June 02, 2009
by Lisa Montgomery
How do you define fun? Does a night curled up on the couch in front of a big-screen TV tickle your fancy? Perhaps conversing with friends over a couple of cocktails is your idea of an enjoyable evening. When you’re ready to let loose, though, great music and an awesome dance floor is a combination that’s hard to beat. This 2,000-square-foot space caters to all of the above and more, giving its owners a venue for all types of entertainment.
Because it’s such a multipurpose space, lighting was a very important element of the design, says Joe McNeill of Electronics Design Group (EDG) in Piscataway, N.J. “We programmed the Lutron Homeworks Interactive control system to produce a variety of lighting scenes for activities like dining, entertaining and dancing.”
One of the most elaborate scenes, though, has to be PARTY. Touching that button on a wireless Crestron touchpanel triggers a sequence that transforms a portion of the room into a full-fledged disco. Sirens sound off as a series of hidden disco lights begins to warm up. After 120 seconds, a hatch in the ceiling opens and a motorized platform descends into the room to reveal rigging for an array of gel spotlights, effects projectors, disco balls, and a professional JBL speaker system. “The disco lights come on at full crazy mode and a preselected disco song plays through the sound system,” says McNeill.
After the fantastic entrée, the owners can use the Crestron touchpanel to select a new song from the hard drive of a ReQuest audio server, XM or Sirius satellite radio tuner or an iPod that’s been placed on the Crestron docking station at the bar. For extra effect, EDG rigged a system that enables the lights to flash along with the beat of the music. There’s even a fog machine controllable through the Crestron touchpanel. EDG installed the fogger inside the base of the bar to keep the dance area free of equipment. While the Crestron control system makes it easy for the homeowners to run the show, there’s always the option to bring in a professional disc jockey for special events. The space is ready for it, having been outfitted by EDG with special wall jacks for the professional equipment.
If and when guests are able to pull themselves off the dance floor, they can sit back with a movie provided by a 60-inch LG high-def LCD TV at the far end of the room, catch a couple of ball games on the two 26-inch LG units at the bar, head to the seven-seat theater just past the French doors or simply relax and soak in the room’s most eye-catching element, a 15,000-gallon saltwater aquarium loaded with flounder, stingrays, lobster, bluefish and other types of Atlantic Coast aquatic life that the owner reeled in himself. The Crestron system helps protect the indigenous fish by alerting the homeowner of changes in water temperature. It’s just one more way the homeowners make this multipurpose entertainment space come alive.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.