March 04, 2013
| by Lisa Montgomery
The old saying, “the son of a shoemaker has no shoes,” doesn’t apply to custom electronics (CE) professional Mark Hernandez. Founder and owner of Cliqk, a custom electronics design and installation firm in New York, N.Y., Hernandez has been in the business of selling, designing and installing elaborate home control systems for nearly a decade, and the self-described techie has turned his own SoHo apartment into a 2,200-square-foot test bed of home innovations.
The open, flowing dwelling is a showcase of how technology can be tailored to a person’s lifestyle—without interfering with the design or requiring extra effort to use. One of the reasons Hernandez incorporated more than $300,000 worth of electronics into his pad was to give potential clients a place to experience useful home systems in a real-life setting. More importantly, says Hernandez, he added the products and systems for his own benefit. “I love this stuff,” he says. “I knew whatever I wanted was something I’d always want to show off to others.”
Keypads and touchpanels are commonly used in high-tech homes to operate lights, A/V equipment, thermostats and other gear. You won’t find much of that here. Hernandez is a firm believer in using mobile devices like his iPad to supervise his home. Better yet, the systems can set themselves without any human interaction at all. Take the morning routine. At the same time each weekday morning, one of three home control processors that Hernandez uses to show clients differences in the systems plays Radiohead at a low volume and slowly raises the window shades. A half-hour earlier, the system had signaled the tiles in the bathroom floor to heat up and the thermostat to warm the air in the house. Adjustments to these settings, like switching to a new source of music, are handled through several iPads, one of which Hernandez mounted in an old 1960s tube TV. The rest of his day unfolds like this:
7:30 a.m. Strolling into the bathroom, Hernandez presses a button on a sleek Lutron HomeWorks QS keypad to turn on a mirror TV. It goes straight to his favorite morning program: BBC News.
9 a.m. Ready to leave for work, which just happens to be in the same building as his apartment, Hernandez presses a goodbye button on the entryway keypad. This command turns off the lights and pauses the music. If he’s going to be gone for a few days, he can hold down the button to adjust the thermostat, lower the shades and turn off the audio and video components.
5:00 p.m. Engaging the welcome button on the entryway keypad turns on select lights, and pressing and holding the button gets the audio and video humming.
7:30 p.m. Hosting parties comes naturally to Hernandez. He simply touches a button labeled ‘party’ on a special app on his iPhone or iPad, and a Global Lounge playlist sounds through 18 Bowers & Wilkins ceiling-mounted speakers and four B&W subwoofers, one of which is installed into the kitchen island. At the same time, eight zones of nuLEDs colored LED lights activate, a disco ball lowers from a hiding spot in the ceiling, and digital video art fires from an Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5010 projector onto a 160-inch diagonal wall area that Hernandez painted with high-contrast Screen Goo. The art also pops up on dual Séura mirror TVs and a panoramic wall-mounted LG display near the entrance. When guests press the buzzer outside, the lights in Hernandez’ foyer flash as notification. One tap on the iPhone lets guests into the building; two taps send the elevator to pick them up and unlocks the apartment door.
Midnight. A goodnight routine—activated from a bedroom keypad, iPad or iPhone—sweeps through the house to dim lights, lower shades, adjust the thermostat and shut off the TV. Occupancy sensors positioned strategically outside the bedroom door illuminate a pathway to the kitchen if Hernandez gets up for a snack.
Check out this cool automated home by Cliqk here.
Look at these impressive steampunk-inspired home theaters.
Design and Installation by:
Cliqk Design Group
241 Centre Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10013
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.