November 19, 2009
by Lisa Montgomery
David Bohnett’s Los Angeles and New York City residences may stand thousands of miles apart, but they function as if they are one—at least when it comes to their ability to communicate.
A sophisticated Panasonic phone system, combined with a Crestron automation system, tie the two homes together to create a powerful communications network that takes Bohnett’s business and personal life to a whole new level of efficiency. Should somebody press the door intercom button at the New York home while Bohnett and his partner Tom Gregory are in LA, the phones at the LA residence ring. Bohnett can speak with the visitor as if he were there in NY. If those visitors end up staying at the NY house, Bohnett can place an intercom call to them directly from the Panasonic phones in LA—a feature that saves big bucks on their long-distance phone bill.
Similarly, when Bohnett and Gregory are at the NY place, they can use the Panasonic system to speak with LA visitors at the gate and the front door, view the security cameras on a Crestron touchpanel, and even unlock the gate and door remotely right from the touchpanel.
Sun Valley, Calif.–based Interior Systems Design (ISD), tied Bohnett’s business to the system, as well. Should he need to place a business call from the LA office to clients on the East Coast, he can tap into his phones at the NY home to place the call locally rather than long distance.
The second high-tech twist provided by Interior Systems Design in Bohnett’s LA home is the integration of a vintage Seeburg 16rpm jukebox with a modern Crestron whole-house audio system. The old analog Seeburg holds hundreds of records, and was originally designed to play background music in department stores and other commercial settings.
“They’d just turn it on in the morning and let it play all day,” says Bohnett. He does the same thing with his own Seeburg, but instead of going to the player to turn it on, he can activate it from any of 27 Crestron touchpanels. The Crestron distribution system pipes the songs to as many as 50 pair of speakers located throughout the residence.
Hundreds of timed events that Bohnett set up himself rounds out the home’s top three high-tech tricks. According to Interior Systems Design’s Yves Richarz, programming is something that’s usually best left to a custom electronics professional. But based on Bohnett’s level of tech-savvy, ISD felt comfortable handing over the keys.
“The custom scheduler ISD created for me lets me go in and set up times for the lights, heating and cooling system, pool and spa equipment and motorized shades to adjust,” Bohnett explains. “It’s really fun for me to create and modify settings.” Plus, it saves the homeowners time and money they would have otherwise spent to have ISD tweak the schedule every time they wanted to make a change.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.