February 14, 2013
| by Josh Christian
I’ve seen it ... you’ve seen it. A beautifully-designed space that at first wows you, then, as you notice the details, leaves you asking “how did they forget to fix that?” It could be something fairly obvious like the placement of a door, but often it is something that detracts from an otherwise coherent room design.
Speaking as an electronics integrator (DSI Entertainment Systems, Los Angeles), we see cringe-inducing offenders as:
- “Wall Acne”...too many devices cluttering up the walls.
- Flush-mounted speakers that have no rhyme or reason on placement.
- HVAC registers that clash with both lighting and flush-mounted speaker placement.
- Visible TV’s and audio/video components.
Here is where a smart design-minded electronics system integrator can be one of your best friends…a second set of eyes with all sorts of tricks up his or her sleeve to help make your designs be all they can be. Here are a few things that we often bring to the (design) table:
1. TV/Screen Concealment. No excuses here…unless the client is really into audio/video tech (very few of our clients are), they’d rather the stuff not be seen when not in use. There are several good off-the-shelf solutions available, and custom “out of the box” solutions that a good audio video integrator may create, too. Some we use are “mirror televisions” (Seura), motorized concealment (art concealment by VisionArt, Vutec, Media Decor) art lifts that lift a client’s own art, motorized panel concealment, under bed TV lifts, out-of-wall motorized TV concealers, recessed motorized projection screens, etc. If you’d like to see some short videos on hiding TV’s, be click here to see a great video resource page. In the picture here, a motorized TV ascends from a bar countertop.
2. Architectural and Invisible Speakers. There are plenty of in-wall/in-ceiling speakers to choose from. The Invisible Series from Sonance are literally that ... invisible speakers! When absolute stealth is absolutely necessary, we have the solution. (For more on these speakers, see DSI Entertainment’s blog post “Invisible Loudspeakers…Really?”) Another popular solution is to use the flangeless flush-mount speakers that Sonance revolutionized with their Architectural Series speakers. These speakers were such a hit that most of their competitors are now copying this flangeless look. They match the look of flangeless lighting fixtures ... IF the speaker layout is thought of in advance. The aesthetic benefit of speakers that fit with the lighting layout is huge. Notice this in the picture below ... the speaker is nearly invisible as it is flangeless and follows the lighting sightlines.
3. TRUFIG - This is one of our favorite products. In a nutshell, TRUFIG is a company that created a flush-mounting system for common wall accessories, such as light switches, dimmers, electrical outlets, phone/data ports. The effect is that these wall accessories nearly disappear, they blend in rather than detract. The TRUFIG mounting system is available for popular home control devices, too, such as Lutron HomeWorks and Radio RA2 keypads and select Crestron in-wall touchscreens. For Apple iOS users, download the free iPhone / iPad app here ... it is your mobile TRUFIG catalog.
4. HVAC registers. Yes, they are a necessary evil in most homes and the placement and look of these is usually left up to the HVAC engineer. Many designers and architects think they can’t influence their aesthetics besides specifying linear diffusers. Not any more. Back to TRUFIG in point #3 above, they make HVAC registers that flush-mount and also tend to disappear into the wall or ceiling. (Click here to read more why “HVAC Registers That Aren’t Ugly”)
5. Finally, a subject near and dear to my heart is how home automation / home controls / smart home technology, whatever you want to call it ... can beautify your walls. A few well-placed in-wall touchscreens (you can flush wall-mount your iPad or iPad Mini as a touchscreen these days) eliminate often used controls from the visible walls. No more thermostats, security keypads, motorized shade/drapery controls, pool/spa controllers, audio keypads or volume controls…the functions of all of these items is combined into a touchscreen that is simple and intuitive to control. Do you live in or near Los Angeles? See this in practice at DSI’s West Hollywood showroom. Every interior designer and architect will will “get it” when they see it. And of course, clients love the convenience and security benefits, too. The picture here shows a flush-mounted iPad being used as a home control through a Savant home automation system.
Josh Christian is Marketing VP of DSI Entertainment Systems
. His Desert Island Blu-ray is "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and his Desert Island Disc is just about any rock or new-wave album from the '80s.