A partnership of efforts scores a fully automated luxury home
According to Settecasi, one challenge was the fact that this project started in 2018 and continued through the pandemic, which meant that some products became unavailable or better materials came out in the process. “The timeline was so long, everything in the beginning that I specified kept changing,” said the system designer.
Not having much in the way of borders or limitations can be a challenge. When a discerning client came to the design center of TRIPhase Technologies to work on a new build home in Indianapolis, the initial project evolved from a few screens and connected products to a completely automated home.
The project was presented to integrator Robert Haecker as a spare-no-effort project. Haecker worked alongside a large team presenting technology solutions at the highest level. The client had one directive: give the project one hundred percent.
In order to pull off a project of this level, you absolutely have a great builder partner and team to make it happen,” said Haecker. “This builder was willing to do anything and stop the train to figure out how.”
Setting the Stage for Invisible Tech
The client was drawn to Zionsville, Ind.-based TRIPhase Technologies because of the integrator’s approach to blending tech exquisitely with design. The TriPhase showroom is built with purposeful design elements that showcase technologies executed in a discrete fashion. This execution fit the client’s desire for a beautifully designed, architecturally advanced home with complimentary technology.
“The client’s directive made us push ourselves to greater heights than we knew we could go,” said builder Nigel Hoss of Hoss Homes. “The answer was always ‘yes’ before we figured out how to do it.”
Hoss and architect Gary Nance of Gary Nance Design were charged with implementing the best materials and finishes throughout the home. Some of these elements included leather clad walls, stone floors, an all-plaster interior as an alternative to drywall and even porcelain tile in the garage floor. Refined wood species and walnut finishes, as well as Indiana limestone, were also used. The design stands out first in this home, and every controllable facet of this building is connected. Elan is the overarching control system here.
“We feel it’s very elegant and scalable,” said Haecker. “It’s easy for our clients to use.”
A Pakedge system provides the network for this extensive property. Access points were placed for full coverage inside and outside the home, including an extensive pool area. There is also a full security, surveillance system and full Lutron panelized lighting with shade control.
“The area we spent a lot of detail on was the lighting design. The home is loaded with accent lighting everywhere, from step lighting to ceiling flush-mounted lighting,” said Haecker, adding that every room has accent lighting throughout. “The lighting shows how a purposeful design and technology can create spaces and enhance architectural features.”
This modern kitchen hides technology like a Future Automation TV lift in the kitchen, and a Sonance small aperture speaker in the kitchen and dining area.
Thinking Creatively with Elements and Materials
Both the builder and the integration team agreed that one of the most challenging aspects of the project was the main stairwell. According to Rocky Settecasi, systems designer for TRIPhase, the client was focused on enhancing the three-story limestone element, creating a complete wash of light cascading the entire wall.
“They wanted to do things no one had ever seen before,” said Settecasi. The challenge presented was producing the light with a feature stairway creating shadows.
On every step, there is a light and independent dimming zones. The integration team worked hand in hand with the architect and builder, poring over prototypes to achieve the exact cast of light required. As a result of their efforts achieved a stairwell element beyond reproach.
“That stairway is a work of art in of itself,” said Hoss.
Another challenge was the vanishing TV over the fireplace. Designed with a Future Automation sliding panel system, this system should have been simple for the integrators. The client presented a desire to create a steel façade 22 feet over a 5 custom fireplace, which brought the job up a level in difficulty.
“We had to work with the builder and metal fabricator to get steel panels that were both thin enough and light enough for this system to move,” said Settecasi, adding that even in the size of that fireplace and how tall it is, they were limited on the amount of height to fit the system into. They eventually worked with James Loudspeakers to bring back a very thin sound bar — one that had not been manufactured in years — specifically for this job.
“Several on-site meetings were needed to get that wall to work and look seamless,” said Settecasi, explaining that when the TV is off, all that is seen is a multi-panel wall. “You’d never know there was a TV there.”
This home is completely automated by a combination of Elan and Lutron lighting controls.
The Cool Factor
While most of this home’s automation is practical in nature, there were a few touches that were simply done because they were cool — like in the home theater.
For this space, the integration team brought in their in-house home theater interior designer, Shanna Haecker. Together with the builder and architect, she laid out a simple theater room with an all-black fabric ceiling, acoustic treatments on the wall and the projector installed in the nearby storage room. A Marantz receiver with Dolby Atmos was paired with an Anthem amplifier and James Loudspeakers to run the theater, as well as a Wolf cinema projector chosen for its brightness. The screen manufacturer was Screen Innovations (SI).
Another creative component lay at the base of the three-story limestone wall element. The entryway into the wine cellar presented another opportunity to showcase design and seamless technology. The client’s desire was to have a hidden entrance in the wall leading to an exquisite wine cellar. To do this, Hoss created a moveable limestone, pivot doorset on custom fabricated steel framework. The entrance is activated through a special key sequence on the Lutron keypad and disappears into the architecture when closed.
Some other unique features include a Sonance 70 volt landscape system around the pool, a flat in-wall subwoofers in the great room, and a TV hidden on a Future Automation lift in a kitchen island.
“I always strive to be better today than I was yesterday,” said Hoss, who credited the success of this expansive and complex job with the excellent collaboration between all of the partners. “You can’t do it individually; you have to bring your team along.”
This 22-ft.-tall ceiling has suspended wood clouds that are wrapped with linear lighting for an unusual effect.
Elegant and practical technology like Lutron connected lighting and Saunalogic shower controls outfit this bathroom.