This Carefree, Ariz. property is a new second home for a Canadian couple who would be living there intermittently, and so, wanted to use technology to make coming and going as easy as possible for them, said Joe Valcik, CEO of Innovative Integrations.
One of the owners is better versed in technology than the other, but the latter, Valcik said, is a self-professed “music-lover who wants to listen to it everywhere, and likes to listen loud.” So one of the challenges was to make the system a no-brainer to operate, both from a distance – for the surveillance monitoring and automation elements – and while both were in residence.
From adjusting the lighting scenes that execute automatically to adjusting the climate control, it’s all done with a simple touch from inside the home or from anywhere via a Control4 app, said Valcik.
One special challenge that Valcik and his team found a workaround for was in making the designated media room optimized for viewing sports and movies. Normally, this wouldn’t pose any unusual hurdles. But these clients wanted to use a room where they could enjoy spectacular views of the Arizona scenery – but also, where there were floor-to-ceiling windows everywhere, along with a massive 10-foot-by-12-foot custom-made steel “barn door” that slides open and shut on a track and when open, takes up much of the available wall real estate. “There were no walls that could be used, so things like speakers had to be in the ceiling, or on the front wall where the TV is,” said Valcik. With so many reflective surfaces, it also posed something of an acoustical challenge. “Luckily, there’s a very big area rug, and the couches are all upholstered,” which helped to tamp down reflections, he said. The balance of the compensation for these bright surfaces was left up to the Audyssey MultiEQ automatic room acoustic correction built into the Denon receiver. “It did a phenomenal job, with the JL Audio sub, which adds a bass dimension.”
Reflections aren’t kind to TV screens, either. Of course, the room had electronic window shades, but to improve TV viewing when they were not lowered, Valcik and his team designed a custom cabinet where the TV is mounted in a cavity and tilts to reduce glare: “a pretty effective solution, even in a bright room,” Valcik said.
As mentioned, since the homeowners were just part-time residents and the house would be unoccupied for long periods, surveillance cameras and electronic door locks that integrate with the DSC security system were installed liberally throughout; whenever someone arrives on the property, the owners are alerted via emailed snapshots. Other elements that can be controlled from anywhere include the pool, fireplace, and the water features at the front door.
Valcik worked on close terms with both the builder and the architect, making this home a truly “carefree” haven, and meeting its owners’ desires for total control and simplicity of operation.