Tag Archives: miami beach

Five Things Every Home Theater Needs

Even visible speakers can be incorporated into your home decor.

Home theaters are becoming more popular as home theater technology gets better and better. Things like 3D televisions, 7.1 sound systems, and crisp video playback…a well-built home theater can be like having a private screening room. That said, though, there are things you need and things you don’t for your home theater, and what they are might surprise you.

Location, Location, Location
The first and most important step is deciding where everything will go. For example, placing your television behind a window will both block the sun in a room and draw undue attention to it, making it hard to watch and distracting. Putting it on a wall opposite the windows may make it difficult to watch during the day. Before buying and installing, do some measuring and thinking; properly placing an integrating your home theater into your home will mean fewer arguments and a happier home.

A Well-Built Amplifier With the Proper Wattage
The foundation of every home theater system is the amplifier. To understand why, you need to understand how speakers work. Essentially, all speakers really do is push air at certain frequencies that the electricity flowing in tells them to push at; but, the more air you want to push, and the more energetic the frequencies, the harder it is to push. An amplifier gives your speakers just the right amount of power; overpowering might trash the speakers, and underpowering can result in distortion. Pair your amp with your speakers carefully, and your theater will sound that much better.

Hiding Places
It’s very rare that you want your home theater to dominate the room, but if you put a gigantic television and thumping sound system into your living room, it’ll draw attention even if you don’t turn it on. It doesn’t help that many systems are designed to look cool, not blend into your home décor. Look into touches like home automation that tucks screens and speakers away, or building a cabinet into the wall that lets you keep your living room as a multipurpose space.

This might be a bit of overkill.

Proper Speaker Placement
Getting perfect sound requires placing your speakers properly. There’s a specific place in each room where the speakers and the acoustics align to create a perfect listening spot. It may not always be ideal to create this, but where possible, you should try to do so. Beyond that, think about how the space will be used; will you and your friends be watching and discussing TV shows and sports games? Will you be sitting in appreciative silence watching a movie? Place your speakers for the best effect to get the most out of your system.

Hidden Cables
Unfortunately, making all home theater technology wireless is a work in progress; there aren’t really any solutions at the moment that rival their wired cousins. That means you’ll need to choose wires and cables carefully, and also look for solutions to hide them. One popular method of organizing and tucking cables away is to thread them through the walls; that way, you have fully wired speakers, but also flawless home décor. If that’s not an option, look for cables that can be painted over, or consider covering them with electrical cord covers; there are quite a few available at your local hardware store.

Whichever methods you choose, remember that you can have a home theater in your home without it dominating, and a well-designed theater makes a home that much better. Happy shopping!

Photo credits: Viet Hoang,


The 4 Most Unique Fabrics That Work

The right fabrics make all the difference.

Miami is a beautiful city, but it can be a tricky one when it comes to home décor. The heat and humidity can make finding the right fabrics for your home a tough choice. But have no fear; there are fabrics that work with the weather, and will give your home that luxurious feel. Here’s what works for your Miami home.

Yes, cotton; it’s not just for your clothes and your sheets, it’s also for upholstery. Cotton is ideal because it can fit into any budget, be dyed to fit any design scheme, and best of all, it breathes. In a climate such as Miami, your home furniture needs to use breathable upholstery in order to be comfortable; otherwise, you get that awkward, sticky feeling that we’re a little too familiar with thanks to visiting Grandma on a hot day. That said, get upholstery with a high thread count for a soft, luxe feeling, and use it for furniture that sees moderate use or less.

Hemp has, for far too long, been the province of crunchy-granola types and burnouts. It’s time to take this fabric back and use it where it belongs as the luxurious natural fiber of choice for your furniture. Hemp is not only breathable and soft, it can take quite a lot of abuse. Hemp fibers are tougher than even the brattiest child or the most ill-behaved pet. Like cotton, it takes to dyes and patterns extremely well. Use hemp for furniture that sees a lot of use; it won’t wear out and will give you plenty of time.

If you want comfort and breathability, linen is going to be your fabric of choice. Remember, true linen is made from fibers from the flax plant; any other kind of “linen” is not true linen. It’s referred to as such largely thanks to the weaving method used, but won’t offer the same freshness. Linen is actually best used not for upholstery but for curtains, pillows, and other accents. It wrinkles and stains more easily than some fabrics. It can also take some of the humidity out of the air because it absorbs liquids well, which is just another reason to keep it out of the reach of red wines and sodas.


Leather has always meant luxury.

Finally, there’s the classic upholstery choice of leather. It may seem odd to say that leather is the best choice for a humid, warm climate like Miami, but it does have a few advantages. First of all, if you air-condition your home, leather releases its heat quickly and effectively, making your leather furniture cool and comfortable to the touch. Secondly, well treated leather can withstand a lot of damage and brush off spills and accidents without staining. Finally, it’s easy to clean; you can buy wipes from leather furniture stores that can easily clean the sofa. Of course, it’s luxurious; leather is considered the best kind of upholstery for a reason.

There are other fabrics, but these are the best you’ll find for home décor in the Miami area. Factor them into your design and you’ll find they give you the pop your home needs.

Photo credits: The Miami Story, stewf


How to Integrate Home Design and Technology

Taste and forethought lets you put speakers anywhere.

If you want the very best in speakers mixed with the highest end of home design, it’s going to take some work. But don’t despair. You don’t have to choose between your Roche Bobois seating and your sleek, stylish speakers. There are all sorts of options to bring your taste for the best in both together without it clashing.

Hide Them In Plain Sight
One of the simplest methods to have your speakers fit in with your décor is to blend their designs. For example, you might place your front facing speakers in a fresco or wall design that’s patterned around your speaker’s baffles, or you might simply have a contractor create some nooks on either side of your flat screen or your stereo so the speakers recess into the wall and only draw attention when you want them to. You can even build screens or shutters across these alcoves so, when not in use, your speakers are protected.

This gives you an added advantage of being able to tuck wires into areas specifically designed for them, letting you access them when needed and hide them when not. It will depend, however, on whether you can carve out a section of the wall; speak to a contractor about whether this is possible. Also, you’ll need to place your speakers carefully to avoid acoustics problems.

Create a Specific Environment
Another way, especially if you have room, to blend things is to create a specific environment where your audio equipment helps to dictate the design. This has its advantages; you can construct a more discreet sound system for the larger house to entertain guests and for day-to-day use, and even tie it to your equipment so you have total control of the playlist during parties. When you truly want to enjoy your music, you have an oasis of sound built specifically for your gear with better acoustics, soundproofing, and defense against power surges and other threats to your equipment. 

You will, however, need to speak with a contractor about how feasible this is in your home, and soundproofing is practically a must.

Hiding speakers can be done in walls, furniture, even floors and ceilings.

Another method is automation. Speakers, monitors, and other audio-visual gear can be hidden behind discreet panels and screens that open at the click of a button. It’s especially useful if your taste in gear means most other methods won’t work, and we won’t pretend it’s not a lot of fun. It is, however, relatively expensive and depending on what’s possible may limit your choice of components.

Custom Work
The most direct option, of course, is to simply build your speakers to match your décor. Remember, it’s not the outside of the enclosure, per se, that matters, but the acoustics on the inside and the tolerances your drivers are engineered to that gives you those rich tones and perfect fidelity you want out of your music. That said, it is recommended that you contact the speaker manufacturer directly about custom enclosures; they may offer options you might not be aware of, and there may be engineering factors at play.

You may even be able, depending on the manufacturer, be able to paint or decorate the enclosures, but check carefully before deciding to do so. This may affect the sound.

No matter how you choose to pair your speakers and your décor, know that you don’t have to compromise on either. You can have the very best of both. You just have to think carefully as you integrate them.

Photo credits: Adomadom, mkosut


5 Tips from the Miami Home Show

Regional home shows are a brilliant place to find the best ideas in design. Different regions have different climates and concerns, and as a result, there’s a staggering variety of ideas. Here are just a few ideas from the recent Miami Home Show to consider.

Energy Efficiency Is King

Everyone at the show was looking for lights, appliances, and especially home electronics that sip power instead of guzzle it. Energy efficiency in areas such as home theater has made enormous strides, saving you on your power bill while putting better materials and designs front and center. Home theater devices in particular are a key focus because they’re improving so rapidly: Every year, flat screen TVs, speaker systems, and media players are re-engineered to offer more quality for less energy. Especially for homeowners who first built their systems with the rise of DVD and haven’t been keeping up with home theater since, it’s an effective way to make your house that much better.

Hard Floors Are An Easy Choice

Hard flooring is rapidly becoming more popular for several reasons. First of all, it’s environmentally conscious; most carpet made from renewable materials is more expensive and harder to make compared to flooring materials such as bamboo. New materials and designs are added constantly, given homeowners a wider choice. It’s health conscious: hard flooring doesn’t trap allergens, and it’s easier to clean, making it particularly popular among Miami’s elderly population. And it can improve home acoustics to a surprising degree, making it appealing to music lovers.

Home Theaters Are On The Rise

The rising prices of movie theaters, and the rising quality of home video and streaming options, are making home theaters more and more popular. In addition, large living rooms are making it possible to add more components, especially as components keep shrinking and more ideas are developed to place speakers and monitors in just the right position. Even a high-end system will save you a lot of money in the long run as ticket prices keep going up, and getting a theater grade experience is easier, and cheaper, than ever.

Smaller Remodeling Is More Popular

Instead of completely rebuilding or adding onto your home, homeowners are increasingly doing smaller work, which is more budget-friendly and more time-conscious. Examples include automating a home theater system to fold into a wall, repainting a few rooms and adding flooring, and even adding different throw pillows to brighten a space.

Outdoors Is The Way To Go

Miami being Miami, it often has gorgeous weather, and as a result, home ideas are making the most of it. It helps that improving your outdoor spaces is often less of a remodeling commitment. Additions such as fire pits, energy efficient lighting, and outdoor audio systems not only add to your enjoyment of the home but add to its resale value as well.

These are just a few of the ideas you’ll find when it comes to home redesign. Whether you decide to automate your home theater, dig a fire pit for grilling burgers, or install hard flooring to help keep your home clean and filled with the sound of music, there are dozens of options to improve your Miami home.


5 Phenomenal Speakers

Finding good speakers is relatively easy these days. Better driver technology, enclosure design and advances in the study of acoustics mean that even mass-produced speakers have better sound than speakers even a few years ago. That doesn’t mean, however, that there isn’t still a desire to take it to the very, very top, like these five.

Organic Harmony from Shape Audio

Enjoy simple elegance.

The Organic Harmony from Shape Audio as inspired by organic design for the overall construction, as you might have guessed. In fact, as speakers, they’re fairly impressive. They can put out two channels of audio from the one housing, achieved largely through a two-inch tweeter and 5-inch mid firing away from each other, and an 8-inch woofer firing downwards. The baffle has to be specially 3D printed. It’s that elaborate.

If you want them, you’d better be prepared to pay. The bronze units were $44,000, the silver ran $440,000, and the 18K solid gold cost over $6 million. There was only one set of the gold speakers ever made.

Kharma Grand Enigma

Fit for a palace.

Kharma is well known for their expensive speakers, but those speakers are worth every penny. Or, at least, the individual who commissioned the Grand Enigma from them thought so. Carefully built to the highest standards, only one of these were ever made and they cost $1 million. Good thing they weren’t built out of solid gold!

Transmission Audio “Ultimate”

Choose a more modern system.

If $6 million or more is just a little too rich for your blood, we understand. If you’re on slightly more of a budget, you can reach out to Transmission Audio, widely considered one of the best speaker manufacturers on the planet. Based out of Sweden, the only way to get their products is to contact them. You can discuss the job, explain what you want, and they’ll happily build your speaker system to order.

Of course, this runs an average of $2 million, so you might want to be very precise about your acoustics. It’s pretty hard to get a refund.

Wisdom Audio’s Infinite Wisdom Grande

From modern to contemporary.

Unlike a lot of these speakers, the Infinite Wisdom Grande from Wisdom Audio isn’t built to show off you’ve got a lot of disposable income. No, these are workhorse speakers, designed specifically for enormous environments such as palaces, ballrooms, and other locations where events are held and some JBLs on stands just aren’t going to cut it. The whole system weighs two tons, and each speaker in the system has a total of twenty-four drivers.

It’s also cheap. Well, sort of. The whole set up will run you roughly $700,000, which, if you think about it, is a bit of a deal when you break it down per driver!

Backes And Muller BM 100

Why not make your speakers a piece of art?

The only speaker on here to have its own website, the look is driven entirely by getting the sound precisely correct, which is why this looks less like a speaker and more like modern art. But, hey, you can at least get a few for your home, at a relatively thrifty $630,000.

The great thing about these speakers is that design filters down. Eventually, these will be replaced by even more refined and technologically advanced speakers, as we move closer and closer to the ultimate goal: Perfect sound reproduction. Until then, maybe start saving.