Movie Night Done Right: Designing the Home Theatre
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Movie Night Done Right: Designing the Home Theatre

Already an over-the-top convenience, home cinemas should have the plushest seating, a stocked mini-bar and dark, moody colours.

By Jennifer Tzeses
Thu, Feb 3, 2022 12:35pmGrey Clock 4 min

There’s a lot to love about a media room. The epicentre of cozy, it’s a place where the whole family and their friends can curl up in the comfort of home.

“These spaces should be as inviting and stylish as your living room,” said Christine Gachot of Gachot Studios in New York. “A common impulse is to style home theatres after traditional cinema experiences, but these days even forward-thinking commercial theatres are working to make the vibe more residential,” she said.

For ideas on giving your media room a starring role in your home, follow these tips from the design pros.

Bring All the Bells and Whistles

“A home theatre is excessive by definition, so go all-in: a blanket for every seat, tons of pillows, drink tables, accessories throughout that provide an inviting sense of layering. Treat the room with the same care and investment of design that you do every other part of your home.

“In the spirit of great hospitality, every home theatre worth its salt has an amply-stocked minibar including beverage options and snacks.

“For a media room we designed for One Boerum Place in Brooklyn, we created a lounge area with the home theatre room separated by a partition. Oversized seats create a lounging experience that you can melt into for hours. Another luxe option is a succession of sofas arranged in rows like movie seats—that kind of installation provokes a sense of wonder because it’s something you could never see in a public movie theatre. A great trick is to employ upholstered panelling on the walls. It absorbs a ton of sound and feels extremely luxe when you choose the right fabric.

— Christine Gachot of Gachot Studios in New York

Make It Functional

“If you are doing a sectional, go for a deeper seat than usual, extra down and fluffy cushions, and lots of soft throw pillows. Leather motorized chairs are great or lounge chairs that recline or swivel as well.

“High-performance fabrics allow you to put your feet up and enjoy snacks and drinks without any worry. I love including an ottoman that can be pushed against the sofa for extra leg room, and drink tables are great as well.

“Having a great sound system can make a big difference in the overall experience. At the very least, having a Sonos bar can enhance the centre speaker for the voices, but when you are able to do the whole speaker system it’s so much fun.

“The No. 1 rule for the lighting is to be dimmable, it is very important. I love being able to have split circuits to enjoy just having a few lights on while watching a movie. Using a control system is great, and you can program your perfect lighting scenes to enjoy them as you watch a movie.”

Oversized floor pillows add a whimsical touch to a media room designed by Gonzalo Bueno.
Stephen Karlisch — Gonzalo Bueno, architect, interior designer and co-founder of Ten Plus Three in Dallas.

Set the Mood  

“Creating a moody aesthetic by adding darker tones on the walls, ceiling and furniture is key. Also incorporating texture through those pieces adds layers of definition and is great for acoustics.

“Whether you need to store an AV cooler or other electrical equipment, designing a custom-built cabinet for your space is a great solution. Alternatively, there are some great prefabricated media cabinets that can do the trick and look great.

“Comfortable, deeper furniture allows for snuggling up with friends and family. Think oversized sofas, chaise lounges, chairs and ottomans. I like to vary the furniture row by row for increased circulation and added visual space and work with the largest pieces in the back and the smallest in the front.

“We love working with acoustic panels when designing a theatre. There are so many options depending on the design of the room, some of my favourites are suede wall coverings, wood wall panels and textured felt.

“Consider a layered approach when it comes to lighting. Adding in different light sources across different levels to create ambience and interest in a room.”

Punchy hues and soft seating make this media room designed by Marina Hanisch a space to settle into. Marina Hanisch Interiors — Marina Hanisch of Marina Hanisch Interiors in New York 


Make It Cozy 

“Instead of using your average movie theatre seating, we prefer to go with something really stylish. Cineak makes really cool movie theatre seating. Or we’ll custom make wide chaises and sofas where people can put their feet up and just relax. We always go with stadium-style seating, whether it be high back or not. We also suggest getting something that reclines.

“Often, we’ll use carpet that has some kind of a mylar thread in it so it’s sparkly. We also prefer to use dark colours because it’s better for viewing movies. When it comes to acoustical padding, which is helpful for absorbing sound, we like to design/use cool shapes rather than using typical moulding. We’ll create different square shapes that kind of fit together like a puzzle

“Side tables for you to keep your popcorn, drinks, etcetera, as well as a candy or snack bar either right outside of or inside the theatre are other musts.

“Although statement lighting and chandeliers are beautiful, we don’t recommend them for a movie room, as you don’t want anything to distract your eyes from the movie. Be sure to have lighting that can be completely dimmed.

Cozy daybeds function as theatre seating in this home theatre designed by Michelle Gerson. Patrick Cline

— Michelle Gerson of Michelle Gerson Interiors in New York

Reprinted by permission of Mansion Global. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: February 2, 2022.


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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Electric Cars and Driving Range: Here’s What to Know

How far can an electric car really go on a full charge? What can you do to make it go farther? We answer these and other questions that EV buyers might ask.

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Wed, Nov 29, 2023 7 min

Many people considering an electric vehicle are turned off by their prices or the paucity of public charging stations. But the biggest roadblock often is “range anxiety”—the fear of getting stuck on a desolate road with a dead battery.

All EVs carry window stickers stating how far they should go on a full charge. Yet these range estimates—overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency and touted in carmakers’ ads—can be wrong in either direction: either overstating or understating the distance that can be driven, sometimes by 25% or more.

How can that be? Below are questions and answers about how driving ranges are calculated, what factors affect the range, and things EV owners can do to go farther on a charge.

How far will an electric vehicle go on a full battery?

The distance, according to EPA testing, ranges from 516 miles for the 2023 Lucid Air Grand Touring with 19-inch wheels to 100 miles for the 2023 Mazda MX-30.

Most EVs are in the 200-to-300-mile range. While that is less than the distance that many gasoline-engine cars can go on a full tank, it makes them suitable for most people’s daily driving and medium-size trips. Yet it can complicate longer journeys, especially since public chargers can be far apart, occupied or out of service. Plus, it takes many times longer to charge an EV than to fill a tank with gas.

How accurate are the EPA range estimates?

Testing by Car and Driver magazine found that few vehicles go as far as the EPA stickers say. On average, the distance was 12.5% shorter, according to the peer-reviewed study distributed by SAE International, formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers.

In some cases, the estimates were further off: The driving range of Teslas fell below their EPA estimate by 26% on average, the greatest shortfall of any EV brand the magazine tested. Separately, federal prosecutors have sought information about the driving range of Teslas, The Wall Street Journal reported. Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The study also said Ford’s F-150 Lightning pickup truck went 230 miles compared with the EPA’s 300-mile estimate, while the Chevrolet Bolt EV went 220 miles versus the EPA’s 259.

A GM spokesman said that “actual range may vary based on several factors, including things like temperature, terrain/road type, battery age, loading, use and maintenance.” Ford said in a statement that “the EPA [figure] is a standard. Real-world range is affected by many factors, including driving style, weather, temperature and if the battery has been preconditioned.”

Meanwhile, testing by the car-shopping site Edmunds found that most vehicles beat their EPA estimates. It said the Ford Lightning went 332 miles on a charge, while the Chevy Bolt went 265 miles.

That is confusing. How can the test results vary so much?

Driving range depends largely on the mixture of highway and city roads used for testing. Unlike gasoline-powered cars, EVs are more efficient in stop-and-go driving because slowing down recharges their batteries through a process called regenerative braking. Conversely, traveling at a high speed can eat up a battery’s power faster, while many gas-engine cars meet or exceed their EPA highway miles-per-gallon figure.

What types of driving situations do the various tests use?

Car and Driver uses only highway driving to see how far an EV will go at a steady 75 mph before running out of juice. Edmunds uses a mix of 60% city driving and 40% highway. The EPA test, performed on a treadmill, simulates a mixture of 55% highway driving and 45% city streets.

What’s the reasoning behind the different testing methods?

Edmunds believes the high proportion of city driving it uses is more representative of typical EV owners, says Jonathan Elfalan, Edmunds’s director of vehicle testing. “Most of the driving [in an EV] isn’t going to be road-tripping but driving around town,” he says.

Car and Driver, conversely, says its all-highway testing is deliberately more taxing than the EPA method. High-speed interstate driving “really isn’t covered by the EPA’s methodology,” says Dave VanderWerp, the magazine’s testing director. “Even for people driving modest highway commutes, we think they’d want to know that their car could get 20%-30% less range than stated on the window sticker.”

What does the EPA say about the accuracy of its range figures?

The agency declined to make a representative available to comment, but said in a statement: “Just like there are variations in EPA’s fuel-economy label [for gas-engine cars] and people’s actual experience on the road for a given make and model of cars/SUVs, BEV [battery electric vehicle] range can exceed or fall short of the label value.”

What should an EV shopper do with these contradictory range estimates?

Pick the one based on the testing method that you think matches how you generally will drive, highway versus city. When shopping for a car, be sure to compare apples to apples—don’t, for instance, compare the EPA range estimate for one vehicle with the Edmunds one for another. And view all these figures with skepticism. The estimates are just that.

Since range is so important to many EV buyers, why don’t carmakers simply add more batteries to provide greater driving distance?

Batteries are heavy and are the most expensive component in an EV, making up some 30% of the overall vehicle cost. Adding more could cut into a vehicle’s profit margin while the added weight means yet more battery power would be used to move the car.

But battery costs have declined over the past 10 years and are expected to continue to fall, while new battery technologies likely will increase their storage capacity. Already, some of the newest EV models can store more power at similar sticker prices to older ones.

What can an EV owner do to increase driving range?

The easiest thing is to slow down. High speeds eat up battery life faster. Traveling at 80 miles an hour instead of 65 can cut the driving range by 17%, according to testing by Geotab, a Canadian transportation-data company. And though a primal appeal of EVs is their zippy takeoff, hard acceleration depletes a battery much quicker than gentle acceleration.

Does cold weather lower the driving range?

It does, and sometimes by a great amount. The batteries are used to heat the car’s interior—there is no engine creating heat as a byproduct as in a gasoline car. And many EVs also use electricity to heat the batteries themselves, since cold can deteriorate the chemical reaction that produces power.

Testing by Consumer Reports found that driving in 15- to-20-degrees Fahrenheit weather at 70 mph can reduce range by about 25% compared to similar-speed driving in 65 degrees.

A series of short cold-weather trips degraded the range even more. Consumer Reports drove two EVs 40 miles each in 20-degree air, then cooled them off before starting again on another 40-mile drive. The cold car interiors were warmed by the heater at the start of each of three such drives. The result: range dropped by about 50%.

Does air conditioning degrade range?

Testing by Consumer Reports and others has found that using the AC has a much lower impact on battery range than cold weather, though that effect seems to increase in heat above 85 degrees.

I don’t want to freeze or bake in my car to get more mileage. What can I do?

“Precondition” your EV before driving off, says Alex Knizek, manager of automotive testing and insights at Consumer Reports. In other words, chill or heat it while it is still plugged in to a charger at home or work rather than using battery power on the road to do so. In the winter, turn on the seat heaters, which many EVs have, so you be comfortable even if you keep the cabin temperature lower. In the summer, try to park in the shade.

What about the impact from driving in a mountainous area?

Going up hills takes more power, so yes, it drains the battery faster, though EVs have an advantage over gas vehicles in that braking on the downside of hills returns juice to the batteries with regenerative braking.

Are there other factors that can affect range?

Tires play a role. Beefy all-terrain tires can eat up more electricity than standard ones, as can larger-diameter ones. And underinflated tires create more rolling resistance, and so help drain the batteries.

Most EVs give the remaining driving range on a dashboard screen. Are these projections accurate?

The meters are supposed to take into account your speed, outside temperature and other factors to keep you apprised in real time of how much farther you can travel. But EV owners and car-magazine testers complain that these “distance to empty” gauges can suddenly drop precipitously if you go from urban driving to a high-speed highway, or enter mountainous territory.

So be careful about overly relying on these gauges and take advantage of opportunities to top off your battery during a multihour trip. These stops could be as short as 10 or 15 minutes during a bathroom or coffee break, if you can find a high-powered DC charger.

Before embarking on a long trip, what should an EV owner do?

Fully charge the car at home before departing. This sounds obvious but can be controversial, since many experts say that routinely charging past 80% of a battery’s capacity can shorten its life. But they also say that charging to 100% occasionally won’t do damage. Moreover, plan your charging stops in advance to ease the I-might-run-out panic.

So battery life is an issue with EVs, just as with smartphones?

Yes, an EV battery’s ability to fully charge will degrade with use and age, likely leading to shorter driving range. Living in a hot area also plays a role. The federal government requires an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on EV batteries for serious failure, while some EV makers go further and cover degradation of charging capacity. Replacing a bad battery costs many thousands of dollars.

What tools are available to map out charging stations?

Your EV likely provides software on the navigation screen as well as a phone app that show charging stations. Google and Apple maps provide a similar service, as do apps and websites of charging-station networks.

But always have a backup stop in mind—you might arrive at a charging station and find that cars are lined up waiting or that some of the chargers are broken. Damaged or dysfunctional chargers have been a continuing issue for the industry.

Any more tips?

Be sure to carry a portable charger with you—as a last resort you could plug it into any 120-volt outlet to get a dribble of juice.


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Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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