it comes to gaming, “being able to interact on a lifelike screen is about as close to virtual reality as you’ll get.”

To evoke the true sense and sensation of being somewhere other than the living room also requires audio, “After smell, hearing is the most powerful sense we have for memory recall. The sound of waves lapping gently against the beach, a friend’s laughter, thunder rolling as rain taps against the roof, or even just a particular song can all bring memories flooding back,” says Nick Berry, CEO of Origin Acoustics.

Dealers have the opportunity to create these feelings in customers, with minimal impact on the architecture of their sanctuaries. Combining that with Artnovian acoustic panels, the kids can play games while minimizing noise pollution in the home office.”

Families that previously followed hectic schedules, hardly home for long enough to cook dinner let alone transform a room into a media space, are finding themselves with ample time to tackle lengthier home improvement projects. Show them a more sophisticated home theater setup including a motorized screen, projector lift, or a complete room overhaul where the technology meshes with the room design. If you’ve resisted working with a home theater designer, chalking it up to your busy installation schedule, connect with one now to forge a new partnership that can contribute to the differentiation and prosperity of your business.

A designer like Lisa Slayman, principal of Laguna Beach, Calif.-based Slayman Design Associates and Slayman Cinema, for example, applies design elements to optimize the performance of the AV equipment. Rayva offers another approach through its prefabbed theaters that are quick to specify and install. Take time now to make the connections that you and your clients will benefit from in the future.

6. Evoke a More Peaceful Environment

“Many consumers don’t have the luxury to spend much time at home and assessing how to make our spaces warmer, more inviting, and more functional,” says Cory Lovett, CEO of Nexus21. “Now they do, so now’s the time that dealers should help them explore technology that can improve the flow and functionality of their homes.”

Motorized screens and shades, for example, can contribute to a home’s atmosphere without conflicting with its design, plus offer a host of “stay-in-place” benefits. Two that will resonate with your clients: video always looks better in a dark room, and a home’s heating and cooling unit can operate more efficiently when the shades are down.

7. Host Educational Webinars and Remote Video Consultations

Can’t meet with your clients but want to give them the low-down on some practical home tech solutions like those mentioned above? Discuss the benefits and explore options with your clients in a friendly, conversational manner by hosting educational webinars.

You can schedule live, interactive webinars, or pre-record them so customers can access the information at their leisure. You’ll feel more connected and proactive with your efforts and so will they. Take it a step further of offering Facetime consultations. You can engage with customers virtually and discuss concerns and offer solutions.

8. Hone Your Skills with Online Training

A pain point for many integration firms is finding and retaining talent. Ongoing education and opportunities for self-improvement are proven methods for both. Even if you’re not looking to hire, at least encourage everyone on the team to use their time wisely by taking an online course. From the bookkeeper to the lead technician, they’ll be able to hone their skills, be on their A-game, and feel good about their jobs.

9. Do Some Heavy-Duty Housekeeping

When you’re focused on landing and finishing jobs, important parts of your business are often neglected. When was the last time you spruced up the showroom or organized your inventory? Maybe your business management software needs to be updated? Or perhaps you’d like to implement a completely new platform? Is your email database up to date? There are probably many housekeeping tasks you could tackle during the quarantine.

10. Train Your Next Pool of Talent

Kids home from school and college need something to do. Why not hire them to help out and learn the ropes of the home systems business. Give them simple jobs and expose them to the fun, interesting aspects of your work. You’ve been dealing with a talent shortage for years.

Take this time to inspire and mentor the next generation of home systems installers. At the same time, you can listen and learn from them. Key in on what motivates them, how they think, how they shop, what excites them. Understanding what makes this next-generation workforce tick can unlock a lot of potential avenues of opportunity for your business.

So, while the world may be in upheaval there are services, products, knowledge, and inspiration you can provide to your current clientele as well as prospects. As always, be there to help and share how you can support them, but most of all, be genuine. We’re all in this together but together, we’ll rise above and get past this.

The Home Theater Designer: Your Key to a Better Builder Relationship

Monday, April 20, 2020

By Lisa Slayman, principal of Slayman Cinema

Big or small, elaborate or basic, a home theater is a collection of many moving parts. When you’re involved in a new construction project, there are even more pieces to fit into the puzzle. The room dimensions and ceiling height, the structural composition of the space, HVAC, lighting and other mechanical and electrical requirements, space allocations for equipment, and the list goes on. Sure, as the AV integrator you may not be directly involved in the physical construction of a home theater, but your input is crucial to the overall objective of the project. You might not be building risers and prosceniums, but by all means, building and maintaining a strong, solid relationship with the builder is imperative, especially on luxury projects. 

Tech Advances Demand Closer Teamwork

Like any technology, AV components are in a constant state of improvement, refinement and advancement. An integrator must keep abreast of the evolution and convey its importance to builders, as what’s trending now could be out-of-date when it’s time to button up a large home theater project. This impacts the construction process, so make sure to stay in close communications with the builder during the entire project. The quicker you relay information to him, the quicker he can respond with a structure that best accommodates your technology.  

Your Builder Liaison

The builder/integrator relationship has been an ongoing topic of discussion for years. Words of wisdom have been shared by your peers as well as from tech-savvy builders: how to approach builders, how to communicate effectively with them, how to maintain a smooth workflow, how to modify your business practices accordingly. But have you ever thought to enlist the help of a home theater designer to facilitate outreach and engagement with the builder? They can be a valuable communications liaison, mediator, and production manager—all with the goal of creating a space that’s structurally sound, visually stunning, and exceptional in its AV performance. 

Strike While the Plans are Hot

Newly constructed home theaters are often given a certain allocated space within the home plans by an architect. The elements of this space, such as traffic flow and equipment placement, are typically not clearly defined yet, so it’s the perfect time for a home theater designer to collaborate with the builder, acoustician, and AV integrator. As the plans for the home theater are collectively formulated by the entire team, a set of detailed drawings and documents can be developed by the home theater designer as a framework for the builder to start putting costs together, and alleviating some of the pressure and demands of doing this yourself. Moreover, getting a head start on this phase of the project saves confusion and missteps later, which typically cause time and cost overruns—risking profitability and client satisfaction. 

This commitment to collaboration benefits the AV integrator/builder relationship immensely by providing a clear direction and a clearinghouse for the technology design and integration into the space. A home theater designer can provide a set of construction documents that serve as the road map for the builder to execute. This precludes many issues from cropping up later on in the process, resulting in a more streamlined workflow, reduction in change orders, and greater success for your company. Plus, when a home theater designer handles the detailed drawings and documents for the project, that’s less labor, time and money an AV integrator needs to spend.

For a recent project, which according to our design plans would feature an ornate, complex, “grid” on the ceiling integrating 26 custom-made Dolby Atmos speakers could have been a real nightmare for both the builder and the AV integrator. By approaching the project with both the design and technology in mind, our home theater design team was able to develop a recommended construction plan that the builder could then implement. Sharing our collective design and technology requirements with the builder allowed him to build unique allowances to achieve proper speaker spacing that met Dolby Atmos specifications. 

Similar situations occur when a large screen has been specified for the space. The room might have the dimensions to support the size of the screen, but when other elements are factored into the equation, such plans for a proscenium, the overall design of the space often needs to shift and shift quickly to maintain the quality of the visual presentation. By understanding the screen as a priority early on allows a home theater designer enough time to devise a solution. Thanks to input and modification of the original design concept from a home theater designer, a builder can proceed with his finish carpentry. 

One Happy Home Theater Family

In any working environment, having a neutral party take the lead can benefit everyone involved. A tech-savvy home theater designer can be this resource, facilitating a relationship between AV integrators and builders, while relieving you and your team of some of the burden, to ensure that all parties are on the same page and that the vision of the client is met in a timely, cost-effective manner. 

Author’s Bio


With more than 20 years designing luxury home theaters for high-end properties around the globe, plus an extensive understanding and appreciation for AV technology, Lisa Slayman of Slayman Cinema is a valuable resource for home systems integrators. From inception until the final touches, Slayman collaborates closely with all trades involved in the project to ensure a pleasing harmony between the design and technology. Slayman Cinema has won several prestigious awards, including the International Best Overall Home Theater from the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association. Lisa Slayman is also a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and the International Design Association. Learn more here:

Why Hire a Home Theater Designer?

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Home systems integrator Jason Voorhees recommends design firm Slayman Cinema to all his elite home theater clients. Here’s why: 

You know all the right and wrong ways to set up a home theater. You understand seating distances, screen dimensions, speaker layouts and all of the behind-the-scenes technology that makes a home theater tick. If you’re one of the fortunate few, you might even have your own in-house design team to ensure that all of those AV and control components blend in well with the architectural features and style of the room—all without compromising an ounce of performance. 

Most likely, though, you’re short on design resources. When you’re dealing with a high-caliber project, the decorative elements of a home theater MUST evoke elegance and sophistication. It might even need to convey a particular theme—hard to pull off if you don’t have the staff. And while you may have considered adding a designer to your employee roster, the fact is, these types of prestigious projects happen once in a blue moon. Having a dedicated designer on your payroll doesn’t make much financial sense. 

So, what’s the solution? As Jason Voorhees, owner and CEO of Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Cantara has discovered, collaborating with a specialty home theater design firm on a project-by-project basis can not only free up your time and resources, but bring your home theater projects to a whole new level. “We have never handled the interior design of a theater ourselves,” says Voorhees. “We always hire an independent firm, Slayman Cinema being our home theater designer of choice.” 

The decision to introduce his clients to Lisa Slayman for elite home theater projects was a no-brainer for Voorhees. “The higher the contract value of the theater, the more invested the client is in making sure all of the expensive AV gear they’ve purchased is done right. They want no compromise of performance and they want the room to be also drop-dead gorgeous—the type of place they want to visit frequently and include as part of their house tour when friends come to visit.”

According to Voorhees, Slayman Cinema brings a unique perspective to the table. Having practiced the art of home theater design for more than 20 years, Lisa Slayman has developed an extensive base of knowledge about AV technology and its relationship with interior design. Fabric, colors, textures, and furnishings are part of her repertoire, too, but it’s her passion for performance that positions her as a valuable asset to home systems integrators. “It’s rare for such a talented interior designer to be so collaborative and approach technology as being sacred,” Voorhees says. “We never hear phrases like ‘are you sure you can’t move that speaker or why does the screen have to be so big,’” from Lisa. “Instead we work as a team to develop unique, creative and functional solutions.”  

The result is a pleasing harmony of technology and design, where design is used as a tool to maximize the performance of the equipment while also making it look beautiful. Sometimes the technology is completely concealed, other times the technology is used as a decorative element to embellish the room design. But the overall objective is always the same: to exceed the client’s expectations.

Using Slayman Design as a resource has also enabled Cantara to dramatically reduce its engineering time and labor. One of Slayman Cinema’s claims to fame is the extreme detail of its home theater drawings. Every facet of the project is included in one comprehensive document—architecture, acoustical, and technology. “This saves valuable time for our engineering team and streamlines the process as we can all work off one set of drawings instead of three individual documents,” Voorhees explains. “Plus, Lisa manages the project completely from blueprints until the final touches, allowing us to focus on providing the best possible home theater systems for our clients.” The clients come out ahead, too, as Cantara is able to pass along the savings of its dramatically reduced engineering fee. “Thanks to Lisa and her team we were able to cut our bill for one particular client by as much as $10,000,” Voorhees says.  

Top 10 Home Theater Design Trends

Thursday, February 13, 2020

An inside look at what's hot in the world of home theater design from design expert Lisa Slayman.

Advances in technology have transformed just about every space of a home. Kitchens have become communication hubs, bathrooms have blossomed into spa-like retreats, outdoor areas have turned into popular entertainment destinations, and bedrooms have become private luxurious refuges. Technology has influenced not only how these spaces function but how they look. While kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and even the outdoors have been impacted by progressively smarter technology, it's the home theater that's undergone the most monumental change. Brighter, bigger displays; smaller, sleeker speakers, and completely new ways to consume and enjoy entertainment content, as well as socioeconomic forces, have altered the home theater landscape. In the business of home theater design for more than 20 years, Lisa Slayman, principal of Slayman Cinema, recognizes the shift, with each new year and with each new crop of technology influencing her designs and creations, making home theater one of the most dynamic areas of a household to decorate. So, what's in store for 2020? Bold colors or neutrals? Huge videowalls or smaller screens? Speakers that stand out or ones that hideaway in the walls? Which elements of design should be incorporated today to stay on trend? Here, Slayman identifies 10 of the biggest trends shaping home theater design:

Multi-Use Entertainment 

Historically, a home theater was designed as a room dedicated to one thing and one thing only: watching movies. While this particular approach is still practiced today, what's become increasingly common are home theaters that facilitate other forms of recreation. For many families, a multipurpose entertainment area makes a lot of sense. They may not have the free space or the funds to allocate a large chunk of their homes to movie viewing, so designing the room to accommodate other activities—watching sporting events, playing video games, listening to music, practicing yoga, you name it--offers more bang for their buck. As forms of entertainment become more and more multifaceted, so must the design of the room. Rather than outfit the space with stadium-style seating, for example, it's become more important to provide a large, open floor space for exercising and interactive gaming. Lighting, as well, needs to be more multifunctional—bright during sporting events, soft and serene for music listening, and completely dark for movie viewing. 

Large-Scale Lounge Seating

Coinciding with the multi-purpose entertainment movement is the growing popularity of lounge-style seating. Families are spending more time at home than ever before, so comfort is crucial … right down where they rest their backsides in a home theater. Individual seats that flip down certainly evoke the look and feel of a commercial cinema, but today it's more in vogue to complement these traditional home theater seats with large, plush, luxurious couches, ottomans, and sectionals similar to what you'd see in a lounge. Together, the traditional and modern seating styles are the perfect marriage of form and function.  

Modern Design Elements

A home theater should reflect your tastes and style. If that's traditional, by all means, go for it. Outfit the space with ornate, indulgent furnishings and architectural details. These days, however, contemporary, modern design is resonating with more homeowners, and that's carrying through to the home theater. Clean, subtle, and with softer lines, the contemporary design concept evokes a sense of comfort and peace—an environment that befits a multi-use entertainment space of which home theaters have become. Practicing yoga or hosting a Superbowl party might feel awkward in an opulent, richly appointed home theater, but completely appropriate in a modern media space. 

Light, Neutral Color Palettes

Complementing the contemporary home theater design trend is the application of lighter, more neutral color schemes. Paint, fabrics, and furnishings follow suit, giving home theater owners a space that feels open and airy rather than dark and cavernous.

Family-Friendly Atmosphere

The contemporary influences, the neutral tones, the accommodation of comfortable seats and other modes of entertainment—it's all led to the demise of the once-popular "man cave." Home theaters of yesteryear used to be the domain of the man in the family—where they escaped to unwind from a hard day at the office. Those days are over, and, today's home theater designs reflect this evolution. Environments that cater to the interests and tastes of everyone in the household is now deemed most desirable. 


Hobbies, past-times, and passions come to life in home theaters. Usually set apart from the rest of the home, the space offers an open canvas on which to paint the portrait of your life. It's a chance to let your imagination and creativity run wild. Love Westerns? Turn your theater into a "saloon.'  Into skydiving? Ask your home theater designer to paint puffy white clouds on the ceiling. A favorite vacation destination, a penchant for coin collecting—just like your interests, theme theaters never go out of style.  

Bigger screens, Brighter Images

As technology continues to advance, so does the form and function of a home theater. Screens, for example, have grown increasingly larger and projectors increasingly brighter. It's an ideal situation for home theaters, as the objective during movie viewing is to evoke a similar visual experience as that of a commercial cinema. Total immersion and engagement of the presentation are trending, and big screens are leading the charge. Concurrent with epic screen proportions is the application of screen materials to ensure the reproduction of bright, vivid images regardless of the room lighting.  Ambient light rejection screens are a blessing for multipurpose home theaters, as the image retains its brightness in all viewing situations. You can keep the lights on while hosting a Superbowl party or completely off during a movie and the image is always crisp, clear and bright. 

Colorful Lighting

Now that screens and projectors can perform optimally under any lighting conditions, home theater designs are incorporating more light fixtures than ever before—and not just standard white light, but colorful LED lighting that evokes mood and ambiance. With the addition of these lights, and an easy way to control them, the atmosphere transition from that of a relaxing getaway with blue lighting to an energetic disco with yellow and orange hues. When the Packers play, get the whole room into the spirit by washing the walls in a bright green hue; add splashes of red during the holidays.


LED Video Walls

LED video wall technology offers a new, exciting option to the traditional projector-screen setup. Video walls suit a more dynamic home theater environment, where one minute you're using the screen to watch YouTube videos, the next to gaze at a stunning piece of artwork, and the next to take in the scenery along a hilly Tuscan bike trail as you jump onto your connected stationary bike. Or, maybe you're like to do two things at once: view the landscape while peeking in on the news. Images on video walls can be scaled to any size or shape so that multiple pieces of content can be displayed at the same time.  

Decorative Acoustical Treatments

Lifelike, three-dimensional audio in home theater environments has taken off, thanks to technologies like Dolby Atmos. The processor and speakers do much of the work to create the effect, but the audio quality can be optimized further through the application of acoustical paneling and other types of treatments by a professional acoustician. To raise no visual conflict with the room design, acoustical treatments had been largely concealed in specially constructed wall cavities covered with acoustically transparent fabric. This approach if falling to the wayside, though, as acoustical treatments are being professionally engineered, fashioned, and installed as decorative elements within the room, exposed to be admired for their beauty rather than banished to behind the wall.  

Home Theater Design—A Critical Part of the Home Entertainment Experience

Monday, January 27, 2020

There’s a saying in the home theater business: You can have the best AV equipment in the world, but if the room environment isn’t right, the AV will never perform to its full potential. Creating a space where the audience becomes fully immersed in the movie action requires more than just a collection of great AV gear. It also takes a room comprised of expertly executed architectural and design elements, according to Lisa Slayman, owner of Laguna Beach, Calif-based Slayman Cinema. An AV integrator is the best person to install and configure the home theater equipment; a professional home theater designer is the expert at molding the room interior. When these two professionals work together, the line between form and function blurs, resulting in a seamless integration of beauty and brawn in a special space that evokes excitement, emotion and an escape from the rigors of everyday life. 

New Technologies, New Designs

“The state of the home cinema is changing as technology is allowing for bigger screens, better picture quality, and lifelike, three-dimensional sound,” remarks Slayman. “What has not changed is homeowners’ desires for a room that makes a great impression when you walk in. The interior of a home theater is still very important to people. We meet with clients before plans for the theater are underway to get a feel for how they envision their home theater to look and feel, their priorities, and their budget.” Room dimensions, seating layout, screen and projector locations, walkways, wall thickness, and architectural and decorative features are all fully explored and discussed. Slayman’s initial meetings with clients may begin with conversations about design, but they always end with an explanation of the importance of the AV integrator to the project. “There is a lot of technical information clients need to be educated about, so they understand their options, and I always encourage them to speak with the AV integrator early on in the planning phase,” Slayman says.

Meeting of the Minds

After individually gathering information from the client, Slayman’s design team, the AV integrator, and the acoustician meet to draft a plan that satisfies both the design and performance goals of the project. Undoubtedly, some adjustments and compromises will be made.  Based on the number of speakers, wall thickness, size and style of screen, and other technological recommendations, the interior begins to take shape—creating more space where necessary and modifying the room configuration based on sightlines, screen size, and speaker locations. “Although the interior is important, most of the collaboration between the designer, the AV integrator, and the acoustician focuses on the shell of the room,” Slayman says. “Collectively, we determine the best solutions for making speakers fit into wall cavities, acoustical elements fuse with the space, projectors conceal above ceilings, and when there’s a challenge, we solve it together. There’s always some give and take and no two projects are ever the same.” For example, on one recent project a low ceiling prohibited a typical ceiling-mount installation of a video projector. By putting their heads together, Slayman and the AV integrator devised a clever remedy that would enable the projector to be stowed above the ceiling, using a slim mirror assembly to project images onto the screen. A “general” interior designer might have steered clear of these structural modifications, but Slayman recognizes the importance of teamwork between tech and design experts to the overall home theater experience. “Defining problems early on means more options for the right solution; it’s my job as a home theater designer to collaborate with all the experts on the project to accommodate the AV systems, acoustics, and equipment as needed with minimal impact on the room design.” 

Bridging the Tech/Design Gap

A home theater is the culmination of many individual parts and pieces. The room construction, the interior design, and the AV gear each plays a critical role. Engaging everyone involved in a project to focus on these elements collectively rather than individually is Slayman’s mission on each and every job. “We consider each and every one of these important components as we design a theater,” she says. “If I didn’t work closely with the AV integrator and the acoustician to understand the technology they planned for the space, the design would ultimately suffer and so would the outcome of the project.”  As home theater technology continues to evolve, so must the room design, and Slayman is helping bridge that gap. 

Slayman Cinema featured in Laguna Beach Magazine

Sunday, January 12, 2014

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View the: Electronic Lifestyles 2013 (PDF)

Slayman Cinema featured in Digital

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

45-seat private home cinema redefines residential luxury

ATLANTA, GA – 8/31/2012 – Cantara of Los Angeles, CA, recently completed a massive 45-seat private cinema of such magnitude and quality that it raises the bar for private cinemas worldwide. The video system features a record-setting 18' wide Stewart Cinecurve paired with Digital Projection International’s award-winning TITAN Reference 1080p-3D projector. The audio system consists of a Genelec speaker array, which includes screen speakers usually found in the world's largest professional mixing studios. Ten high-powered surround speakers and sixteen 12" subwoofers complete the speaker package, all calibrated through a studio-grade QSC Signal Processor. 

No small project by any stretch of the imagination, this 8,000 square foot cinema addition dazzles the occupants and guests of the over 26,000 square foot California home. Originally conceived as an ordinary home theater, the scope of the project grew as initial discussions progressed between the client and Lisa Slayman, owner of interior design studio Slayman Cinema. Slayman, who specializes in high-end residential theaters, began to realize the client was looking for something remarkable, both in scale and in performance. Working with no direct specifications from the client, with the exception of a specific fabric that would need to be enlisted throughout the theater, Slayman began designing a space with the transition spaces, marquee and over all grandeur of a classic Hollywood-grade cinema. 

Slayman created a dramatic mezzanine level, two lobbies impeccably designed around the ‘golden age of cinema’ theme, and numerous visual punctuations throughout the massive space. There was no audio/video specialist involved in the initial stages of the project, so when it came time for acoustic consulting, Slayman turned to the client for initial suggestions. On the recommendation of one of the client’s family members, Cantara was brought in for initial discussions.

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Slayman Cinema Wins! Lady Luck Theater takes Best Overall Home Theater at the International CEDIA aw...

Monday, August 27, 2012


Each year CEDIA recognizes the best of the best in the residential electronic systems industry. 2012 was a year of innovation, creativity, and technological advancement. Manufacturers, residential electronic systems contractors, and CEDIA volunteers were recognized for their achievements and contributions to the association. On Saturday, September 10 awards were presented...  read more...