Order the CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles® Issue: Slow, Steady, and State-of-the-Art
The CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles ® Fall 2013 Expo Edition is available now. Handsomely produced with striking photography, the magazine's departments, columns and features inspire the audience of architects, building designers, interior designers and builders to embrace the integration of technology in the home. You can purchase 1-9 copies for $9.95 each, or 10+ for $7.95 each, a number that drops to $6.95 each at the show. Order your copies here.
This modern home needed to be absolutely perfect in every respect, from the interior design to the architecture to the electronics. The homeowners were so painstakingly attentive to detail, in fact, that it took three years to complete and involved virtually every trade under the sun. It began with a bang as the owners released the first architect just as the structure was being framed out, causing the entire home to be resituated and delayed.
While three years may not seem like an abnormally long time for an architect, in the systems integration industry, where technology is constantly changing, time passes in dog’s years.
Home technology professional firm Electronics Design Group (EDG), however, had the flexibility and acumen to not only stay on top of the technology, but to adjust on the fly and meet the demands of these tech-savvy customers. “The basic core of the electronics never really changed. However, we were on the cusp of touchpanel-driven systems migrating toward iPod/iOS devices,” says John Montgomery, senior project manager. “We made that change to the control system early on as the technology became available, which affected how the system was driven in a very positive way.”
To update the control-system specification to the minute, EDG installed a robust Savant system that incorporated iPod and iPod touch devices, as well as simple handheld Savant remote controls. As EDG was completing the system, Savant introduced the Touch—a traditional remote with an embedded iPod touch. Considering the homeowners had children, EDG embraced this easy-to-use device, installing it in several rooms throughout the home. Through a combination of these control points, the Savant system handles a staggering amount of technology, including lighting control, 42 zones of HVAC, garage door and gate control, security and surveillance control, 32 indoor and outdoor audio zones, and nine zones of video with both high-def cable and FiOS services, in addition to Blu-ray and Vudu Movie server video sources. While this could all be overwhelming, controlling the technology is made easy by Savant’s intuitive user interface, which EDG customized for even greater operational efficiency.
The prolonged construction schedule also affected the lighting system to the homeowner’s benefit. “At first, it was not a fully keypad-driven system; we had switches or switches/keypads,” says Montgomery. “After gaining an appreciation for the keypads, the homeowners decided they wanted everything on keypads, which morphed the keypad-driven [system] to double the size, and doubled the size of the lighting system.” In the end, the Lutron system comprises 82 keypads throughout the home, 12 lighting panels, and occupies its own clean room in the basement! Next to the Lutron lighting system is a separate climate-controlled room for all the home-automation and entertainment equipment, including centralized sources.
The dedicated home theater is also located in the basement, though you would never guess it from its open feel. A refreshingly modern space with a customized red-lacquer bar in back, the space opens up to the wine-tasting room. A Digital Projection Titan projector shines onto the 136-inch Stewart Filmscreen Custom Screen Wall Electrimask, using an Isco anamorphic lens to prevent black bars should the aspect ratio change. Left, center, and right B&W speakers are hidden behind acoustically transparent screen material, along with four subwoofers and six rear and surround speakers that are camouflaged. Simply put: “This is one of the best theaters we have ever done,” says Montgomery. “It’s totally inviting, comfortable, and a room where kids can be kids without holding back.”
To make sure the clients were completely satisfied, EDG went out of its way to make sure all requests were met. For example, the homeowners wanted to install a TV in the bathroom behind a Seura mirror, but also wanted to be able to access that TV cavity via a hinged door. “Rather than say, ‘We can’t do that,’ we consulted Seura about our intent. Through close collaboration with the architect and Daniel Minzner Co. of Easton, Pa., the concept was transformed into a finished product,” says Montgomery.
In the end, it’s these little details that separate the men from the boys when it comes to home technology pros who are at the top of their game. In this case, EDG met the homeowners’ demands to accommodate both more formal adult entertaining and to create a comfortable home for a family with young children with gusto, despite obstacles.