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Home theaters are the new must-have for house buyers

This home in Sands Point with a luxe

This home in Sands Point with a luxe entertainment center is listed in February 2015 for $9.995 million.

If your invitation to Sunday night's Academy Awards presentation at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre has mysteriously gone missing, you might not mind terribly much watching on a state-of-the-art projection and sound system at your very own exclusive party.

For the sellers of the homes featured on these pages, these in-house theaters have been the setting for cozy confabs with family and friends.

As he has done year after year, Christian Lavoie says he plans to watch the Oscars with his family in the theater at the Shoreham home he is selling because the show has "so many cameras, so many microphones, you feel like you're right in the hall listening to the applause, listening to the music, the dancing and whatever production they put on. It's the best live program all year."

Though it's been a big hit on numerous occasions for gatherings large and small, the home theater also offers a welcome retreat for Danny Khazai.

"When I need to get away from everyone, I go in the theater," says Khazai, who built and designed the 2-year-old Sands Point home he is selling, complete with a 1950s-style 16-seat screening room, projector, surround sound and a 200-inch screen.

Citing a September 2013 Better Homes & Garden national survey of people in the market for homes with price tags of $1 million or higher, Tony Iaccio, president of the Long Island chapter of the Appraisal Institute, a professional association of real estate appraisers, notes that more than half said home theaters would be essential.

Calling the home theater "the swimming pool for the millennium," Lisa Jaeger of Douglas Elliman Real Estate says, "This is the big thing now, and they're becoming so much more affordable."

Unlike some other add-ons or renovations, a home theater, like a new kitchen, adds value to the house, says Jaeger, who installed one for her own Port Jefferson home for about $16,000 and anticipates it will add anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 in value.

The only downside, admits Jaeger: People tend to invite themselves over.

Here are a few homes with home theaters on the current market, in all price ranges.


30 Thompson Ave., $484,000

TAXES: $12,076

THE THEATER. The oversized and elegantly finished basement of this home includes a home theater system with a 73-inch LCD television with 3-D Bose Surround Sound with a subwoofer and seating for six but can accommodate 12. Listing agent Aideen Duignan says the theater gets two thumbs up from each of the homeowner's teenage daughters and their friends. "This is a great and roomy space where everybody gathers during holidays and throughout the year," she says.

OTHER FEATURES. The four-bedroom, two-bath raised-ranch on a 60-by-102-foot lot features a maple kitchen, new roof and sprinkler and alarm systems.

LISTING AGENT Aideen Duignan, Charles Rutenberg Realty, 516-244-9985


6 Brockton Ct., $699,000

TAXES: $15,409

THE THEATER: The living room contains a theater with blackout shades to keep out any light as well as five speakers, nine seats, a ceiling-mounted projector and a 110-inch high-definition screen that rolls up out of sight when the theater is not in use. Nothing beats watching the Academy Awards at his home, says owner Christian Lavoie. "You feel like you're right in the auditorium because all the sound surrounds you, as if you were sitting there," he says.

OTHER FEATURES: The Postmodern home is 4,600 square feet on a cul-de-sac with five bedrooms, 3½ baths and a custom eat-in kitchen with high-end appliances and cherry cabinets. With permits, a mother-daughter suite can become an accessory apartment.

LISTING AGENT: Lisa Jaegar, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 631-828-9630


121 Northwest Path, $6.295 million

TAXES: To be determined

THE THEATER: This brand-new home comes with an unusual kind of theater -- it's outdoors in a stone courtyard on the nearly 3.5-acre property. Outfitted with a projection system and a 13-by-30-foot wall to serve as the screen, the space is not yet furnished. People today want to merge the indoors with the outdoors and live seamlessly between the two modes, says listing agent Mala Sander. "Having this theater on the outside, rather than in a dark and cold space, really helps that happen," she says. "It's almost a throwback to the days of drive-in movies. And, who didn't think that was fun?" Still, there also is a room designed for a 24-by-18.5-foot theater next to the wine cellar.

OTHER FEATURES: This 8,500-square-foot eco-friendly, energy-efficient modern barn has three levels of living space with floor-to-ceiling windows. Designed to afford natural lighting year round and maximize shading to limit excessive sun in summer, the home has a high-efficiency gas boiler that produces 98 percent of the energy it consumes and an air-conditioning system with multistage motors that yield higher energy savings. The open floor plan features a custom kitchen, great room, six bedrooms, 7½ bathrooms, a wellness/spa room, gym and gunite pool with lap lane.

LISTING AGENT: Mala Sander, The Corcoran Group, 917-902-7654


5 Longwood Rd., $9.995 million

TAXES: $131,644

THE THEATER: The basement includes a plush 16-seat home theater, with a 200-inch screen, projector and surround sound. Between the theater and game room, which includes Ping-Pong, a poker table and an 18-foot mahogany bar, the basement has been the setting for many a party, says owner Danny Khazai. "We have a lot of fun down there."

OTHER FEATURES: This 2-year-old, 17,500-square-foot estate with six bedrooms and 8½ baths is on two gated acres. It features 30-foot ceilings, a marble staircase, a kitchen with two Sub-Zero refrigerators and freezers, professional grade stove and separate wine and cool drink refrigerators, and a mosaic saltwater pool.

LISTING AGENT: Andrea Jablow, Shawn Elliott Luxury Homes & Estates, 516-524-7743


291 Great Plains Rd., $16.250 million

TAXES: To be determined

THE THEATER: The lower level includes a movie theater with recessed lighting, dark walls and carpeting and cushy stadium seating for 14, extensive soundproofing and an audiovisual system integrated with the home's automated electronic system. The space is as close to being inside a movie theater as you can get, says listing agent Michael Cantwell.

OTHER FEATURES: This new 12,000-square-foot custom-built nine-bedroom, 12½-bath home is on 1.8 acres. It features a wood-paneled library, 1,200-square-foot master suite, two second-floor kitchenettes (one in the private suite) and a second kitchen. There are also guest or staff quarters, a lounge, a gym and a wine bar as well as a heated pool, pool house, hot tub and permits for tennis.

LISTING AGENTS: Zachary Vichinsky (631-766-0945) and Cody Vichinsky, Bespoke Real Estate

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