Here’s a recipe for creating a great kitchen: First, plan for ample space, because the kitchen is often the social hub of a home. A top-notch kitchen allows plenty of opportunity for people to cook, eat and chat. The cook of the house whips up some appetizers while family members or guests sit at the counter and recount the day’s events. There should also be enough space for two or more people to work in the kitchen without bumping into one another.
Add a really nice stovetop and oven—perhaps professional grade—and a large refrigerator. Mix in other appliances to your taste. Create a counter where people can sit for a casual bite. A large work island is ideal. Top the counters with marble. Cover the floors with stone or tile. Be sure to include richly hued cabinets and decorative and functional lighting. Add water (and sinks). Then serve.
But what happens if the big game is on, or the family is watching a rollicking movie as someone prepares dinner, or kitchen work turns to drudgery because there’s no music system nearby? A kitchen may be a social hub, but it’s often left as an electronic Siberia when entertainment and home control systems are added to a house.
Not in this home. A full-course meal of entertainment and convenience options is on the menu here. There’s audio via six Sonance speakers in the ceiling, a nearby CD player and an iPod input. There’s video from an LCD TV, home control from a Crestron touchpanel and surveillance from cameras around the property on another touchpanel.
“The homeowners like to cook and spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so they requested to have the room serve as a ‘command center’ with full automation control,” says Josh Christian of electronics installation company DSI Entertainment Systems.
Via the Crestron touchpanels, the owners can control any of the expansive home’s audio/video, lighting, heating and ventilation, and security needs, including preset scenes for entertaining that highlight the beautiful kitchen cabinetry or for listening to their favorite music. “They can simply turn it to a preset jazz station on satellite radio,” Christian explains.
In one corner of the room is a wired 15-inch diagonal Crestron touchpanel with full automation control. This doubles as a second TV monitor, augmenting the 20-inch Sharp LCD that articulates on an arm at the other end of the room. A wireless 10.4-inch Crestron screen is used to control the automation system from the island, the sink area or the breakfast nook. Video from a TiVo digital video recorder (DVR) is often viewed on the 20-inch LCD, while the Crestron touchpanels are reserved for home control (one of them is always set to display video from the security cameras).
In the pantry is a Marantz five-disc CD carousel if the family wants to listen to a disc, as well as an input for an iPod if they feel like snacking on some personal music. “All the kids in the house have iPods, and [when] they want to connect them to the system, they just plug into the CD player in the pantry,” Christian says.
Perhaps what’s most impressive about the options in this kitchen is what isn’t here. An extensive offering of entertaining entrées is cooked up in a mechanical room elsewhere in the home but made available to the kitchen through the Crestron whole-house network. Three Sirius satellite radio tuners can be accessed via an Antex Triple Play receiver. There’s also a DirecTV music receiver, an AudioReQuest hard drive–based music server and an FM tuner (remember those?). These are aided by an AudioControl receiver and a transmitter. The family can also listen to tunes from a grand player piano that has an audio output.
Safety and convenience features include the ability to view the security cameras on the Crestron touchpanel, set task lighting for kitchen activities and listen to the music system, reports Christian. Some of the lighting scenes highlight the custom cabinetry, marble countertop textures and stonework. “The kitchen has become a focal point for the family to enjoy fine food and company,” says Christian.
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