Penthouse Gets Crestron Control for Lights, Music, Theater
Automation with a personal touch.
December 09, 2011 by Grant Clauser

Just because you have an advanced control system, doesn’t mean you have to hand it the keys to the house and let it run the show. The owner of this16-room, 6,000 square foot penthouse in New York City wanted a control system that did everything, but let him define the parameters.

So that’s exactly what CE Pro Bri-Tech delivered. Company president Brian McAuliff explains that the Crestron system which integrates all of the this home’s technology—including lights, shades, thermostats, audio, video and security—is as advanced as they come, but allows the homeowner to easily personalize the system to his needs so he doesn’t have to call the programmer back every time he wants to change a light setting.

That bit of personalization is thanks to an interface called Symbiant Automation designed by Bri-Tech for use on the Crestron system. “We’ve written an application around what our clients most value. It includes a lot of drill down into all the systems,” says McAuliff. For instance, the users can easily create and save new lighting scenes or adjust the startup volume for every audio source in the residence. That’s all done via a few simple taps and gestures on one of the many Crestron touchscreens installed.

That might seem like a small convenience, but often control system lock the users out of such features and require a house call to adjust. That can be inconvenient for both parties.

The drive behind such a user-customizable system, says McAuliff, is the fact that people are getting much more comfortable with technology thanks to products like iPads. “People are getting used to doing things themselves and having a depth of personalization,” he adds.

Doing things themselves, in this case, doesn’t mean the homeowner could have done an integration job like this himself. The software development took more than a year to complete. In the residence are thousands of feet of wire, hundreds of LED lighting zones, several integrated televisions and a multiroom audio system. All of the windows, which offer a stunning view of Manhattan clear to the Hudson River, include dual shading (blackout shades and sheers) from Lutron with independent control. Seura Mirror TVs were installed in every bathroom so the homeowner never has to miss any news or sports program.

There’s even a player piano that’s connected to the Crestron system. From a touchpanel or remote the user can select a song and start the piano playing.

Aside from the player piano home audio is supplied by a variety of sourses including a Crestron ADMS media server, SiriusXM Radio, a rack of cable set-top-boxes and iPod docks throughout the home. TVs in every room also receive content from a central location and supplied over the Crestron system.

The home uses elaborate LED lighting as aesthetic features. LEDs in the ceilings can change color at the whim of the user. McAuliff says most of the ceilings in the penthouse had to be removed to install the lighting features and to run wires for other parts of the system.

For the owner, the highlight is the home theater in a former bedroom. A SIM2 LED projector shines the high definition image on a Stewart Cinecurve screen. B & W speakers fill the room with sound. The room itself received a lot of acoustic attention from Bri-Tech including custom-designed sound isolation and sound treatments by Auralex. “We really spent a lot of time perfecting that room, every dimention, every surface,” says McAuliff.

Check out the slideshow for more images inside the penthouse.

Technology Design and Integration: Bri-Tech
Interior Design: Braverman Designs
Control System: Crestron
Televisions: Samsung, Seura, SIM2 (projector)
Lighting and Shades: Lutron
Speakers: Bowers and Wilkins
Time to Complete: 1 year
Cost: $750,000

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Grant Clauser - Technology and Web Editor, Electronic House
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.

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