It's March Madness, and that means televisions across the Bluegrass State are tuned to basketball. Some people are low-key about their entertainment setups, but others invest heavily in making sure their home entertainment system is professional.
The Herald-Leader recently spoke to three area residents who have spent plenty of time and money to make their homes into entertainment hubs.
Partying at the Cats' lair
Tim Smith's first party in his basement-turned-entertainment area couldn't have come at a worse time.
The Wildcats fan and his wife moved into their new home on the Tuesday before the UK men's team played Connecticut in last year's Final Four.
"Of course, we lost that game," Smith said. "I have a couple of friends who joked they were never coming back to my house."
But the array of cool electronics would change the mind of even the most superstitious UK fan. A projector with a 120-inch screen — yes, that's 10 feet — and surround sound. Check. Apple TV. Check. Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii video game consoles. Check, check and check.
"I wanted to go for the 150-inch screen, but my wife talked me out of that," said Smith, who works in medical billing.
The electronics are the highlight of a wide-open basement that includes a table for eating and playing cards, a small kitchenette, a couch and four theater-style chairs. There's also a 46-inch Samsung television in a corner.
"It's been a great place to entertain people and watch UK play," Smith said.
And controlling all the devices is a snap with the system that Lexington firm Barney Miller's installed.
"It's a home automation system that controls everything, and I can control it from my iPad or iPhone," Smith said. "That feature is really nice."
Donny Allan, a Barney Miller's sales consultant who worked with Smith, said the easy controls are a highlight of the room.
"It's a really cool multi-purpose system," Allan said.
All the cables are concealed but accessible underneath the basement stairs. Smith planned that out with Barney Miller's.
In total, Smith estimated that he spent less than $10,000 on the electronics. He already owned some items and did some of the work himself.
"I was a media major and went to Asbury," he said. "I guess I'm a little bit addicted to technology."
Family room for movies
When Shelly Ross and her husband, Terence, began building a house two years ago, they discussed their entertainment goals from the start.
"We didn't want our theater room to be in the basement, because we thought we wouldn't use it as much," Shelly Ross said.
As the cardiologist and the stay-at-home mom designed their new home with Jimmy Nash Homes, they knew they wanted the room to be attractive and accessible to them and their children.
"Our goal for that room was solely to have a very comfortable, warm, cozy TV room that was equipped when we wanted to do movies," she said.
The couple turned to Mark Profitt and Chris Greene, co-owners of Audio/Video Interior Design, or AVID, of Lexington.
AVID, which has been in business more than two decades, installed a 125-inch Sony projector system with 7.1-speaker surround sound, all flushed into custom cabinets, Profitt said.
The media system cost about $20,000, Profitt said.
The room is accented by lit columns, and the cabling for the components is accessible via a closet in the basement.
A touch-screen remote automates everything for the family, including the lighting.
"It really makes a room like that, that could be very complicated, into something very user-friendly," Profitt said.
Florida in the Bluegrass State
When Rich Ord was building a pool house a few years ago, he was thinking of a resort-style look.
"We were going for an open feel. ... The custom-made doors and windows all open up 100 percent," he said. "It's an indoor/outdoor room in the summer, and then we close it up at night.
"You feel like you're someplace in Florida."
Inside the open plan is a 65-inch television, video game systems and a surround sound setup with "numerous, numerous" zones to customize where music can be heard, he said.
"Mostly it's used for social gatherings," said Ord, who owns iEntry, an online business-to-business publisher. "Occasionally, we've had fund-raisers."
He estimated that the electronics for the setup cost $60,000 to $80,000. They were installed by AVID.
"It's an architectural system, meaning it's all built in," Profitt said. "There is lots of glass and other areas where you don't want the speakers setting out.
"It's really cool."