Home Gets High-Tech Overhaul in Just 2 Weeks
The family room and whole-house system of this South Carolina home was transformed while the owners were on vacation.
GOLD WINNER: Best Before and After
Slideshow and Related Content
View Slideshow

June 09, 2009 by Steven Castle

When this home overlooking historic Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C., was originally purchased, it was already equipped with a distributed audio system, volume controls in various rooms, a multidisc DVD/CD player and a multitude of remote controls.

But over the course of a decade, those technologies became outdated, and the homeowners grew disgruntled with their system’s inability to keep pace with new entertainment options. Wires were strung about the house for Internet access. TVs had poor and intermittent reception. The in-coming satellite antenna cabling was wrapped around the electrical service conduit feeding the house. And control cabling was unavailable at any volume control location.

A lot had to be addressed in this high-tech upgrade, including a structural redesign of the family room entertainment hub. Making it all the more challenging was a tight deadline: The project had to be completed in two weeks while the family was away on vacation.

Electronics systems contractor eLifespaces of Charleston, S.C., went quickly to work. A technician who was upgrading the security system identified efficient cabling channels for structured wiring, including Category 6 data cables and RG-6 video cable, as well as for control system wire to two strategic locations. After that, control would be wireless.

The top portion of a wall that cramped the home entertainment system space was removed, opening up the area, and the old cabinet and A/V gear was taken away. In went a new custom cabinet that holds the home’s Crestron control processor and audio/video gear, including a Crestron iPod dock. The cabinet is topped with a 50-inch Pioneer HDTV plasma screen and is vented by an Active Thermal Management fan, through slots on the countertop and on either side of the TV.

Three Sonance Cinema Ultra II front speakers were mounted in the wall behind, and a Sonance Cinema subwoofer was placed behind the cabinet’s storage drawers and ported through the cabinet’s kick plate.

Speaker wire runs behind crown molding en route to two Sonance Ellipse in-ceiling surround speakers, and another Sonance subwoofer in the back of the room. An Integra DTR-8.8 receiver controls the 5.2-channel system and the Inteset music and movie media server.

Although the homeowners knew their home needed a systems upgrade, they really didn’t know what was available.

“They had an idea about what they wanted in terms of aesthetics, but they didn’t have a clue about entertainment,” says Fred Fabian of eLifespaces. “They didn’t know about the iPod control [through the Crestron control system] or the Inteset media server, and they love that.”

Click here to view additional photos.

Follow Electronic House on Facebook and Twitter.

  Find an Installer
  Find custom electronics installers who provide home theater systems,
  lighting, home automation, A/V and more! Click here to get started.

Steven Castle - Contributing Writer
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates.

Installer/Equipment List

  Find an Installer
  Find custom electronics installers who provide home theater systems,
  lighting, home automation, A/V and more! Click here to get started.

Systems Design and Installation
Charleston, S.C.

Crestron AES-SR
Cretrson CEN-IDOC
Crestron TPMC-8X Touchpanel
Pioneer PDP-5010FD Plasma Display
Sonance Cinema Ultra II LCR (3)
Sonance Ellipse In-ceiling Surrounds (3)
Sonannce Cinema Sub System (2)
Inteset Denzel Media Server
Integra DTR-8.8 Receiver
Microsoft XBOX360 Elite
Pioneer BDP-95FD Blu-ray Player
Gefen EXT-HDMI-142
Honeywell/Ademco Security system
Middle Atlantic Rack SRSR
Peerless mounts
Panamax 1500-UPS; M5300PM
GE Connection Center
Windy City Wire
Cisco Air-AP
Ultralink Interconnect Cabling

FREE Charter Platinum Membership
Claim your FREE Charter Platinum Membership to EH Network and receive 6 FREE issues of EH Magazine.*
First Name
Last Name
Email Address

We understand your email address is private. By granting you access to the EH Network, you agree to receive email communications from us, including our newsletters. You can manage your subscription at any time in the future.
* The new EH Network launches and your free subscription begins December 2014.