April 15, 2010
by Arlen Schweiger
We might expect that a town home that’s 8,500 square feet has a bit of everything inside. This gorgeous piece of a multi-dwelling unit that sits at the end of the Baltimore harbor definitely has that, along with a ton of cool technology to keep everyone occupied.
The views of the harbor are nice, but the distributed video system gives every room some drool-worthy TV and movie viewing, especially the dedicated home theater. There are 12 zones of video, where family members can choose from satellite TV, cable or the movie library stored on the Kaleidescape server. In the theater they can also watch true high-def Blu-ray flicks, when they’re eyes aren’t gazing at the fiber-optic star ceiling above.
The family can also tap into music stored on the Kaleidescape system, as well as Sirius/XM radio or AM/FM from the distributed audio system that routes to 31 zones throughout the place, through numerous B&W ceiling speakers. That includes the rooftop patio.
“The homeowners must only follow a few simple steps to operate the system,” says Jay Basen of Maryland-based Gramophone, which outfitted the town home and set up its Crestron whole-home automation system. “First, they choose their name from a list on a touchpanel or hand-held remote control. Then, when they choose a source, such as cable TV, to watch or listen to, the specific cable TV box assigned to them follows them to whatever room they are in. This keeps people from changing the channel on another family member when they are watching TV in another room and any shows recorded by a family member follow them to whatever room they are watching from. This programming uniquely hides the complexity of an extensive A/V system with multiple cable TV boxes, satellite receivers, and Kaleidescape players from the family.”
There are 29 touchpanels around the home, and they can operate much more than just the A/V. According to Basen, other controls include:
- Allow simplified control of the 15-zone Daikin HVAC system from any touchpanel.
- Integrate with a Lutron lighting system that automates lighting including turning key lights on at dusk for safety, simulating occupancy when the homeowners are away, using occupancy sensors to automate lights in key rooms for safety and energy savings.
- Allow control of the Lutron system from any touchpanel or Crestron ML-600 remote control.
- View the current outside temperature and weather forecast on any touchpanel.
- Integrate with the security system.
- Pop-up display of security cameras on touchpanels when the doorbell is pressed. The homeowners can then remotely unlock the appropriate door from either the touchpanel or after talking to the visitor from any house phone.
- Allow simplified control of 42 electrically operated shades and nine drapes from both Crestron touchpanels and Lutron keypads. These shades and drapes cover windows that give spectacular 180 degree views of the Baltimore harbor.
- Pop-up display of caller-id information on touchpanels when a phone call is received.
Click here to see additional photos.
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.