Leading by Example
HiFi House capitalizes on its work for a Philadelphia-area builder's showcase design home
By Janet Pinkerton
Philadelphia-area custom retailer HiFi House is riding a wave of publicity surrounding its work on Philadelphia magazine's Design Home 2005, an 8,000-square-foot traditional Colonial farmhouse located in a new development in West Chester, Pa.
West Chester is the county seat of Chester County, a historically rural area west of Philadelphia that is undergoing a major boom in upscale exurban development. Public tours of the home, built by Thompson Homes, also of West Chester, took place from September 10 to October 2. Tickets cost $20, and all proceeds benefited MANNA, a Philadelphia-based non-profit organization supporting those living with HIV/AIDS.
The home, its builders and subcontractors were showcased in a special advertising section in Philadelphia's popular "Best of Philly" issue, a compendium of the region's best food, dining, shopping and services that is snatched off newsstands and stashed for future reference.
With this exposure, HiFi House is capitalizing on work that began early this year, when Harry Blanchard, its A/V systems designer, sat down with the builder to map out the project parameters. HiFi House had worked with Thompson before on a less ambitious project. For a 2002 design home in nearby Delaware, Thompson asked HiFi House to create a dedicated home theater and sank all of its A/V dollars into that one room. This year's project was less centralized and more ambitious; Thompson wanted a more distributed installation of consumer technology.
The design phase, working with the builder, lighting designer and HVAC subcontractors, took about two months. The lighting in particular required intense communication between the trades, as a single touchpad can control each lighting source. Another 30 to 60 days were needed for pre-wiring. HiFi House then spent two weeks installing controls, hooking up TVs and programming everything to prepare for a photo shoot.