While smart home technology integrators are never a moment without dreaming up possibilities to enrich and simplify their clients’ lives, relaying the seemingly infinite options to these very clients isn’t always the easiest task. Angus Murray of London’s New Wave AV has found that having a Control4 Experience Center showroom offers the perfect environment for enabling wild imaginations.
Take his project in the London suburb of Kent, for example. Through a mutual relationship with the project’s interior designer, Murray met some eager homeowners who visited the Experience Center for ideas on their new 12,000-square-foot home.
The main desire for this family of four was to own a system that allowed them to enjoy both audio and video around the property with minimal equipment on display. In addition, they wanted a dedicated cinema room as well as a secondary projection system in their bar/media room for more informal viewing. With teenagers ruling the roost, there were serious networking requirements in addition to multi-room audio. A total of 20 audio zones were installed throughout the home.
“To our surprise, the teenage children in the house preferred using airplay and listened to music that was more bass heavy,” noted Murray. “The EQ curves for their bedrooms were adjusted to reflect this difference. Dedicated Spotify Direct connections were also created. These automatically turned on the relevant bedroom.”
One of the biggest advantages of the family’s visit to the Experience Center was being exposed to lighting control, which they had never utilized previously. “It allowed them to see the benefits of this level of lighting control—the ability to control multiple circuits within a lighting scene quickly and easily.”
Let There Be Light (or Not)
After discussing the lighting design and window treatments with the interior designer, it was agreed that lighting and window treatment control would be specified in the key rooms in the property. Lighting scenes were created for film viewing in both the cinema and the bar. In the cinema, the scenes were triggered when the projector turned on. “Dusk to Dawn” lighting was created as well as “Welcome Home” lighting.
‘Mockupancy’ was programmed (and linked to the Intruder Alarm away setting) to recreate the look of an occupied property while the homeowners are away. Mockupancy automatically records whenever the alarm is not armed. When the alarm is set to “Away,” the mockupancy playback is triggered, including lighting and window treatments.
In the cinema room, when a film finishes, the back-panel lighting is ramped up to 10 percent to gently lighten the room.
Bumps in the Road
Challenges were encountered in the bar/media room, particularly with a glass wall that offered views of the swimming pool.
“It was a stunning room, but it didn’t naturally work as a projection room [because of the glass wall],” he admitted.
New Wave AV installed Triad In-Ceiling Rotating Silver Sat speakers that are angled to the primary seating position. With lasers built in, you can see where the speakers are pointing. They provide surround sound without having any speakers in the glass wall.
Another challenge arose when the projector for the room was replaced with a larger, heavier version. A custom Future Automation lift was designed (with 10mm spare ceiling depth) to allow for the increased size of projector and was supplied with a heavy-duty motor to deal with the increase in weight.
Safeguarding Homes & Partnerships
With security also being of high importance to the homeowners, it was helpful for New Wave AV to have the opportunity to show the clients all the possibilities. Being able to see that when the alarm went off, the music will turn off and lights would turn on was eye-opening. “They really like the integration of the security system within the overall [home automation] system,” Murray recalled.
Additionally, with three entry/exit gates all quite close together, a Control4 DS2 was specified as the main intercom to link together with the main house touch panels.
All in all, building relationships is key. Murray’s close partnership with the interior designer, and then the newly formed relationship with the homeowners after their visit to the Experience Center provided the basis for job well done, even when challenges arose.
“It was critical for us having Control4 on this project because of the ability to use one interface,” Murray pointed out. “There were a number of subsystems within the property. If they didn’t have Control4, they would have needed a separate app for everything, lighting, gate control, music, CCTC, alarm, etc. So having everything consolidated was truly beneficial for them.”
New Wave AV
Summer Barn, Victoria Road
Tonbridge, TN11 OLS
Interior Designer: Sue Fisher of FisherID
Contractor: Manak Homes
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