Crazy golf & parties

Winning two awards as well as achieving ‘highly commended’ in two other categories at this year’s CEDIA Awards, this media room is so much more than what it says on the tin. Amy Stoneham looks at what was involved in building this to meet the client’s demands and how it fits in with the rest of the home.

Media rooms have a broad definition and can be anything from a room with a TV and some speakers to a multi-purpose room packed full of AV for different uses. The beauty of a multi-use media room is that integrators can get creative with the design and functions of the room to meet the customer’s requirements.

With this whole home project, integrators, Homeplay, were able to do just that. Set in a remote part of the UK, this home underwent a full home integration with a focus on entertainment. The homeowner wanted his home to be a place where he can enjoy listening to music, watching movies, entertaining friends and family, and even playing golf.

While the full project incorporated the whole home and outdoor spaces, the media room was the most important part to fulfil the homeowner’s requirements. James Ratcliffe, the owner of Homeplay, explains: “He wanted a room to entertain his friends and family, encompassing a golf simulator, cinema, pool table and a sound system that is capable of being used for live music and DJ’ing.”  


Top of the priority list was speakers. Being a keen musician and having owned lots of hi-fi in the past, speakers were very important to him. “He has owned lots of high-end hi-fi over the years and was really into his sound, but he was aware that with a big room like that, you can’t just put a big pair of floorstanding speakers in and expect it to fill the room,” continues Ratcliffe. “He wanted to be able to play it loud with a roomful of people and for it still to sound great and not be distorting. Hi-fi floorstanding speakers are fine when you’re in the ideal listening position, two or three metres in front of the speakers, but if you’ve got a room that’s 20 metres long and you want it to feel like a nightclub, then you need the sort of speakers that you would find in a nightclub rather than a living room.”

Taking that into account, Homeplay took the homeowner to visit L-Acoustics Creations in London, UK to demo the residential speakers. “As soon as he heard them, he said, ‘this is exactly what I want’. It only took him about 30 seconds to make up his mind and he said it was on another level compared to speakers he had heard in the past.”

After choosing the speakers for the media room, outdoor areas and the rest of the house from L-Acoustics Creations, Homeplay began the design work. It soon became clear that with several zones of audio just in the media room, as well as other zones around the rest of the house and outside, a control system would be needed. Adamant that he didn’t want a control system due to a previous experience, the homeowner was set on controlling everything in his home through Sonos. He also already had a Lutron system throughout the home that had been installed during a previous phase of the five-year renovation project.

“He had several zones of audio all in one big room which just wasn’t going to work with Sonos in terms of delays and overall control.”

Homeplay invited him to their showroom to talk him through how the room would work and it soon became clear that Sonos wasn’t going to cut it. “It became clear he wanted several zones of audio and video in one big room which just wasn’t going to work with Sonos in terms of delays and overall control,” says Ratcliffe. “I told him he needed some sort of control system in order for this to work well, especially as he wanted a projector in there too.”

Ratcliffe then showed him their neat and tidy equipment racks and the various systems in their showroom and the homeowner agreed that a Control4 system was the right choice.

The next step was to begin the design process. Not only was Homeplay designing the system, but they also worked with the homeowner’s wife, who was the interior designer, to visualise what the room would look like. “We worked with them on the general layout of the room and how we were going to integrate all these speakers that the husband wanted but the wife wasn’t so keen on,” states Ratcliffe. “We built them models of the room in SketchUp and showed them around the room in 3D over Zoom as this was during the height of the pandemic. It also allowed us to try things in different positions to see where everything would fit best.”


As you can probably see from the photos of this house, interior design was important, and in keeping with the rustic theme of the property, the couple wanted a lot of wood and hard surfaces throughout the home. In the media room in particular, this presented an acoustic challenge to overcome.

“Acoustics were a big concern because we didn’t want to put all these crazy speakers in the room without thinking about how they would sound in a room made up almost entirely of acoustically reflective hard surfaces,” Ratcliffe points out. “They wanted wooden floors, wood cladded walls and a wooden ceiling as well.

“In the end, we convinced them to let us build a fabric ceiling with various acoustic treatments behind it. We hired in an acoustic consultant to help us model the room in a piece of software called ODEON, which allowed us to predict what the room was going to sound like in terms of RT levels, sound isolation and bass management, etc. We must have done well because when the engineer from L-Acoustics came to calibrate the room, he told us that he has calibrated thousands of systems all over the world but this was the best he’d ever heard.”

Crazy golf, DJ’ing & movies

As a golf fan, the homeowner wanted to incorporate a golf simulator into his media room. He recommended a company to use for the golf simulator but during the course of the design process, Homeplay realised that they were a lot more tuned in to what the homeowner wanted than the golf simulator company was, and that they would be better off designing and installing it themselves.

“The golf simulator company were more of a ‘one size fits all’ kind of company and if you wanted anything outside of that, they couldn’t do it,” says Ratcliffe. “We ended up doing it ourselves and building the system to better suit the client’s needs.”

The golf simulator is set up in the same place as the cinema, which are both covered with two different projectors. For the golf simulator, the integrator installed a short-throw projector with a special lens and a screen. For the cinema, they installed a Sony home cinema projector and a separate drop-down screen that drops in front of the golf simulator screen.

“Acoustics were a big concern… where the homeowners wanted to have hard surfaces everywhere.”

DJ decks were also required for this room to complete the nightclub feel. “We had a custom desk built to house the DJ decks,” says Ratcliffe. “We designed it and found someone to physically build it for us, and it looks great.”

Other AV in the room includes a picture frame TV, discreetly hidden in the wall. “A lot of picture frame TVs don’t really look like picture frames but this one did because we managed to build it into the wall,” Ratcliffe demonstrates. “Because the wall surfaces were clad in wood, we were able to make removable wooden panels to hide and expose the mechanism. With normal plaster board, you can’t do that. So that actually worked really well as they are able to have a thin, normal looking picture frame on the wall and you would never know it’s also a TV. It’s the coolest picture frame TV that we’ve ever done and always elicits the ‘wow’ response we’re constantly shooting for.”

Although the main initial project is complete, the work is still ongoing as the homeowner finds other things he wants to add. Enhancing the nightclub feel, Homeplay are currently planning to install a laser projector and misting/fog machine into the room in the coming months.

Entertaining outdoors

While the media room was the main focus for the project, when the client realised that he could use the L-Acoustics speakers outdoors, he was keen to extend the same incredible sound to his beautiful outdoor pool area, creating an amazing, immersive experience that’s somewhere between an English boutique music festival and a chilled Ibiza beach club.

“We installed a Samsung Terrace Outdoor TV with an L-Acoustics surround sound system,” says Ratcliffe. “Around the pool, we installed 13 channels of audio and eight subwoofers and it sounds insane! Given that you’re outside, it’s like being at a music festival.”

There are also various areas around the pool that have other sound systems, including a decking area with subwoofers hidden underneath. There is also another patio area and a pool house, each with their own L-Acoustics systems installed.

TV with a view

Throughout the main areas of the house, there are various surround sound systems installed to ensure music can be played throughout the home. One of the sitting rooms is used mainly to watch TV while overlooking the views of the countryside through the floor to ceiling windows around the room.

“Because they didn’t want anything permanent obscuring the views, they were keen to have a projector, so we got an Epson projector with a special lens to be short-throw but not ultra-short-throw, and we installed it into the coffee table,” Ratcliffe reveals. “We had to consider the amount of ambient light in there too as two of the walls of the room are windows, but the couple only tend to watch TV in there in the evenings, so it was fine. But just in case, we did use a very high brightness projector with 6,000 lumens as well as an ambient light rejecting screen.”


Keen to make their home feel as safe and comfortable as possible, a high-end CCTV system has been installed around the perimeter of the property.

“Around the pool, we installed 13 channels of audio and eight subwoofers and it sounds insane!”

Ratcliffe adds: “We used Avigilon cameras and VMS for their reliable video analytics and simple user interface. We connect that up to a remote guarding station so that when the system is armed and a person or vehicle is detected, it sends a live video feed through to the remote guarding station. They can then look and see what’s going on and make the intruder aware that they’ve been seen using some very loud horn speakers which tends to stop the break in from happening in the first place. Bad guys don’t want to get caught, so if you tell the intruder that they have been spotted and a security team and police are on their way, they usually get out of there pretty fast.”

Ongoing project

This project is still ongoing as the homeowner makes additions to the systems and his property.

“We’re still working on it now,” says Ratcliffe. “We have just added a gym to their system which features a big video wall in it. We’re also doing a whole house UPS at the moment, so that if there is a power cut, the homeowners won’t even notice. As well as the generator, there is a massive battery to run the entire house which is pretty unique.

“We’ve also started early design work on a holiday home that they’re building in southern Europe which looks to be every bit as spectacular as this one, so our team is really excited about seeing what we can do there to better this!”


Consisting of a lot of AV, control and programming, this was a big project and has been recognised at this year’s CEDIA EMEA Awards. The media room in particular, with a focus on the golf simulator, won Best Media Room in the EMEA region as well as Best Global Media Room.

It also got ‘Highly Commended’ status for Excellence in Innovation and Excellence in Documentation.


Tech Spec

Anthem 7.2 Pre-Amplifier / 5 Amplifier Channel AV Receivers with Dolby Atmos

Apple TVs

Aten 8-Way Intelligent PDU

AVPro Edge Cables

Avigilon CCTV System

Chief ConnexSys Video Wall Mounts

Cleerline Cables

Control4 CA-10 Automation Controller

Control4 DS2 Door Stations with Keypads

Control4 EA3 Entertainment & Automation Controller & Rack Mount Kit

Control4 EA5 Entertainment & Automation Controller

Control4 Neeo Remotes

Control4 OvrC Pro

Control4 T4 Series 8” Tabletop Touchscreens

Dell LED 49” Curved Monitor

Draytek Vigor 3910 Router

Epson EB-L1070U 3LCD Installation Projectors

Epson Wide-Throw Lens

Epson Ultra-Short-Throw Lens

Epson Projector Ceiling Mount

Focus SB Various Keypads, Sockets & Plates

Furman 10A Standard Power Conditioner

Future Automation PS40 Brackets

Future Automation Multi-Purpose In-Wall Box

Gallo Acoustics A’Diva SE Speakers Various Colours

Gallo Acoustics Micro/A’Diva Wall Mounts

Iiyama 27” LCD Touchscreen Monitor

IMG Stageline FGA-202 Balanced Stereo Line Transformers/Hum Destroyers

Innuos Zen Mk2

Kelsey Custom RCBO PDU

L-Acoustics High Power Compact 21” Subwoofers

L-Acoustics LA2Xi Amplified Controllers for Install

L-Acoustics LA4X CE Amplified Controllers

L-Acoustics Syva Speakers

L-Acoustics Syva Low Subwoofers

L-Acoustics Syva Subs

L-Acoustics Wall-Mounts for Syva

L-Acoustics X4i Speakers

L-Acoustics X8 Speakers

LG 55” Video Walls

Lutron HomeWorks QS

Lutron Sivoia QS Wires Roller Blinds

Middle Atlantic Rack

Neutrik Cable Connectors

Pakedge 8 Port PDUs

Pelaton Bike+, Guide & Tread

Penn Elcom Rack Equipment

Picture Frame TV 55” Art Frame TV

Pulse-Eight ProAudio 16 Audio Matrix

Pulse-Eight ProAudio 8 Elite Audio Matrix

Samsung 75” Terrace Outdoor TV

SANUS VLL5 Flat to Wall Brackets

Scandec In-Ceiling Brackets for L-Acoustics X4i Speakers

Screenline 284cm Wide Motorised Drop-Down Screen

Screenline Jago Tensioned 72” Screen

Sony 48” & 55” Master Series OLED TV with Acoustic Surface Speaker System

Sony Bravia 65” OLED 4K HDR Smart TV

Sony 4K UHD Blu-ray Player

Sony VPL-VW790ES Projector & Bracket

Storm Audio 16 Channel Immersive AV Processors

Triad In-Room Bronze Slimsub 700s

Triad LCR Speaker

Triad High Performance Amplifier for Triad Powersub

Triad Mounting Brackets

Triad 4-Zone Power Amplifier

Triad Single Zone High-Resolution Streaming Amplifiers

Ubiquiti Wireless Access Points

Various Ubiquiti Network Switches

Vogels TV Wall Mounts

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