September 06, 2007
| by Lisa Montgomery
In Park City, UT, outdoorsy, lodge-style mountain homes are a dime a dozen. The style, defined by heavy timbers, milled logs and stone hearths, has become synonymous with the area, says custom home systems installer Craig Stulce of Safe & Sound Systems. “It’s hard to find something really original here.” But there’s at least one area homeowner who was eager to break out of the region’s design rut. “For my new home, I wanted to give some of those rugged, cowboys-and-Indians features a contemporary spin by adding modern elements like glass and metal to the design.”
Electronic systems were also a big part of the contemporary twist. With guidance from Stulce and his team of designers, the trendsetting homeowner created a living space that can be managed completely through the handheld remote controls and in-wall touchpanels peppered throughout the residence. The lights, thermostats, audio and video components, and multiple flat-panel TVs are all under the command of a Control4 home control system, which has had a huge impact on the homeowner’s lifestyle. “[The system] has completely changed the way I listen to music and watch TV,” he says. “And it has added a new level of convenience and given my home an incredible wow factor—not to mention better resale value.”
The expansive master suite plays host to some of the home’s most sensational displays of technology. Here, a 42-inch NEC plasma TV rotates on a custom-designed pole suspended from the ceiling near the foot of the bed. With just a gentle push, the set can be swiveled to face the sitting area, the bed or anywhere in between. Each main viewing area has its own set of built-in speakers that can be activated independently, depending on where the homeowner chooses to sit. When he’d like to watch movies in bed, for example, he presses a few buttons on a Control4 remote to activate the Integra 5.1 surround-sound system in the sleeping area. If he’d rather take in a show from the couch in the sitting area, he can tell the system to play the movie’s audio through that area’s pair of SpeakerCraft in-ceiling speakers.
The adjoining master bathroom is just as entertaining. A movie that’s playing on the bedroom plasma can be fed to the loo’s two Sony LCD TVs, one of which stays hidden behind a two-way mirror. Only when the set is powered on does it become visible through the glass. If the homeowner prefers, he can pick a different program for each display, like ESPN for the bedroom plasma and the Weather Channel for the set mounted by the whirlpool tub. The speakers are just as versatile. When they’re not dispensing audio from the suite’s TVs, they can be used to deliver music to the space, be it a single song that plays over every unit—including the surround-sound speakers over the tub and OWI waterproof speakers in the shower—or something different for each listening area.
No matter where the audio or video enters the room, thousands of entertainment options are available to the owner, thanks to a sophisticated system that distributes music and movies from a DVD/CD player and VCR in a nearby closet as well as from a Sony 400-disc DVD changer and Control4 media server based in an equipment rack in the basement. The Control4 system displays the owner’s extensive entertainment library on the screen of the master suite TVs and allows him to navigate the onscreen menu via buttons on a Control4 remote or wall-mounted touchpanel.
In the Mood
As the music or movie cues up, the owner can set the perfect mood. But rather than fuss with multiple wall switches to get the setting for the lights just right, the homeowner needs only to touch one button to dim the lights and activate the gas fireplace. Safe & Sound programmed several lighting scenes for the area, and they can all be activated through a Control4 remote or a touchpanel. “Some scenes were designed to showcase the room’s architecture while others were created purely for convenience,” Stulce explains. One of the homeowner’s favorites happens to be a simple all on command that activates every light in the bedroom and adjoining bathroom. “It makes the whole suite feel instantly welcoming,” the homeowner says.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.