Cool Homes
Penthouse with Wealth of Stealth A/V
A blend of old and new technologies help adorn the clean lines of this penthouse.
image
SILVER WINNER: Home of the Year
Slideshow and Related Content
image
View Slideshow

May 04, 2009 by Steven Castle

This Manhattan loft has a bit of everything in its 5,600 square feet. There’s a minimalist aesthetic, but paired with lots of high-tech goodies. There’s some good-old analog audio—with vinyl records, no less—combined with the latest in digital streaming. There are hundred-year-old walls and energy-efficient lighting and shading. And to top it off, there’s an 1,800-square-foot roof deck and spa a few steps above.

The owner appreciates technology, but didn’t want to see a lot of equipment. “The architectural approach was very minimalist, and he wanted to match that aesthetic with the technology,” says Mark Hermann of electronics design and installation company EPI Systems Integration of Brooklyn, N.Y.

The entire space was gutted, save for the scalloped ceiling, and 14 zones of audio put music to the clean design of architect Jasmit Singh Rangr.

But boy, do the musical choices vary. The owner loves listening to his LPs on a Basis turntable and through stereo Vandersteen tower speakers in the library. But he isn’t a diehard from the analog age; he also loves Internet radio, and for that he can queue up a Logitech Transporter digital streaming device that plays Internet radio stations or his digital music files in any zone. In addition, a VINYL button on one of the Crestron home control panels sends music from the record player to speakers throughout the house.

He can also listen to music from the cable TV system or from one of three Crestron iPod iDocks throughout the spread. It’s all operable via EPI’s award-winning customized interface on the Crestron touchpanels.

EPI mounted several of the owner’s Vandersteen speakers on the walls between the windows in the kitchen, dining and living room areas, where they fire through the drapery fabric. In the bathroom and dressing areas, Snell bookshelf speakers are placed above cabinets and pointed up to achieve optimal acoustics with the curved ceilings. In one bathroom, two spherical Anthony Gallo A’Diva speakers are used for this purpose.

“We had to find a way to provide directed sound from invisible speakers, so we reflected the sound off the parabolic shape of the ceiling.” says Hermann.
The media room and master bedroom utilize Thiel ViewPoint speakers on either side of the Runco plasma screens, with Thiel HigherPlane in-ceiling speakers used for the surround sound in the media room. There’s no center speaker, but EPI carefully calibrated the sound via the media room’s Lexicon MC-12 audio processor to create a phantom center channel. Two in-wall Snell subwoofers fire from below the screen. A dozen Boston Acoustics Voyager speakers are concealed on the two roof decks, some along a railing behind live bamboo.

There are other sustainable touches as well, such as the energy-efficient and dimmable cold cathode lighting fixtures and motorized shades that ascend and descend via timers to let in natural light and block out the summer’s heat. A Lutron lighting system governs all the lighting, including modern in-floor uplights that streak the interior hallways and roof parapet and hidden fixtures that reflect light dramatically off the ceiling.

The shades ascend and descend depending on the time of day. There are also custom shading scenes for the weekends and for the kitchen and living room areas. Lutron Sivoia QED blackout shades descend in the master bedroom, and on the south side Somfy motors raise reverse counter-weighted shades from the floor to preserve the old-style brickwork.

Simplicity is the key to controlling all of this. The owners can use in-wall Lutron seeTouch panels to turn lights on and off as they enter spaces, and all the graphical interfaces on the Crestron touchpanels are the same and can control any of the 14 audio zones. Several party modes with preset lighting and music scenes are available, and some of the audio zones like the two on the roof can be combined.

Click here to view additional photos.

Follow Electronic House on Facebook and Twitter.


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.

Installers/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
EPI Systems Integration
Brooklyn, N.Y.
http://www.episi.com

Architecture
Rangr Studios
New York, N.Y.

Main Area
Crestron Pro 2 Processor
Crestron PAD 8A Audio Switcher (2)
Crestron CNAMPX 1260 (2)
Crestron C2ENET-1
Lexicon MC-12 EQ4 Audio Processor
Lexicon LX-7 Amplifier
Scientific Atlanta HD-DVR (2)
Slim Devices Logitech Transporter

Kitchen/Living/Dining Room
Crestron TPS-6L touchpanel
VanderSteen on wall speakers (6)
Crestron CEN-IDOC
Crestron TPS-RFGWX Touchpanel

Media Room
Runco XP-65 DHD plasma TV
Thiel ViewPoint speakers (2)
Thiel ViewPoint spacer kit for speakers
Thiel HigherPlane 1.2 speakers (2)
Snell AMC Sub-10 subwoofers (2)
Sony BDP-S2000ES Blu-ray player (bar area)
Crestron CEN-IDOC (bar area)
Crestron TPS-RFGWX (see drawing)
Crestron TPMC-8X + Docking station
Crestron ML-600 + gateway
HD Cable box

Dressing Area
Snell CLS speakers (2)
Crestron C2N-DB12W

Bathrooms
Anthony Gallo A’Diva speakers (2)
Crestron ML-600 + gateway
Snell CLS speakers (2)

Master Bedroom
Runco SP50-DHD plasma TV
Thiel Viewpoint speakers (2)
Thiel Viewpoint spacer kit for speakers
Crestron CEN-IDOC
Crestron TPMC-8X + Docking station
HD Cable box

Study
Thiel Higher Plane 1.2 speakers (2)
Bracket for existing LCD TV (TBD)
Crestron ML-600 + gateway
HD Cable box by client

Bulkhead Stairwell
Crestron TPS-6L touchpanel

Roof: Main Deck
Boston Acoustics Voyager 6 speakers (1)

Roof: East Deck
Boston Acoustics Voyager 6 speakers (2)
Crestron WPR-48 + gateway


Newsletter Signup
Don't miss a single cool home. Sign up today to receive your FREE weekly e-mail newsletter.
E-mail Address