Big Rebuild Gives Owners New Respect for Home Automation
AMX controls over extensive subsystems and housewide A/V, integrated by Smart Homes of Texas, earn their keep.
August 07, 2013 by Lisa Montgomery

The owners of this luxury, custom-built house have regained an appreciation and fondness for home technology. Not that they every really hated it. “They just weren’t all that happy with it or believed that it added any real value to their house,” explains Justin Dohman of custom electronic design and integration firm Smart Homes of Texas, McKinney, Texas.

Hired recently by the couple to install electronic systems into their house, Dohman says it was their experience with a high-end home automation system years ago that had them questioning the usefulness of technology to their lifestyle. “The system they had been using did what it was supposed to do but was overly complicated and confusing to interact with,” he continues.

New Attitude
Those feelings of discontent would take an unexpected turn, though. After their home was destroyed in a major fire and plans for a rebuild commenced, Dohman introduced them to a new type of home automation system—one that could be monitored, managed and controlled from an iPad app, and would be carefully programmed to make interacting with audio and video components, the lights and thermostats as effortless as turning on the kitchen faucet. They decided to give home technology another try.

As the couple drew up plans for the 14,000-square-foot rebuild, not much would change design-wise from their previous house. “It was almost an exact replica,” says Dohman “except for the home control system.” Rather than follow in the unfortunate footsteps of the homeowners’ previous integration firm, Dohman chose a completely different control system; incorporated devices that would simplify rather than confuse the process of operating lights, thermostats and other gear; and integrated a more robust and versatile audio and video system. Dohman would top off the technology overhaul with a fresh, modern take on design. 

Breaking into Song
This time around, the couple decided to focus much of their attention—and electronics budget—on a whole-house audio system. They wanted music to touch every part of the house, not so much for serious, critical listening but for background music to enjoy while cooking, relaxing or hosting a dinner party. “She [the lady of the house] especially likes to have the music on as she goes about her day,” says Dohman. “And her taste is very eclectic. One day it might be Top 40 hits, the next classical piano music.” Most of the time, the songs come from an iPod that’s docked in one of three in-wall iPort cradles. However, there’s also plenty to stream from an integrated Sonos system

Music can travel to three independent surround-sound systems, as well as to 32 pairs of Focal IC 908 speakers. Recessed into the ceiling of every room, almost every speaker pair is accompanied by an in-wall Velodyne subwoofer. “Even though they listening casually, having the bass of a subwoofer really adds to the experience,” Dohman says. Each subwoofer is driven by its own amplifier, and backboxes for the speakers were built into the walls to maximize their output.

Related: Give Your Built-in Speakers an Audio Boost 

Toys in the Attic
As important to the owners as their audio system’s performance, was its appearance and its ease of use. Every speaker grille was painted to match the surface of the ceiling, and custom grille cloth was applied to cabinetry custom-designed to hold the front left, right and center speakers of each surround-sound system. “The painter did such a good job, you’d never know there were $300,000 worth of speakers and subwoofers in this house,” says Dohman. And absolutely nothing gives away the power behind the audio, as every amp, processor and player was neatly tucked away in an air-conditioned attic. “The owners didn’t want to see the equipment or even be close to it, for that matter,” Dohman explains of their choice to utilize the attic for A/V storage.

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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.

Systems Design & Installation
Smart Homes of Texas
McKinney, Texas

Interior Design
Regina Eskew
Southlake, Texas

Equipment List
Control
2 AMX Ni4100 controllers
6 AMX NI3100 controllers
4 AMX Modero MVP-5211i wireless touch panels
22 AMX Modero NXD-700VI touch panels
3 AMX Modero NXD-1000VI touch panels
2 AMX Metreau entry communicators
AMX Iweather
AMX Virtual Ipad and Iphone keypad
AMX CSG-580 sip gateway

Rack
6 Raxxess 44u
3 Raxxess R24 rotating racks

Wiring
25 500 ft rolls ICE 2+2+fiber cable
28 500 ft rolls ICE 16/2 speaker cable
5000 ft ICE Fiber optic cable
10 500 ft rolls ICE 12/2 speaker cable

Audio
32 pairs Focal IC908 in-ceiling speakers
64 custom made back boxes
20 Velodyne SC-IC / SC-IW subwoofers
20 Velodyne SC1250 Amplifiers
4 AMX Tango 8x8 matrix amplifiers
1 AMX Stereo 16x16 stereo switcher
3 Sunfire Grand home theater processors
3 Sunfire Grand home theater 200x7 amplifiers
6 Focal 1007BE speakers
3 Focal 1007s speakers
3 Velodyne DD12 subwoofers

Video
11 Samsung plasma’s and leds
1 AMX Epica DGX 16x16 Fiber matrix swither
11 pairs of Epica DGX Fiber optic baluns
6 Denon DVD2500BTCI BluRay players
Sanus TV mounts

Cameras
Computar Ganz 5mp IP Camers
Computar Ganz Ip camera server
30 TB network storage


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