November 14, 2007
| by Lisa Montgomery
Gunter and Gloria’s affinity for music was what got the whole technology ball rolling. “The theater was actually something we thought about later after Jason showed us a demo at the Conundrum showroom,” says Gunter. Even though the theater was designed for commercial cinema-quality movie viewing, sporting a 130-inch Stewart Filmscreen screen, Vidikron DLP 1080p projector, Meridian 7.1 digital surround-sound system and Vantage Q dimmable lighting, the homeowners admit they use the 15-seat space more for concert listening than anything else. “We lengthened the layout of the room and tweaked the audio so that no matter where you sit, you feel like you’re sitting in a concert venue,” says Perez. “We still load the [concert] DVDs the old-fashioned way, by loading them manually into a DVD player, but someday we’ll get a DVD server,” Gunter professes.
Tapping into a music server is a daily event in other areas of the home, like the master bedroom, great room, wine cellar, patio and bathroom shower stalls. From a nearby AMX panel, Gunter and Gloria can view an alphabetical listing of songs stored on the hard drive of an Escient Fireball media server. A list of XM Radio stations can be called up on the panel, too. Gunter and Gloria simply touch what they want to hear and where they want to hear it, and the ADA Suite 16 system pipes the audio to the appropriate speakers. “It’s so much easier than having to carry a radio with you wherever you go,” Gloria enthuses.
Easy Does It
It’s just as easy to control the home’s 12 thermostats, 20 motorized window shades, dozens of lights and security sensors, and 90-foot waterfall that spills into to a quarter-acre pond that wraps around the house. “By pressing buttons on a touchpanel, we can change the intensity of the waterfall from a roaring river to a meandering stream,” says Gunter. The intensity of the lights can be adjusted on a dime, too. With the help of professional lighting designer Melissa Conchilla of MAC Design Group in Harrisburg, PA, Conundrum Technologies programmed every fixture to adjust to specified intensity levels on command from an AMX touchpanel. These lighting scenes were designed to accentuate the unique construction of the home as well as certain decorative features. “Wood tends to absorb light, so having the right amount of illumination was particularly important,” says Perez. The Preusses need only touch a button labeled entertain, dinner or cooking to bring the lights to the perfect level. “One of our favorite arrangements, though, is issued by the sleep button by our bedside that switches off every light on the property before we go to bed,” Gloria says. From the same bedside touchpanel, they can adjust the temperature throughout the house and close the shades.
Although the AMX system is capable of moving every west-, east- and south-facing motorized window treatment automatically according to the position of the sun, for now, the Preusses are perfectly content controlling them manually from the touchpanels. “The options are endless,” says Gunter of the AMX home management system. “We’ll eventually add on more capabilities, but right now we’re just enjoying things the way they are.”
And what about all those wild animals roaming the yard? Technology maintains order there, too. Thanks to slick programming by the Conundrum Technologies team, an Apex Destiny 6100 security system and Vantage/LeGrand Q lighting system keep the beasts at bay. Whenever strategically placed outdoor motion sensors detect that a critter has stepped into the yard at night, they signal the Vantage system to pop on a few exterior lights to scare the unwanted visitor away.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.