February 10, 2010
by Arlen Schweiger
Sometimes it takes a great electronics architect to put together a masterpiece of a home automation and electronics system. This Fargo, N.D., home is straight out of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural playbook, so perhaps it was only fitting that its automation and A/V are just as stunningly put together as its design.
The 7,200-square-foot home features a vista of a small waterfall along the Red River, and thanks to the help of nearby custom electronics pro VSI in Moorhead, Minn., the interior environs are just as serene—until the theater room is cranked up, that is.
But a tidy dedicated theater is just one of the many viewing areas for this busy couple, which wanted simplified operation over their home, including several ways to access all of what the overall Crestron home control system delivers. They also wanted plenty of ways to view TV, as well as photography on the screens—consider that well taken care of.
Here’s how VSI’s Jamie DeJean details the other major highlights of this gorgeous home (click on the slideshow for photos):
—A custom-programmed web page allows the owners to control the entire home from a laptop anywhere in the world. The automation package includes control of the audio/video system, security system, lighting system and motorized shades. Also, all of the systems can be accessed off-site by VSI to allow hassle-free updates and advanced troubleshooting.
—Fifteen Crestron touchscreens provide access to distributed audio, distributed video, lighting control, motorized shades, front door camera, and whole home intercom.
—As an avid photographer, the homeowner is able to exhibit art work on a multiple display video-wall. Photo collections are displayed on the home’s 13 video displays when entertaining.
—An extensive Lutron HomeWorks lighting system is integrated with the Crestron touchpanels throughout the home. The system allows them to press a “welcome home” mode to illuminate commonly used areas; a “good night” mode (all lights turn off except outdoor and master suite): “away” mode (all lights off except selected lights to make home appear occupied); or with a touch of a finger, turn all lights off. Specially designed vacation mode monitors lighting, then mimics/randomizes their lighting habits to provide additional security. Outdoor lights are automated to turn on at dusk and turn off shortly after sunrise complimenting the home’s design while providing the additional security of a well lit property.
—An ESI controller and Crestron touchscreens automate 24 motorized shades, giving the owners privacy while also reducing energy costs.
—The E-Holovision front door intercom plays a selected chime through particular audio speakers while activating Crestron panels to display images from the front door camera.
—Twenty-eight zones of Crestron distributed audio include five outdoor zones and four surround-sound systems. Audio sources available throughout include two Crestron AM/FM tuners, two Crestron XM tuners, two Motorola cable music boxes, and an Escient Music Library.
—The home includes 13 zones of Crestron distributed high-definition video, and the system gives the owners the ability to view any source on any video display in the home. Distributed video system incorporates two Motorola HD DVRs, an Escient DVD management system with 400-disc DVD player, and four Roku HD photo players.
—To protecting the electronics investment, VSI installed a GE Concorde system featuring complete home security, allowing the owners control from convenient key fobs, 10 Crestron in-wall touchscreens, five Crestron handheld touchscreens (including at the night stand), or anywhere in the world by computer.
With VSI putting in so much legwork, the only real questions left for these homeowners on a nightly basis are what to watch, and where to watch it?
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.