High-Tech Home Additions Better Late than Never
Motorized devices, lighting systems, surveillance cameras and pool controls weren’t at the top of their wish list, but these homeowners are happy to have them now.
Credit: Joseph Hilliard
July 20, 2010 by Arlen Schweiger

Link Your House installed a 110-inch Draper screen for that job, but more impressive to the homeowner was the use of a Draper lift that makes the high-def Epson projector disappear into the ceiling as well. The room’s sound equipment features unobtrusive Polk Audio THX-certified in-ceiling speakers for all five surround channels, paired with a compact but powerful 8-inch, 800-watt Sunfire subwoofer and amplifier. Even after equalization and calibration measures from Audyssey and Sencore products, the sound quality isn’t quite up to golden-ear standards, but it’s more than satisfying for the discerning husband, who has a background in professional A/V.

Light Their Fire
The installation of the lighting controls and complementary motorized window treatments weren’t an afterthought, but they weren’t in the original project plans, either. The owners couldn’t decide which windows would receive window treatments and which would not, as evidenced by the media room’s untreated glass. So it wasn’t until more than a year after the wiring phase ended that Link Your House retrofitted for the motorization.

“Prior to Sheetrock [installation], I shot a video of the wiring that was placed to enable optional motorization for each window,” says DeFilippis. “Using the video as a guide, the electrical wiring was surgically extracted and made available for the window treatment installers.”

Somfy’s wireless platform made adding controls for the blinds and drapes much easier, as the installers were able to cut just about anywhere on the walls to fit the DecoFlex keypads.

The project grew even more when the owners decided to add lighting control to the automation system. Link Your House incorporated about 80 lighting loads using the UPB (Universal Powerline Bus) protocol. This protocol enables commands from the automation system to travel to lights over the home’s existing electrical wiring, affording a simpler installation than with specialty cabling. Thanks to the integration within the HomeLogic rig, preset “scenes” make controlling banks of lights simple, and housewide commands can be transmitted from touchpanels or an iPhone.

“We weren’t going to do the lighting automation at first, but that turned out really well since there are way too many switches to remember what controls are what,” says the husband. “We don’t even use the switches anymore. We just use the panels. They’re labeled much better than the switches, and it works out better for guests since they’d never figure out what all the light switches control. We didn’t do all the bedrooms with the automated switches, but we’ll probably do that at some point.”

Watchful Eyes
As much as the man of the house digs the 23 zones of audio that deliver tunes from iPods, satellite radio and cable music channels, he’s become almost as big a fan of the security and surveillance system. While traditional security devices for entryways and such were part of the original plans, it wasn’t until much later that IP (Internet Protocol) surveillance cameras were added, creating a truly robust security and monitoring system for the homeowners.

Panasonic cameras in the rear of the house were programmed with six presets to save time on panning, tilting and zooming. At the click of his iPhone, the owner can scan areas by the swimming pool, fire pit, cabana, pontoon boat, ski boat and jet skis. That comes in handy when the owners are at their primary residence a couple of hours away.

“I use the security history to see who’s been in the house, like cleaning people, contractors, etcetera,” the owner says. “With the cameras in the front and back, I can see who’s there and also see if the pool is working. I can see if it’s icing in the winter, if the covers have blown off the chairs, if the sprinklers are working and pretty much anything else that I would check on in person.”

Pool and spa controls were also a late project addition—and a perk that keeps the owner, well, perky. Sometimes, he can’t help but play around with the surveillance and pool controls in tandem. “The edge of the pool toward the lake is like an infinity edge, and he can control that,” says DeFilippis. “Water spills out into the collection area, and he can turn it on or off, sometimes remotely—he’ll be watching the cameras as he does it, so he can see it kick on.” And … aha!

Frank DeFilippis on the home’s living room art lift, and other benefits of motorization:

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com and Electronic House magazine.

Systems Design and Installation
Link Your House
Norcross, Ga.

Harrison Design & Associates
Atlanta, Ga.

Gilstrap Edwards
Atlanta, Ga.

Window Treatments
V2K Window Decor
Atlanta, Ga.

Equipment List
S86A audio distribution amplifiers
VSE2, VSE volume controls
Elios Speakers
Outdoor Speakers
CVWP component video baluns

2310ci receivers
1709 receivers

101 speakers
VCS-10 center channel speaker

TGR-401 amp
HRS8 subwoofer

LCi-RTS100 THX speakers

RPW-10 subwoofers

Motorized, Tab tensioned Access V Screen
Micro Projector Lift

Sonesse 50
Sonesse 30
Glystro 25
3, 4 and 5 Channel DecoFlex wall controllers
20 Channel Telis Remote (for programming)
URTS 2 serial interface

Home Logic
Home Brick – 80GB
8.4” Wireless Touch Screens
Software Tabs – Home, Security, Lighting/Windows, Cameras, Audio, Climate, Pool/Spa, Irrigation
Serial Brick – Std.
Serial Brick – Irrigation
Serial Brick – Pool/Spa

POE injectors

GS116 16-port 1000Mbps switch
FS108 100Mbps switch

Middle Atlantic
84” ERK rack
Shelves, power distribution, wire management, thermal management


UPS HS-500

HCM-531A IP Camera
HCM-580A IP Camera

T1-B rf remotes
RM433 antenna
RP6 processors
ECB-5 IR hubs

Xantech designer style emitters and covers

Sharp, Sansung LCD TVs

AppleTV, Wii

Omni IIe controller, keypads, C3 Cellular Communicator
Wi-Ex Dual Band Cellular Booster – zBoost YX600

Walt x-2 outdoor volume control
Outdoor speakers

Sonance FS-21 iPort dock

Moxa NPort 5400 IP to Serial controller

DVP-SR11P DVD players
BDP-s360 Blu-ray players

DLO HomeDock Deluxe iPod docks

Motorola cable boxes, DVRs

Simply Automated
UPB Masters
UPB Slaves
UPB Universals
5-button faceplates
Phase Coupler
PIM module
Controlled Outlets

TPS Surge Protection

Phone Line Protection

LIT-4 Serial Irrigation Protection

TK-CT2 Amp Pro Outdoor Audio Protection

CE Labs 2-Channel Audio Distribution Hubs

Aviosys IP Video 9100A

Lift TECH motorized art lift

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1080 video projector

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