For this tech-savvy client, smart home technology was a must. With his business in the fast-paced, high-stress retail sector, the client knew that his home should provide a sanctuary. He wanted his home to be filled with great home technology, which would allow him to relax and unwind.
Smart Control System
The client asked us to make recommendations for a control system. He knew that he wanted various electronic home systems to be integrated. Certainly, the natural choice was a Crestron home technology solution. The system would be flexible, powerful and reliable. Equally, it would allow the home technology sub-systems to be consolidated and intelligently integrated. Also, importantly, the Crestron system would be intuitive to use. The client wouldn’t have to know (or care) how it all went together.
The home technology system we provided consisted of control processors, touchpanels, remotes, an intercom system, amplifiers, distributed audio and video, HVAC system and a lighting control system. The Crestron home system also provides control in the media rooms and home cinema.
Lighting Control System
The client’s home had a total of 64 interior circuits of light, including LED, incandescent and colour-changing DMX. He was very keen to ensure that the control in the guest areas was simple to use so that his visiting family could use the home technology system with confidence.
In each area, we have provided a keypad to control the immediate lighting scenes. Additionally, in key areas, we have also provided house-wide options. These include such functions as a “whole house off” button, a vacation button and a panic mode button.
The lighting is also accessed through in-wall touchpanels and the Crestron home technology remotes. This means that, wherever he is, the client has full control of the lighting.
We have used Deltalight fittings extensively throughout, to provide a chic, minimal aesthetic. There are also occasional statement fittings, which provide a feature and talking-point.
We completed the aesthetic lighting design, the lighting control system design and electrical design. This ensures that the lighting system is safe, robust and beautiful. Equally, by undertaking all of these elements, we ensure that all components of the system work well together. There are no issues with compatibility between the drivers, control gear or fittings, for example.
During the first fix installation phase, we worked closely with the electrical contractor. We made regular site visits and he knew that we were only ever a phone call away, should he need anything. In fact, we are ourselves approved NICEIC contractors. This means that we have a great understanding of the practicalities of electrical install. We don’t complete the actual install, but it does mean that we are able to appreciate and fully understand all of the factors of the electrical element.
Our client was very keen to have an immersive media room in two of his principal rooms; his family room and his master bedroom. We recommended a motored TV screen in the master bedroom. For the family room, we suggested a hidden motorised screen and projector.
In each room, we have provided a Crestron handheld remote, for ease of use. The home technology remotes are programmed to make controlling the system very straightforward and as a result, the client and his guests can confidently use the system.
In addition to the electronics within each of the media rooms, we also integrated the control of the motorised blinds. Thus, at the touch of a button, the client can shade each room, making the room perfectly comfortable for viewing.
Central to the success of the family media room system were high quality hidden loudspeakers. The client felt strongly that he didn’t wish to see speakers in the room or ceiling. Therefore, to avoid this, we used plaster-in speakers to give him the immersive experience, without the visual clutter.
The speakers produce the full bandwidth of frequencies, dispersed over 180°. They have an excellent off-axis response, meaning that the loudspeakers can be positioned in less conventional locations. With the sound coming from the ceiling, the listener cannot determine where the source is. Consequently, the sound is naturally perceived to be originating from the screen.
Wireless and Wired Data Network
Getting the network perfect was critical to the success of this home technology project. So that he could work when at home, the client required a robust and capable network. It was also essential that the network be able to handle the demands of the home technology systems. All of the sub-systems would require a secure and reliable network infrastructure.
We have provided a comprehensive wired and wireless solution, with the correct security. Furthermore, to allow visitors to use the wireless network, we have created a Guest Network. This provides wireless access for visitors, without allowing them to access the full secured network.
The network can easily accommodate the demands of the user’s activities, which includes gaming, streaming movies and conducting important business video calls.
Audio and Video System
Our client is a music lover; he asked us to provide a whole-home audio distribution system, for the house and grounds. He wanted each area to be capable of providing high-quality audio. The sources would include Spotify, radio and a shared audio server.
For certain areas, he wished to have speakers that he could see as well as hear; in others he wanted them to be unobtrusive. We used a combination of ceiling-mounted Bowers and Wilkins speakers in the main areas, with single stereo speakers in small areas, such as cloakrooms and the laundry. Externally, we used Bowers & Wilkins weatherproof speakers, to withstand the rigours of being located outdoors. Similarly, these weatherproof speakers were used in wet areas such as the steam room. Finally, in the main lounge, where the client wished to experience very high-quality audio, we used speakers from the brilliant B&W 800 Series.
The audio and video distribution system is powered by Crestron home technology. Naturally, each room has control of the audio and video elements via either a hand-held touchpanel remote, an iPad/iPhone app, or both.
The client loves his home technology solution, in particular the lighting and the audio systems. It was a pleasure to work with someone who obviously gets so much enjoyment from the systems we provided. In fact, we went on to work with the client on his first development project, which included audio and lighting systems for 30 apartments in Essex.
Team members on this project
Guy and Dean.