May 03, 2010
by Arlen Schweiger
We’ve got to hand it to the owner of this gorgeous part-time residence in Scottsdale, Ariz. He’s in his late 70s and shows no signs of slowing down. Not only does he keep tabs on the North Carolina-based business he owns while he’s away, but he also works on a daily basis even when he and his wife are staying in the Southwest rather than the Southeast. A big reason he has never let technology pass him by. Quite the opposite, he’s turned to electronics to benefit both his business and home life.
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“He wanted something really simple to use, with central controls,” says Kris Kostner of local custom electronics firm Cinemagic. “He didn’t really have priorities other than wanting quality speakers and good sound throughout the house. Other than that, we threw a lot of ideas out at him, and there aren’t a lot of things we didn’t do.”
That’s an understatement. The homeowners may not have specified everything they wanted automated, but they did have a good understanding of what whole-house home controls could achieve - to the point where the husband picked Control4 as the automation hub of choice. Aside from a basic request to keep audio and video as discreet as possible, the homeowners entrusted Cinemagic to devise how electronic controls could optimally enhance the residence. That meant not only audio and video, but lights, shades, heating and cooling, surveillance, swimming pool, networking and more were fair game.
The result is one of the most robust Control4 installations we’ve seen, which incorporates a mix of practical and playful elements befitting this 10,000-square-foot home. That’s typified in the dedicated theater room, with its combination of both artistic and cinematic flair.
But the rest of the home by no means takes a back seat to the theater. The level of technology is evident before one sets foot inside. At the bottom of the driveway, the entry gate can be accessed through the Control4 automation system or the Cisco IP (Internet protocol) phone system. When someone buzzes at the call box, alerts are sent to every Control4 touchpanel in the home, and a snapshot from one of the 11 surveillance cameras is taken and transmitted. The owners can then pick up a phone and talk to the visitor on the intercom or simply press a button on the touchpanel to let him in. The gate can also open and close at preset times for hassle-free entry by gardeners and such.
As people wind their way up to this hillside home, they’ll notice plenty of lighting accenting the cactus-lined driveway and the glowing exterior. Much of the outside lighting is instructed by an astronomical clock to illuminate from dusk until 10 p.m. A goodnight scene programmed into the Control4 system dims the exterior lights (and interior ones) and shuts the gate if it has been left open.
All of the water features outside can be controlled remotely. This includes the temperature, pump, overflow and lighting controls of the dual-infinity-edge pool and spa, and on/off functions of two fountains and patio misters.
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.