June 24, 2010
| by Lisa Montgomery
It can be difficult to envision how a whole-house music system, lighting system or control system will look and function in your house.
What you need is a graphic representation of the setup. By sketching out key items on paper and tacking them to the wall (ask your custom electronics installer to do this), you’ll get a better idea of how you’ll use and benefit from the technology. Here’s what you should pin up:
1. Keypad and touchpanel locations. Where are the best spots for the keypads and touchpanels you’ll be using to operate your electronic systems? You can test out several locales by tacking up renderings of these control devices. Near doorways, beside beds and around hallways are good places to start. Ask your CE pro to make the sketch of the keypad and/or touchpanel as realistic as possible so you can get a good feel for the types of devices (lights, motorized shades, audio/video equipment, for example) you might be operating from each control location.
2. Photos of products. You chose those in-wall speakers months ago, so it’s understandable that you’d forget what they look like. By pinning photos of items like speakers, subwoofers, TVs, new cabinetry for your A/V components, etc. to the wall, you’ll not only remember, but be able to imagine, how these items will impact the design and decor of the room. This could be weeks before they’re actually delivered to your house, which may give you time to rethink your plan if necessary. For example, after seeing the photo of your subwoofer attached to the wall of your family room, you might decide to rearrange the furniture or ask your installer to build the sub into the floor so that it’s less conspicuous.
3. Decorative elements. Will the wood veneer of the speakers match the living room baseboards? How well will the color of the motorized draperies look against your chocolate-colored walls? Gather up all the fabric swatches, paint chips, and wood samples planned for the room and pin them up so that you can see at a glance how the design elements will coexist with the technology.
4. Renderings of the rooms. Ask your CE pro to create a 3D rendering of the room, complete with furniture placement, speaker and TV locations, wall and fabric colors … anything planned for the space. You’ll be able to view all of the elements together as a complete package before the actual design and installation of your systems begins.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.