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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.