July 03, 2007
| by Arlen Schweiger
An 8-foot entertainment unit that houses a 50-inch rear-projection TV doesn’t exactly scream elegance. (It doesn’t even whisper elegance.)
So when Audio Input was hired to help remodel this Joplin, MO, home’s master suite, the wall of A/V was the first thing to go.
“The homeowner was after a hidden installation, and it was night and day from before,” says Audio Input’s Perry Workman. “They had a huge entertainment unit in the bedroom … it was a big eyesore. It doesn’t take long to make [A/V equipment] look outdated, and the gear was roughly 10 years old. It was overwhelming for the room.”
Along with the entertainment unit, the room’s sterile decor featured mainly plain white walls, and Workman says the design was not very cohesive. Audio Input had updated the homeowner’s basement and home theater a year earlier, and now it was time to do the same with the bedroom, with assistance from Cheryl A. Swinney Interior Design.
The biggest change resulted from replacing the entertainment unit, including a 50-inch Runco plasma that in itself reduced some of that audio and video bulk. To help declutter the wall further and hide the TV, Workman suggested four ideas to the homeowner and designer: Let it rise from a furniture lift, hide it behind a piece of framed artwork, hide it behind a mirror, or let it drop out of the ceiling.
With elegance in mind, the homeowners chose the artwork option, which Audio Input obliged by using Media Décor’s motorized product that stores the plasma behind the canvas, mounted inside the wall, when not in use. The homeowners chose a limited edition Kim Coulter print, Cottonwood II, as the art and soon added another framed piece to adorn an adjacent wall, quickly making the space much more pleasing to the eye—with no enormous furniture to clash with the custom-built, oversize bed.
The only problem with the hidden plasma was the wall depth: Mounting the Media Décor artwork and plasma required 7 1⁄2 inches, and the viewing wall was only 4 inches deep. Workman resolved the challenge by pushing back the wall and shaving down the storage closet on the opposite side. In doing so, Audio Input had to lose the cabinets that were already on the wall inside the closet and eventually custom build replacement cabinets that stored the master suite’s A/V gear, including a receiver and DVD player from Integra, a Sony VHS, a Kaleidescape movie server, Panamax surge protection and an ATSC tuner.
To complement the room’s environment, two SpeakerCraft in-wall speakers were installed directly above the plasma screen (other in-ceiling speakers had already been incorporated) before Swinney Interior Design added silk wall covering throughout. When Audio Input upgraded the home theater, it included Crestron control for ease of use and duplicated it for the master suite. The homeowners can command all of the drapery through a touchpanel. Crestron-controlled lighting will eventually migrate into the accompanying bathroom and two walk-in closets.
“The homeowners wanted elegance, and the designers delivered,” Workman says. So much so that they’ll be tackling the guest room together next.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.