Desert Home Stuns with Automation, Views
Arizona home full of automation and mountain views.
SILVER WINNER: Best Home of the Year
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May 03, 2010 by Arlen Schweiger

Then there’s the interior of the home. Lighting control is prominent throughout, as Control4 devices are used to operate the roughly 350 wireless ZigBee dimmers and switches. To simplify the control of so many lights, in-room touchpanels are generally locked to operate the lighting in that room only, aside from global settings like goodnight, or pathway lighting from the garage to the kitchen, for example. Motorized shades enhance the lighting scenes by opening and closing on command from a touchpanel.

As for the homeowner’s request for quality sound throughout, 30 zones of music, including five surround-sound areas, and lots of Bay Audio loudspeakers have it covered. Pairs of in-ceiling speakers serve most rooms, but Cinemagic made necessary changes to tricky spots like the dining room. In there, a barreled hardwood ceiling would have made built-in speakers difficult to install and unsightly, says Kostner, so instead the team mounted two bookshelf-sized models above the perimeter soffit.

“We mounted the speakers facing upward so you don’t see them, and used the ceiling as sort of a parabolic reflector,” he explains. “So they’re invisible, and the sound is surprisingly good.”

About 350 CDs were loaded into a Control4 server, and music from an AM/FM/XM tuner and DirecTV boxes can also be selected. Cinemagic also incorporated A/V details like installing flat-panel TVs, many of which were surrounded by cabinetry, on articulating mounts to appear as if they are floating and flush with the millwork.

Of course, for daily business use, one of the most important high-tech features for this homeowner is the computer networking system. Cinemagic set up the remote network so if a call is transferred to him or if he needs to access something on the server in North Carolina, it’s as if he’s right there instead of 2,000 miles away. Plus, because of the Control4 programming, it runs both ways - when the owners are in North Carolina, or anywhere else with a web browser, they can manage the Arizona home controls in a matter of clicks.

Mountain Charm
The dedicated theater room in this Arizona home blends right in with its surroundings. It’s one of the few areas in the house not blessed with beautiful panoramic vistas of the nearby mountains, so Cinemagic brought the local mountain ranges inside.

They’re not just pretty pictures, either. Crafted from dual 1-inch-thick acoustic absorption layers and spaced another inch apart so the edges could be backlit, the mountain mural silhouettes act as acoustical treatments for the theater walls.

The murals fade like the night sky from the rear to the front of the theater, and viewing movies in there really makes the owners feel like they’re outdoors. The ceiling received a fiber-optic starfield, but like the murals, it’s not any old design. 
The stars and constellations are oriented to correspond to the direction the room faces, and are arranged to recreate how the sky looked on the owner’s birth date. Filler stars can be dimmed to make constellations like Orion and the Big Dipper 
further stand out.

When the theater fires up, shooting stars may turn off but others remain on and don’t impact the images on the 120-inch SMX CinemaScope aspect ratio screen. The Marantz projector can beam Blu-ray and satellite TV content, and speakers and subwoofers from Sonance and Artison can rock the room. The front channels of the 7.2-channel surround configuration hide behind the acoustically transparent screen, while the rest of the surround speakers and Artison subs are concealed in the walls.

An equipment rack dedicated to the room’s components and sources provides easy access for repairs or tweaks, and a 7-inch wireless Control4 touchpanel provides easy operation of all the room’s electronics.

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for and Electronic House magazine.

Installer/Equipment List

Systems Design and Installation
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Home Size
10,000 square feet

Control4 HC300 - control processor
Control4 TSM7 - 7” wireless touch panel
Integra DHC-9.8 - preamp/processor
Integra DTA-9.4 - Amplifier
Artison RCC600SA - subwoofer amplifier
Samsung BD-P1500 - Blu-ray player
Marantz VP-11S2 - projector
Prismasonic H-FE1500R - anamorphic lens
Custom mount interface for lens/projector
SMX ProCurve 120 - acoustically transparent 2.40:1 screen
Sonance Cinema Ultra II - in-wall speakers (7)
Artison RCC600SM - in-wall subwoofers (2)
Control4 LDZ-102 - dimmers (5)
Control4 LSZ-102 - switches (2)

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