Sarah Susanka

Most people who venture into the exotic world of Gramophone in Timonium, Md., probably say they’ve never seen anything like it. The 15,000-plus-square-foot space showcases four home theater scenarios at budgets from $15,000 to $150,000. Another section of the store features a five-room digital home that promotes lighting control, home automation, motorized shades and LCD TVs built into bathroom mirrors. Then there’s the standard retail setting, with TVs, receivers and speakers spread out along the wall. The store has told this three-part story since 1998, although the products and styles have changed along the way to keep up with changes in both home fashion

Gramophone, a specialty A/V retailer in the Baltimore area, has developed a new Design Center, which it calls “a home theater design and space planning service.” The company says it enables customers to “virtually build a home theater” using “tangible diagrams of their space, a virtual walk-through and photo rendering.” A grand opening event will be held on September 7 featuring keynote speaker Sarah Susanka, an architect and creator of the Not So Big House Theory.

Integrating with the masters of the house By Janet Pinkerton Cruise the online portfolios of award-winning architects and you'll find residential designs that look jarringly unlike the prize-winning home theaters or media rooms found in CEDIA circles. These residential designs often feature soaring, clean lines, huge windows that bring the outside in, massive stone fireplaces, a complete lack of visual clutter and a myriad of acoustically brutal surfaces. You might see a lone plasma display starkly placed over a mantle, with nary a speaker in sight. It makes you wonder how people who live in these houses watch movies with all that ambient light

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