The Manhasset, N.Y.-based integrator Home Theater of Long Island was tasked with endowing a duplex condominium in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of New York City with connected technology. Ordinarily, said Nick Tzortzatos, managing director, this sort of renovation would not pose an unusual test of the company’s abilities. But what gave this project an added measure of interest – and a unique set of challenges – was that it was in a building that had once housed a NYC Police Department Precinct.
The owners were to occupy the first floor and the basement of this 106-year-old structure; the lower level, which had formerly contained the precinct’s jail cell, was to be converted into a playroom for their children. “They were perfectionists in the look they were going for,” Tzortzatos. The owners’ directive was to hide gear – and all components were masked inside a closet. His team also designed several “strategic placements” that worked around the building’s singular characteristics but also kept the loudspeakers stealthy and unobtrusive. “For example, in the living room, there was a 5.1-channel system, There, we did a Leon Speakers custom speaker bar under the TV and for the rears, we placed our speakers inside of a custom suspended wood slat ceiling, which took coordination with the contractor,” he said. Lighting and shading solutions were all part of the overall connected amenities that were part of the project, he added.
The jail cell – and whatever it was built out of – required some additional strategizing to outfit for Wi-Fi. “We don’t know exactly what it was built out of. We’ve done plenty of renovations, but not like this. It was a fortress down there… So we made the client aware that this was something definitely out of the norm. Thank goodness we had wired for extra access points.”
Other unique aspects to this project included outfitting the building’s two wide driveways – where police cars, back in the day, would pull up and park – with cameras.
Loudspeakers were also added to the grand plan in the project’s midstream. “There was existing hardscape there, and we had to wire the speakers through it,” via an opening behind the fireplace, through an outside wall.
Tzortzatos credited the designers with being “very easy to work with,” despite being based outside the U.S. “They were a huge help on the project,” he said.
The clients “were very excited” with the outcome, Tzortzatos said. “It was a unique project. And we customized as much as possible with the existing infrastructure. Everything worked out great.”