Wyckoff, N.J.-based technology integration firm Restrepo Innovations was called upon by a local builder to “upsmart” a $1.5 million renovated home situated in the town of Ridgewood, N.J., an affluent haven for daily commuters to New York City. The property was being readied by the contractor as a spec home, and selected Restrepo principal Mike Restrepo and his team to get the house ready to sell “with the latest technology a luxury home should have and is expected to have,” said Restrepo.   

“It was left up to me what to include” in the way of gear and control systems, Restrepo said. “It had to be something simple that end-users could manipulate and that no one would have to reprogram – a finished package that could be ‘edited’ – changed or added to, if desired.” 

Restrepo selected the Crestron Home automation technology platform as the basis for the installation.  “You configure a system and what he liked about that was the he would be able to make changes later without having to worry about bringing someone else in… The basic stuff that people would want to do themselves…. We gave them the training wheels where it would be easy enough.” 

Crestron handles the lighting control, temperature regulation and distributed audio tasks, and there are Phase Tech in-wall and in-ceiling speakers and a soundbar, a Marantz receiver, and a basic Crestron remote. The inclusion of a 2N Doorstation IP Intercom/HD Video System was another nice amenity. “It gives them a product that integrates, and where the owner could easily add on features, and it looks very beautiful – and it’s rock solid and will last the test of time. And down the road, another one could be added very easily.” 

Since the home was not a new construction, a special consideration readily strategized by the Restrepo team was deciding on the creative placement of equipment. “In a home like that,” Restrepo said, “every square inch is important.” He said It took some ingenuity to find the right place for the equipment rack. “We recessed it into the wall cavity.  It was nice that you could see the front of it. Using the system and engaging with it was easy, and it would make it easy, too, if it needed to be repaired. Also, it was showcased that way. It added to the charm of the home. And the way it was designed, there was room for growth; it wasn’t that it would be that the buyer would be buying something that was eventually going to be maxed out.” 

The main point of outfitting this home the way it was done, Restrepo explains, was to be able to hand off to the builder a product “that made it easy for the builder to make the [prospective] owner feel that he would able to do things for themselves with the technology – to be confident about using the technology.” He says this project led to another two projects with this builder. 

Restrepo and his team also had the foresight to “have conduit primed and ready outdoors for any possible next phases. We’re prepared and open for that the minute we get the word.” 

The upshot? It all has to do with close communication with the other professionals involved in completing the home. “That’s how you get an amazing finished product. You can’t just slap a TV on a wall. We worked with the builder. And there were artisans in each phase of that install, doing their parts. It came out amazing. The installer can’t act like a carpenter – he should just install, and let the other trades do their jobs. And the end product is a million times better. You need to be humble enough to appreciate others, and work together with them, for the greater good.”