A High-Tech Hollywood Hideaway
Modern design and technology turn an outdated Los Angeles home into the ultimate getaway for a pair of peace-seeking owners.
A High-Tech Hollywood Hideaway
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June 19, 2008 by Lisa Montgomery

Just as the music moves from the theater equipment cabinet to speakers throughout the house, video can travel from a main rack of components to multiple TVs. In this case, a VideoReQuest server delivers movies from two Sony 400-disc DVD players to the TVs, including a 22-inch Panasonic LCD TV in the hearth room off the kitchen, a 37-inch Sharp LCD TV in the office, a 42-inch Panasonic plasma HDTV in one bedroom and a 45-inch Sharp HDTV LCD TV in another bedroom. 

Most of the TVs are mounted to the wall or suspended from the ceiling, but in the bathroom the owners used the backside of the vanity mirror to hold a display. Designed by German company Ad-Notam, the mirror and 15-inch LCD TV come as one unit custom-engineered to withstand the moisture of a bathroom environment and to function both as a mirror and an entertainment display. The TV is only noticeable when it’s turned on. When it’s off, it disappears from sight.

To give viewers the freedom to watch whatever they want from wherever they want, every TV is equipped with its own HDTV cable box with an integrated digital video recorder. The owners went a step further in the two master suites by incorporating a five-disc DVD player and 5.1 surround-sound system in each space. “Once you’re in a bedroom, you’re in your own electronic world,” says David. “You can watch something that’s completely your choosing, but you’re always free to tap into something that’s playing on the whole-house video distribution system.”

The bedrooms also have two distinctly different looks, representing design standards from both sides of the Atlantic. In David’s “American” room, the speakers are tucked into an alcove, a mounting technique that’s commonly practiced in the United States, where the walls of homes are constructed mainly of drywall. For his partner’s “European” room, the speakers are surface-mounted just as they might be in a home in Europe, where brick and stone walls are the norm. 

Convening in Comfort
Alone time is good for any relationship, but the technology in this house also instills a sense of togetherness. No space does that better than the home theater. Sporting a Sim2 1080p video projector and a 110-inch Stewart FireHawk screen, along with a crescent-shaped reclining sofa, a rich-colored Turkish rug, and elegant draperies, the room is a real crowd pleaser. The burgundy-hued projector and rosewood-accented Meridian DSP5200 front left and right speakers stay out in the open, having been selected by the homeowners as architectural pieces that would enhance the room aesthetics. The screen hangs from the ceiling when it’s being used, but rolls up into a space between the ceiling beams to instantly transform the high-end theater into a formal living room. The heavy draperies that blanket the huge windows are motorized too, enabling the homeowners to darken the space by simply pressing the movie button on a Universal Remote Control handheld remote. In addition to signaling the Lutron Sivoia QED shading system, the command also activates the Meridian G68 audio/video processor and the projector, tells the screen to descend and directs the VideoReQuest server to show on a list of movies on the big screen.

It’s the Little Things
A powerful control system and sensational entertainment setups, combined with a sleek, contemporary design have given the 3,000-square-foot home a second wind. Of course, the homeowners aren’t about to let their place go to the dogs … and they mean that literally. “We have two dogs, and that means a lot of hair to clean up,” says David. Just like other tasks in the home, he and his partner have taken the high-tech route to housecleaning. Every day, five automated vacuums whisk away the dust, dirt and dog hair. “A few years ago I bought a Roomba from iRobot and loved it so much that I kept adding more,” says David. At 2 a.m. the vacuums detach from their docking stations to clean the floors in the main living areas. During the day, the vacuums upstairs go to work. The vacuums may not be the most glamorous electronic products in their house, but for David and his partner, they’re still an important facet of a high-tech lifestyle. “It’s just one more chore that we don’t have to do,” they agree. With fewer items on their to-do lists, the owners are free to relax and enjoy the awesome systems in their house. And that’s exactly what they had intended on doing.

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Lisa Montgomery - Contributing Writer
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.

Equipment List

Control System
Crestron Pro2 system
Crestron TPMC-8 WiFi touchpanels (2)
Crestron TPS-2000 touchpanel
Universal Remote Control MX-950 handheld remote
Universal Remote Control MX-850 handheld remotes (5)
Universal Remote Control MX-3000 handheld remote

Audio/Video Components
Sim2 HT380E 1080p HDTV video projector
Stewart Filmscreen 110-inch FireHawk screen
Meridian G68 audio/video processor
ReQuest music server
ReQuest video server
Toshiba Media Center PC
TiVo HD DVR
Microsoft Xbox 360
Elan D-1650 audio distribution amplifier
Furman Elite-15 power conditioner
Richard Gray’s Power Company 400 power conditioner
Marantz SR5600 audio/video receivers (2)
Sony 5-disc DVD changer
Moxi HDTV 40GB DVR cable boxes (3)
Apple Mac mini computer
Marantz DV4500 DVD player
Sony DVP-NS 75H DVD player

Speakers
Meridian DSP5200 front speakers (3)
Meridian DSP420 center-channel speaker
Meridian DSP33 rear speakers (2)
Velodyne DD-12 subwoofer
Sonance in-ceiling Symphony single-stereo speaker
Sonance Sound Advance SA2 invisible speaker
Sonance in-wall Symphony speakers (5)
Velodyne SPL1000 subwoofer
Sonance Dali on-wall Symphony speakers (5)
Velodyne DLS3750 subwoofer
Sonance Extreme in-ceiling stereo speakers (6)
Sonance Mariner 52 speakers (6)

Displays
Panasonic 42-inch HDTV plasma TV
Panasonic 22-inch LCD TV
Sharp 45-inch HDTV LCD TV
Ad-Notam 15-inch mirror TV
Sharp 37-inch LCD TV

Additional Systems
Lutron Electronics Sivoia QED motorized shades
Panasonic web-based surveillance cameras
Uniden wireless phone system
Jandy RS pool and spa controls
iRobot Roomba vacuums (5)


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