Sound & Vision in Your Tiny Home or Apartment - Rapallo | AV Design & Installation
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Let’s face it, times are changing. As cities grow and populations increase the ideal home will no longer be the “kiwi quarter acre dream” … and its changing fast.

Council regulations changed a few years back that allow multi-level development in residential areas. So more smaller places on a smaller plot. When we sold our last home in central Auckland, we could have turned that into three apartments on two levels. It was snapped up at auction quickly, for obvious reasons.

So, as the size of the NZ Casa is getting smaller, this brings other factors into place with space saving. No more is there the space for the LARGE freestanding speakers and a large AV cabinet. More and more these spaces need hidden systems or systems that FIT with the surroundings and blend in.

With that in mind, we’d like to share some ideas we have been thinking about to make sounds or vision work in your apartment or small space. Ideas that allow you to relax to some dang good tunes or movies in a smaller space.

HiFi or Home Theatre needn’t be big and ugly.

Part of the project we love is working with designers on the aesthetics of products and how they work with the room. We have over 4.5k of product lines to choose from, so there will always be something that will work with your room, office or retail space.

VISION | Movies & Streaming Content

This big killer on these projects is the space required. But is it? Some simple concepts and pre-work before the project have wall panels and you could have one heck of a great hidden system or a system that works in with your design.

A pull-down projector screen paired with a high-definition projector is an easy space-saving replacement for your television. Not only does the screen take up a fraction of the space, it weighs almost nothing (esp. if you are thinking tiny house on wheels). Another cracking space saving idea – if placed in front of a large window, the projector screen can serve as a blind at night (not acoustic transparent of course that could be mildly embarrassing). This provides some privacy, while allowing a tiny house to have big, space-opening windows.



If you have a nice flat roof, why not use that to project the imagery while you lounge on the bed (what a relaxed way to watch a move) . Or perhaps there is a wall that could be used instead if you prefer the sitting up approach to watching movies.


We’d recommend the EPSON EF-100 laser projector, just for its absolute portability. Not using it, then pop is away in a draw or cupboard or under the bed. Need to use it, then it can be setup in a few minute’s.

Couple this with an AudioPro C10 or the epic Drumfire, add a Chromecast and you have access via your mobile network to any streaming or online movie or programme choice – with some pretty good sound.

When you have finished, pop the projector away and then use the Drumfire or C10 for your music requirements via their app and the usual music platforms.

We set this up in the downstairs demo room last year, and we were all really surprised by the quality of the image and the sound. 



This is the installation for you if you have got access to the project before the wall panels and ceilings are added, so you can pre-wire. You can hide the products and make the installation unseen and tucked away in spaces that perhaps were unusable.

PRODUCT IDEAS – for your viewing pleasure, add an in-ceiling motorised projector screen. They are nice as when they are up, they are virtually (I say virtually as you can see the roof plate for it) hidden, then push the button and down she comes. The size can be custom made for the space.

For sound you could use something like the ELAC Debut Reference Bookshelf Speakers if there are shelves or use some in or on-wall speakers that fit around or within your décor. For centre channel you could use the ELAC Debut Reference Center Speaker on another bookshelf if available. The important part here is if you are a real movie buff (and want that great sound to really get taken away by the movie), don’t do the fatal mistake of adding the front channel (LCR) in the ceiling… it will kill the buzz. The front channels must have the tweeters aligned to you ears when sitting down, so the sound comes out towards you. Mount them in the ceiling and the best place to listen is lying on the ground below them and your screen… not ideal, but we see this mistake ALL the time in new builds.

Add a rear channel in the ceiling or mounted equi-distance on wall and grab a small sub, as you can hide that in the bottom of a shelf or cabinet.

The AVR could be hidden in a well-ventilated area and using IR extenders allow you access to all the various inputs. Ventilation is important as they can get warm, it’s a bit like exercising in a closed room, at some stage you will over-heat, and the AVR is no different. For a projector, if you can either shelf mount it or pop it on the ceiling, try a Epson EH-TW7100 4K PRO-UHD Projector. They have a great image and are well priced. Being white they really blend in if the colour them is light. 

One final hint – if you are running cables, check them before you close the wall off and ensure if you are running HDMI for the projector, run an extra HDMI cable to ensure you have a backup.

SOUND | Listening To Good Tunes In Your Space

Some, like me prefer the sound of music over the movies. Music is a memory maker and to sit back and relax to a good track is something very relaxing. For this to work in the smaller space, you can’t have the big space grabbing systems – cause lets face, there ain’t no room. So going down the route of some power speakers or perhaps a system that can work off your phone or tablet might be the best option.

So our TOP FOUR apartment / tiny house sound makers are:



Elac Navis one of the most epic powered speakers we have ever heard, the Navis & the dedicated transmitter enables you to stream all your favorite content direct from your laptop or phone direct to the speakers via Bluetooth or via WiFi, other connections include ,connecting your phone or digital audio player via the headphone socket using a cable that’s 3.5 mm to a stereo RCA cable the connection options are fruitful with these speakers making a one stop music paradise.


The Klipsch Rock & Roll Mini System, music connected via Bluetooth and via airplay, weather you want to party or just chill this setup will have you constantly toe tapping, oh a did we say the retro Klipsch finish on the speakers is timeless!

  • Klipsch R-51M Bookshelf Speaker – view
  • Klipsch Powergate Class D Amplifier – view


The Audio Pro Drumfire – the biggest bass slam of any portable speaker we have ever felt, so good most of us at Rapallo own one.

Connect Spotify, Tidal or any other media via Bluetooth or WiFi and boogie all night, oh and if you buy two of them, then you can pair them as a stereos speakers, awesome!!!


The Audioengine HD6 – with a miniature footprint and big sound, these bad boys rock, big sound from a smallish package connect to your phone via a 3.5 mm cable to the speakers or just Bluetooth with the aptX coding means you will hear every details and feel all the emotion. OH… and the finish will suit most homes.

  • Audioengine HD6 Premium Powered Speakers – view

  • Audioengine HD6 Wireless Speakers – view


  • Wireless Battery Charging – This is a great advance in dealing with all the battery powered devices we own. With a mat and a converting case, you can discard the cables for your smartphones, tablets, Kindles, Nooks—you name it, there is probably a way to charge it.
  • Don’t Forget Media Storage – with all these tricks there will still be entertainment system clutter. Here are some tips on how to deal with the media you take with you into your tiny house.
    • Hard Drive Stick-Up – Get rid of desk clutter by velcroing your external hard drive underneath it. If you have a laptop, you could velcro your external hard drive to the exterior of your screen, keeping it close at hand but out of the way.

    • Hidden Remotes – Stash remotes and game controllers on the inside of a closet door with velcro or store them in a wall-mounted bin.
    • Earbud Credit – Finally, keep all those cables and earbuds organized by using old credit cards. Just cut a notch out of two opposite sides and wrap your cord around.



sources: Rapallo (Simon & Deano), Green Tiny Houses



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