For custom installation experts, knowledgeable homeowners with an understanding of the possibilities inherent in technology integration can make collaboration on a project with these clients a pleasure — but that scenario also tends to set the bar higher for meeting their expectations. That likelihood, however, has never been an issue for the design–build integration firm D’Asign Source, based in Marathon, Fla., which boasts a long history of serving clients with a combination of design innovations and a wide range of Coastal Source product offerings in outdoor lighting and audio.
The firm, whose principals include Tony, Franco and Amedeo D’Ascanio, was tasked with equipping a new construction design–build home — Harbor Palms, in the heart of the Florida Keys – with the latest technologies in automation and lighting; the tech-savvy owners were very involved in the entire process.
Expansive Spaces for Congregating
The home’s interior features six bedrooms and five bathrooms, and the exterior is no less impressive, with a 60,000-gallon pool, a custom-stacked coral stone waterfall with foot ledges for jumping, and a spa as some of the design centerpieces.
The spa itself offers a 360-degree spillover into the pool and is embedded in a shallow sun shelf. Inlaid into the pool’s shallow end is a custom tile compass pointing true north. The pool is also fully automated for comfort regulation, with multiple heaters and chillers.
There is an outdoor kitchen with lighted countertops to simplify cooking tasks at any hour of the day. Spaces where guests can comfortably congregate are plentiful, and include a fire pit, a tiki hut area and a fruit garden —lit with Coastal Source lighting and with the aural ambience enhanced by the company’s outdoor audio gear. Ceiling speakers are located everywhere, and further, there is an array of Coastal Source Outdoor 12.0 Line Source, three-way and two-way speakers and subwoofers throughout.
High-definition cameras, too, are ubiquitous, used for surveilling every angle of the property, and a high-def PTZOptics camera and weather station, situated on a roof deck, coupled with Coastal Source speakers, is easily accessible by an elevator, for those in the home interested in a fully satisfying star-tracking experience.
Wi-fi access needs have also been fully addressed with the highest-quality wireless Internet service, which has been designed with redundancy failover for secure connectivity. There’s also a full backup generator, and convenient connections for RV, yacht, and electric car charging.
Inside the home, the floorplan echoes the openness of the outdoor tech pleasures, and allows views of the water just as impressively stunning. Ten-foot low-emissivity glass sliding doors make for a natural transition from indoors to outside. Hunter Douglas window treatments are in place to preserve the interior spaces’ privacy, when desired.
Lighting and fan control in the house are achieved using Lutron’s numerous solutions. And there are floorstanding Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers for visitors and residents hankering to enjoy audio in the confines of the home’s living room.
A Coastal Color Aesthetic
This technology is supported and adroitly balanced with an interior design color palette of soft colors and neutral shades, as well as with the ample use of natural wood, stone and rattan materials — all of which reflects the calming aspects of the surrounding water and land.
The attention to the smallest details that was lavished on this project is perhaps what the homeowners view as the greatest benefit, which only can be realized when high technology meets and successfully intersects with the highest design aesthetics — a combination unsurpassed, when executed to perfection.
Q&A with Franco D’Ascanio Jr from D’Asign Source
Franco D’Ascanio Jr., architect and VP of construction at D’Asign Source sits down with Connected Design to discuss the company’s recent project in the Florida Keys.
Connected Design: Can you tell us a little about the clients?
These clients were in the medical field and knew the value of hard work. They retired early and sought the opportunity to find peace and calm in the Florida Keys; one of the healthiest places to live. Their technical knowledge was above average as they are avid boaters and have used technology in their medical businesses.
Connected Design: Did the client have set ideas about what technology was definitely to be included?
Our company champions the idea of providing simple, reliable technology in the homes we build. We want our clients to come down to their homes and know the technology will work. While we are available to service various technology maintenance items and updates, we have limited resources here in the islands, so reliable devices and systems are paramount.
Connected Design: How did Coastal Source products figure most prominently in the installation?
Coastal Source was the only solution that fit the requirements for heavy-duty coastal quality and simple installation. All it took was one listen to the speakers and amps for our clients to comment “We need those!” These clients opted for various Coastal Source systems of different scales, ranging from smaller two-way speakers on the roof deck, to the largest Line Source Speakers by the pool.
From small accent niche lights in all the railings and steps to large tiki torch lights by the dock, the house and property are equipped with hundreds of Coastal Source light fixtures.
Connected Design: What specific interests of the client were accommodated in your technology design?
Every morning, these clients set their audio and lighting to an automatic wake-up mood setting. Peaceful music indoors and out welcomes the morning sunrise over the ocean, the automatic blinds roll open part way, and the interior lights begin to brighten. On the other end of the spectrum, they wanted outdoor music loud and rocking for when they are washing their many boats.
Connected Design: What were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome in the course of the project?
Construction here in the Keys required countless hours of coordination to assemble and splice together all the layers of structure, systems, and finishes in our projects. Understanding the end result (such as having the house slowly wake up with you) directly relates to the start of the project from the first shovel in the ground. We’re limited in how the building can sit, what can we fit on the postage-stamp-sized lot here, and how can we keep all budgets and timelines balanced. Thankfully, we have a team of architects, contractors, landscape architects, and technology wizards to make it happen.
One pain point was how to land several A/V racks into a home that wasn’t originally designed for it. During construction, we developed chaseways, conduit paths, crawl space access, tunnels (yes, there is a tunnel under this project), and other means at minimal cost and effort to the client. We did this at the onset of construction to allow maximum flexibility in the technology, and MEP systems (for future-proofing). We also expanded the storage spaces in the garage for the same reasons.
Connected Design: What, in your view, was the proudest technical or most unique technical achievement in this project for you?
The biggest achievement in this project, to me, was the ability to create a serviceable home that will be ready for the technology of the future. The client loved the idea of being able to connect and enhance the project at any time. The dock, the site, the pool, the outdoors, the concrete home, the roof deck, etc; all of it can be interconnected and reworked at any time thanks to the technology roads we built.
I also love taking visitors through the tunnel, which the clients have painted all the walls since to make it feel like you’re in an aquarium.
Connected Design: Did this job lead to other projects – either for the client or their friends?
We’re thankful that these clients are big supporters of our company and our people. They are great community members themselves and love the family-business story and construction adventure we took together. They share the story all the time and welcomed the project to be photographed for our company magazine. And, they are still adding more technology to the property as we speak.
Connected Design: What can you say about the builder, architect, and designer clients you worked with in terms of inter-disciplinary cooperation with them and you?
This project was designed, built, and outfitted by our company, D’Asign Source. While most of our homes are design/build, we also work with many consultants, architects, designers, builders, and vendors on a myriad of other projects and project types. We believe heavily in detailed coordination to ensure all parties are on the same page. Everyone on the team wants to make the projects the best they can be. The best designs, the best products, the best people.
11500 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL 33050
Coastal Source Lighting
Coastal Source Outdoor Audio
Lutron Automated Lighting & Fan Control
Lynx Outdoor Appliances
Hunter Douglas Automated Window Treatments
Andy Bloomberg from AVDoesIT
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Nancy is a contributing editor for Connected Design