May 03, 2010
by Stephen Hopkins
An integrated and automated home rarely looks as it did prior to the installation. Lighting fixtures and blinds may be changed, or paint and more may be required to hide installation scars. But some installs, like this one, require a softer touch. When automating the home of one of San Fransisco Bay’s most prominent interior designers, no aesthetic changes would be tolerated.
(Click here to view additional photos.)
The existing design elements could not be altered, And believe it or not, no wire pulls, paint or drywall patches were involved in this whole-house automation makeover—an impressive feat when considering over 75 lighting loads, antiquated battery-powered shades, HVAC, and pool/hot tub were integrated without making a single hole.
Not only is the homeowner a renowned interior designer, but he’s also extremely reluctant to embrace modern automation. After the initial referral, the installer first automated only the main living room lighting with a basic control panel. A few weeks later, the homeowner had electronics installer Twilight Sounds back out to integrate the rest of the home, along with pool, hot tub and exterior lighting control.
Two existing automation elements—aging battery operated shades and a phone-operated hot tub controller—had to be seamlessly integrated with the Crestron control system. That proved to be a difficult proposition, requiring the technical expertise of two outside sources.
With the help of a Hunter Douglas engineer, the decade-old shades were converted from battery power to line voltage and integrated with the Crestron control system.
The hot tub control system made use of an existing Category 5 cable run, though only a twisted pair was utilized. With the help of a local Pentair installer, the hot tub control was preserved while exterior lighting, pool lighting, and heated pool temperature controls were integrated using the four unused pairs.
Stephen Hopkins is chief technology editor for EH Publishing. He writes product reviews, features, and focuses heavily on 3D TV, iPhone and iPad apps, and digital content.