It Takes a Villa 

A beautiful home being built piece by piece will always present obstacles, but the success of the project is highlighted by which component of the industry tandem takes care of the challenges efficiently. And although the sprawling California home with panoramic views of Lake Sherwood and Italian-inspired themes might seem like an effortless picture, it was up to Mike McMaster and his team at Wilshire Media Systems to bring the vision into focus.

McMaster ran into a common problem within the custom integration industry of explaining the value of technology to all the decisionmakers involved - including the client. That doesn’t just cover describing why monetary value increases but also correctly illustrating why the nuances of two seemingly identical products can make or break the themes of a home.

“There is always a level of quality you can install into a home, and we presented that to the client as ‘must do,’ ‘would be nice,’ and ‘to do it right’ in terms of equipment,” said McMaster, president of Wilshire Media Systems. “It’s easy to find inferior technology in a house the same way bad faucets or cheap pieces of furniture affect the tone in a home. It was definitely a long process, and we stuck with it, and I think that’s what makes this project so unique.”

Adding technology late into a build brings a set of problems, especially if communication is uncertain and the parties involved are unfamiliar. Because McMaster and his team were brought in by a familiar relationship with the builder, he decided that he would get the designer‘s “blessing” for a set of Sonance speakers that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. The Sonance Landscape Series LS4T in question would require a few bushes moved and a subwoofer being placed, but by asking the designer first, he opened a line of communication that expedited later decisions such as screen size and furniture materials.

“The designer and I hadn’t had a lot of overlap towards the end of the project, so before I put all the speakers in I wanted her blessing,” McMaster said. “She really appreciated that. Most AV integrators create enemies, and it’s good to get some buy-in from the designer.”

The newly constructed home entered the design phase in 2014, with the intention of being resold on the market. A casually grand facade of the home anchors the Tuscan-styled arches and wooden beams throughout the home. Within, earth-toned theme furniture and wrought-iron light fixtures underscore carefully elevated living quarters, and a subterranean garage maintains the dedication of the house to its identity.

Of course, this makes McMaster’s job of pairing the right technology with the home just as important. Many of the visible pieces of technology throughout the house include Sony 4K smart TVs, iPads, and a 15-foot Stewart Filmscreen. Each was selected as an elegant solution for a tech-wary homeowner who had not lived with a full home control system before. In the background, the entire system is controlled by Savant’s SVR5000 alongside Access Networks’ Foundation Network and cable solutions from AudioQuest and ICE.

“I think it’s great because there’s not a lot of people doing an oldschool- looking Italian villa. But it’s current, the vision is meant to be current,” McMaster said. “There are three iPads visible at the main entries, which were placed so they don’t really affect the decor. It makes it feel like it’s a current home. It’s a statement piece. It sends a message that this house is connected and anybody can see all the services right along the bottom of the home screen.”

  • Equipment List
  • Savant SVR5000, Pro Host
  • Savant SSA3200, Audio Matrix
  • Sonance, R1, Reference Speakers
  • Sonance LS4T, Landscape Speakers
  • Sonance VP62, Visual Performance Speaker
  • Iport Surface Mount
  • Integra, DRX4.2, Surround Receiver
  • Sony VPLVW675ES, 4K Projector
  • Sony XBR85X850D, 4k Television
  • Access Networks Foundation Network
  • Middle Atlantic ERK4425, Equipment Rack
  • Stewart Filmscreen, SN153HST13G3WMX, 15” Luxus Screen
  • Panamax M4315PRO, IP Power Conditioner
  • Furman Elite 15 DMI, Power Conditioner
  • Audioquest, HDMI & Cat 6 Cables
  • ICE, Speaker and Data Cabling