Luxury clients know what they want, but sometimes it can be difficult to put their vision down on paper. By the time one homeowner approached Eddie Shapiro, chief AV designer at SmartTouch USA, multiple integrators had already come and gone, and the right system and plan had not been found.
“The client was having a hard time getting people to understand what he wanted,” said Shapiro. “At the end of the day, he was focused on getting the right partner.”
A Leap of Faith for a Fully Connected Home
After talking with several integrators and from past projects, the homeowner had a working knowledge of home integration. In many ways this made it easier for Shapiro to do this project.
“The client wanted electronic shades, a media room for his kids, touch displays and elegant lighting control,” said the integrator, adding that initially the client wasn’t interested in security but that changed with time. “He also had a relationship with Crestron and wanted to move in that direction.”
Shapiro was hesitant at first to install the system, since Crestron Home was in its breakout year. In the end, installing the platform was a successful move. With the help of the manufacturer, the home was integrated with automated shades, Horizon keypads, their NVX brand of video distribution and touch displays.
“Crestron was involved directly in the project, since they had a big interest in making sure Crestron Home was running well in the space,” said Shapiro.
The Importance of Lighting
The lighting, which was also integrated into the Crestron system, was particularly important to the homeowner. According to Shapiro, most clients want lighting control only in their public spaces, but this luxury project required integrated lights throughout the entire home. A lighting designer was brought on board to correctly outfit this project, which made an impactful difference in the final design.
“Generically and unfortunately, most people spend more time picking out their granite countertops than they do on lighting design and control,” said the integrator, adding that the lighting in this large home was probably 85 percent connected. “I think putting the effort into having well designed lighting paid off in creating some great spaces here.”
All About the Details
While the house did not have a designated home theater, there was a media room and a family room with integrated details ideal for entertainment. In the family room, the team was especially cognizant of the design; the space itself boasted high ceilings with exposed beams. Hidden in that ceiling are barely visible circles, which are the James Loudspeakers small aperture speakers. In the large glass windows surrounding the space are recessed window shades — also provided by Crestron — that are nearly invisible when fully raised, which puts more of the emphasis on the room’s architecture.
“When they’re down, they look great, and when they’re up, they are hard to see,” said Shapiro. “It really doesn’t get any better than that.”
Meanwhile the media room — which is more a designated place to watch TV, without the full-on movie theater set-up — is what Shapiro defines as more typical of an entertainment space, without so much emphasis on the design. There are speakers on either side of the 85-in. TV, triad speakers and an AV receiver by Sony. While this room wasn’t created with design in mind, it was fully outfitted for an enjoyable watching experience.
According to the integrator, this project was only challenging because of its long timeframe, which led to strategic collaborations with the builder, the electrician, the architect and all of the other trade partners involved. The project went smoothly because of the early planning and collaboration between everyone involved, and because of the success of the home, the homeowner is now looking to do another project with the team in a different location.
“From a deployment scenario and working with the homeowner, it’s not often that the stars aligned so well,” added the integrator.
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