May 31, 2011
by Steven Castle
You own a stylish wallpaper company and want to entertain clients in a setting that mixes business and pleasure—along with strong doses of whimsy and technology. What to do?
If you’re the owner of Flavor Paper, which makes high-end wall coverings, including scratch-n-sniff wallpaper, you buy a four-story building in Brooklyn, N.Y., gut and renovate it to house your business offices, showroom and screening press—as well as apartments for employees. And you top it off with your own extremely entertaining digs.
Then you go one step further and equip it with a whole-building control and entertainment system so you and your guests can move seamlessly from your penthouse to the showroom to the printing press and more. “When [the owner] entertains for business, the party is in the showroom and his apartment, as well. He wanted the music to follow him wherever he was,” says Andrea Reiner of custom electronic design firm Innerspace Electronics of Port Chester, N.Y., which was charged with the task of designing the building’s free-flowing control and entertainment systems.
The penthouse shows off the owner’s contemporary and whimsical style, with a living room that features a fireplace with gas-lit flames rising from the floor, a kitchen with a leather surface on the walls, a bedroom with a faux fur surface, and even an exercise room and DJ booth with near-holographic wallpaper that portrays a musical scene.
Video displays throughout swivel out on mounted arms from Chief Manufacturing or appear behind mirrors in the bath, so the owner and his guests can be entertained no matter where they are in the building. There’s also a Epson PowerLite 1735W multimedia projector that can be used to view wallpaper samples right on the wall in the showroom.
A total of 13 audio zones throughout the building allow the owner to wake to music in his bed and bath, then hear the same stream in the elevator and down in the showroom or press area. For continuous music, all he has to do is touch an ALL-ON button on a Crestron touchpanel or his iPhone, or he can activate any zone at one of the several in-wall Crestron displays. B&W in-ceiling speakers are sprinkled throughout the penthouse, while SpeakerCraft in-ceiling speakers in the showroom and screening press areas deliver music stored on a 500GB ReQuest media server.
The penthouse also has two surround-sound systems, in the living room and bedroom, where the owner is engulfed in sound from the in-ceiling B&W speakers. In both areas, Triad InWall subwoofers provide the necessary boom. Video comes courtesy of Samsung and Sharp flat-panel LCD TVs on swiveling mounts from Chief Manufacturing.
Even better, the DJ booth allows him to create mixes and stream them throughout the premises during parties. “We integrated the mixer into the system as a source,” says Victor Vega, the Innerspace engineer who programmed the Flavor Paper system.
Think the interior design and entertainment systems in this building make bold statements? They’re accentuated by a swarm of colored LED lights that are controlled via the Crestron system. LEDs shine from around the bed frame in the bedroom and highlight the striking interior design throughout the penthouse and its rooftop deck.
The colorful LEDs created a problem for the custom electronic (CE) pros at Innerspace Electronics, though, because many of the LEDs flickered as they were being dimmed by a Lutron HomeWorks system. Innerspace had to find the right modules for the Lutron system to be able to control the lights. The owner uses the Crestron controllers and HomeWorks system to select different colors of lights.
Innesrspace also programmed several lighting and entertainment scenes into the system. According to Victor Vega, an Innerspace engineer, there are scenes for ENTERTAIN, NIGHT, AWAY, VACATION, PARTY, and CHILL—among others.
The CHILL button dims the lights, lowers Lutron Sivoia QED motorized shades, and turns on music at a low level, while the PARTY mode lights up the whole place and delivers music to every room. The owner can use any of several in-wall or portable Crestron touchpanels to trigger the scenes.
And of course, he can use his iPhone. EH
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates