You won’t find amenities like these on the walls of any old home office. Planted within the Venetian Tuscany–finished shell of this elegant 252-square-foot space are a 90-gallon saltwater fish tank with automated lighting, a 48-inch plasma TV hidden behind a motorized canvas painting, an 8-by-10-inch digital picture frame and a Control4 touchscreen that can operate every electronic device in the room and throughout the entire home. “When I bought this condominium, it was very blank and boring,” says owner and professional interior designer Brian David. “I added water-gilded moldings to all the doors and windows; constructed decorative arches, columns, soffits and a heated platform; and put in travertine brick walls and heated marble flooring to create an old-world, Mediterranean-style decor.”
Brian completed the look by bringing in a team of home systems experts to integrate a host of electronic components into the space. Cytexone of New York City added a Control4 home management system to choreograph the lights, music and video effects in the room. One touch of an icon on the screen arranges everything. scene 1, for example, brightens the chandelier, wall sconces and accent lights around the fish tank; warms up the Nuheat floor-heating system, and sends the sound of crashing waves and seagulls through a pair of in-ceiling Niles speakers. “The command creates a serene, peaceful feel that’s perfect for working,” says Brian. In this setting, the homeowner can gaze at the seascape depicted on the Vutec motorized canvas. At the touch of the Control4 panel on the wall or the wireless 10.5-inch touchpanel on his desk, he can change the mood as the artwork rolls up inside a frame to reveal a Hitachi plasma TV. A Sony Blu-Ray player, hidden inside a closet, spins the movie of choice while the lights dim. If it’s a sunny day, Brian can close the motorized Hunter Douglas window shades via a handheld remote.
Sounds of the sea evoke a relaxing environment, but this room can also rock. The Control4 system gives the owner access to a satellite radio receiver as well as a Control4 media server that holds hundreds of audio choices, all conveniently cataloged by genres like classics, R&B and rock. Brian can choose to have the music play only in the office or in every room of the home. The wireless Control4 touchpanel is very amenable to being controlled on a whim, says Cytexone CEO Dan Levine. “The homeowner can carry the panel with him and use it to control any device in any room,” Levine comments. For this reason, Cytexone programmed several global commands into the system. arrival home, for example, disarms the security system, sets the lights and turns on the music. Then there’s leaving home, a command that sweeps through the condo, turning off all the A/V equipment, the illuminated Onyx sink bowls, the in-wall fountains, the lights and the floor-heating system while arming the security system.
The eye-catching home office packs a lot of electronic elegance, but in this condo, the wow factor extends far beyond the custom-crafted marble-topped mahogany desk. No matter where the owner goes, the electronic systems enhance the elegant, old-world design and decor of this city dwelling.
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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.