January 23, 2012
| by Tom LeBlanc
The solution was an integrated Crestron automation system. “We knew he had to have shade control. We knew he had to have music and lighting control. So we integrated that all into one control panel, instead of having multiple devices on the wall,” explains Austi.
No matter where they are in the condo, Eli and Abby are probably within arm’s reach of a Crestron controller. The kitchen, living room, master bedroom and master bath feature wall-mounted touchscreen controllers, and there are four wireless touchscreens throughout the home.
“I love that from [any] room, I can control anything I want,” Eli says. “I can wake up, take a shower and control the music in there. At night when I go to bed, I don’t have to worry about leaving lights on. I have an ‘ALL ON/ALL OFF’ button right by the door.”
The control system’s intuitiveness isn’t available out of the box; it takes programming and consultation. Audio Video Crafts spent time with Eli, discussing how he envisioned himself, his wife and his guests interacting with the touchpanels. That step is essential, Austi says, to create a control system that meets homeowners’ needs.
Battling the Sun
It’s easy to see why motorized shade control was so important to the Mannings. One step into the condo, and the New York City skyline becomes the immediate focal point. Wide windows dominate the rear walls, providing sweeping views across the Hudson and allowing sunlight to pour into the home.
It’s a give and take situation, Eli explains. “The view is great. At night it’s lit up. You can see the Empire State Building and whatever colors they’re displaying that night.” They enjoy the view during the day, too, but the glare is undeniable. “It beams through here, and it gets hot,” Eli says.
Audio Video Crafts’ addressed the sun issue with a dual-layer motorized shading system. One layer of Lutron’s Sivoia QED Roller 100 Shades kills the glare but allows in some light. “You can still see out of it,” Eli says. A second blackout layer blocks every ray of sunlight. That level of protection comes in handy when Eli is working at his computer, for instance. “It’s nice to have two different layers,” Eli says, as he demonstrates the one-button control.
Another benefit of the control system, one that Eli didn’t fully anticipate, is how it facilitates music listening. The Mannings’ CD collection is stored on a ReQuest media server. Eli says being able to scroll through his entire catalog on a handheld controller inspires to him to listen to music a lot more. “It’s just easier to get into my music collection,” he says while navigating his controller. “Satellite radio, CDs, iTunes, whatever.”