May 01, 2008
by Arlen Schweiger
When you have 40,000 square feet in your home, it’s easy to get lost. Good thing this Cleveland-area homeowner typically spends most of his quality time in one particular place. With all the fixings this master suite contains, you can’t help but unwind there.
The suite features his-and-hers bathrooms, a main bedroom and a sitting room, all with access to home automation, distributed audio and distributed video systems. All of the rooms have a television, but none of the setups are your everyday wall-mounted flat-panel screen.
For this busy businessman, the day gets jump started in the bathroom, where hitting a fav button on a Crestron keypad tunes to CNBC and a classic rock station on XM Satellite Radio. Thermostat and lighting settings automatically adjust to predetermined levels. The his-and-hers bathrooms were given equal electronics treatment from professional installation company NETEAM AVI, including a pair of in-ceiling RBH speakers and 20-inch Sharp Aquos LCD TVs behind one panel of the three-section mirrors.
“Originally we were going to put TVs on brackets in the bathrooms,” says NETEAM residential designer Eric Chupack, who notes that design partners Valene Loar and Paula Jo Boykin of Spectrum Design Services had recently visited the Wynn Hotel Las Vegas “and saw some things with TVs that we ran with here whenever we could to make it look better.”
That extended to the video presentation of the 50- and 42-inch Panasonic plasmas in the bedroom and sitting rooms, respectively, with carpentry help from Joe Tesauro of P&T Builders. In the master bedroom, for example, a plasma was originally supposed to be incorporated into a pop-up lift from the foot of the bed, but that idea morphed into recessing the TV within custom millwork that surrounds the fireplace and using a Vutec Art Screen to conceal it. “[The homeowner] jokes that every TV in the house should have one of those,” Chupack says of the art screen. NETEAM also installed RBH’s Signature Series bookshelf speakers in unfinished mahogany, so painters would be able to match them with the finish on the lavish mahogany millwork.
In the sitting room, the Panasonic plasma also has a very seamless appearance, housed behind a custom mirror in a 3-inch frame created by the builder. Mounted above an elegant marble buffet, the frame helps the plasma blend with the room decor and includes ventilation on the top and bottom to prevent overheating. A Crestron sensor also monitors the temperature, so if the TV reaches a certain point, the unit turns off and Crestron emails a warning to both the homeowner and NETEAM AVI.
“The art screen really gives the space a ‘wow factor,’ and the homeowner certainly enjoys the fact that the TVs are all out of the way or behind mirrors,” Chupack says. “When you build a house as large as this, I don’t think you really know how you’re going to be living in it. He tends to spend the most time in the sitting room, which has become his escape.”
Helping make the escape truly great is convenient access to a ton of audio and video sources that allow the owner to select housewide content from the likes of a ReQuest music server, five iPod docks, Nuvo AM/FM/XM tuner, DirecTV and cable high-def DVRs, an AMX video server with 750-DVD capacity, several DVD players, two CD players, a dozen closed-circuit cameras, and even a Yamaha player piano. If he really wants, it’s simple for the homeowner to start watching a movie while he’s taking a bath, roll through the middle of the film in the sitting room and catch the end as he relaxes in bed. And if he falls asleep during the last 10 minutes? Well, maybe CNBC can take a backseat the following morning.
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.