When it comes to outdoor spaces, “on the beach in Malibu” speaks for itself. This secondary residence of philanthropist Wallis Annenberg offers much more to enjoy than sunsets over the Pacific. Really, who wants to look at ocean views when there’s a 46-inch high-definition TV out on the deck? Who needs to walk in the sand when there are 10 speakers and an in-ground subwoofer pitching tunes on the patio?
We kid because this outdoor space offers an envious mix of scenery and entertainment. Both play major roles when you’re hosting as many important guests and events as Wallis, who carries on the charitable tradition of her late father, Walter Annenberg, as vice president and trustee of the Annenberg Foundation.
Wallis’ primary Los Angeles-area residence does not lend itself quite as well to entertaining, so she called on DSI Entertainment Systems to help transform the Malibu Colony home that sits on the beach side of the elite community. The location itself presented quite a challenge for the installation, which was part of a whole-house makeover with an emphasis on an outdoor area that features a long deck, pool and cabana. Plus, DSI had to be mindful of neighbors on both sides, as well as the aesthetic demands of the homeowner.
“Wallis didn’t want anything to be too visible, and the architect [Frederick Fisher and Partners] had a very heavy hand in the design,” says DSI’s Chris Montreuil. “The audio stops at the deck, because we didn’t want too much facing the beach. There are so many speakers that it really sounds even throughout.”
DSI installed five pairs of weather-rated Sonance Mariner speakers, and added an in-ground James Loudspeaker subwoofer for more low-end oomph.
Audio comes from the many DirecTV boxes in the home, a CD changer or Crestron iPod dock and XM tuner as part of the housewide A/V distribution system. While background music is big during parties, Wallis also wanted to ensure that she and her guests could watch TV—especially high-def sports—outside as well.
“She’s a huge sports fanatic and had to have some kind of outdoor display. She wanted to go with the biggest one possible, but we were limited,” says Montreuil. The largest outdoor-rated TV available to DSI was a SunBriteTV 46-inch LCD, which complements the many indoor viewing options and withstands the constant salt-air abuse. Square, trimless Sonance in-ceiling speakers sit flush in the overhang above the TV, architecturally seamless in a row of square recessed lights. A 4-inch wireless Crestron touchscreen puts a multitude of whole-home controls at Wallis’ fingertips, making any charity function a snap to pull off.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.