Eyes Are Everywhere in Automated Home
BRONZE WINNER: (tie) Best Home of the Year
Custom-programmed control system tells homeowners everything.
They say a little information goes a long way. That couldn’t be truer in this 5,800-square-foot quad-level. Numerous Crestron home control touchscreens show the owners which electronic systems are in use, where they’re being used and how they’re being used.
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The only missing piece of data is who’s using them; although that could be easily surmised by peering at the floorplan on the screen. A red flag in the playroom, for example, could indicate that the kids are watching a movie.
“If the owners see that, they know to choose a program from a different DVR if they want to watch something else in a different room,” says Max Angst, systems engineer at Maxsystems in Van Nuys, Calif. Or, they could use the phone system to call the kids to the kitchen table to finish their homework.
This degree of “system feedback” isn’t for everyone, admits Angst. It can be a bit overwhelming to see the status of every security sensor on the first floor of your house, for example. But in this case, the owner was comfortable with the technology and felt that the more information he had about his house, and at his fingertips, the better he’d be able to manage and enjoy it.
By knowing that the shades are up in the family room, for instance, the owners can determine if the lights in that room should be switched off - and make the change from anywhere in the house. They can also figure out if a window has been left open before leaving for work by viewing the security page on any touchscreen. And there’s no way someone might accidentally interrupt an important football game by blasting tunes from the whole-house audio system. The system “locks” out music in any area where a TV is in use.
For the most part, system feedback helps the family react to certain conditions, but there are some alterations that occur automatically based on data gathered by the system. Like the motorized shades that raise and lower based on the room temperature. And the lights that switch on and off while the owners are away to make the empty house look occupied.
Many of these schedules were programmed into the Crestron system by Maxsystems. But the owners are free to set up and tweak the routines as they see fit. “They’ve adjusted the levels of the lights in some of the pre-programmed scenes and created a few scenes of their own,” says Angst.
Although the owners love interacting with the systems in their house, they intentionally kept touchscreens, keypads and wall switches to a minimum so that nothing detracted from their extensive art collection and the home’s modern decor. Only one tiny keypad or touchscreen adorns the wall of each room so that the family can pick audio and video for that area and operate its lights and motorized shades.
To control anything in the house, the owners rely on wireless touchscreens, which can be placed inside drawers or cabinets when they’re not being used. TVs are stowed inside cabinetry, and audio and video components are hidden inside a special equipment room in the basement.
As tricked out as this house is, Maxsystems is preparing for phase two of the project. In a few months they’ll be back to transform a detached garage into a dedicated theater. Will a similar tell-all control system be designed for the operation of the theater gear? “You betcha,” says Angst
When Art & Technology Collide
The owners of this remodeled home rely on a variety of electronic systems to showcase and protect their extensive collection of artwork.
Motorized window shades can be lowered at the touch of a button to protect paintings from sunlight.
Lights have been preprogrammed to come on at certain intensity levels to accent particular pieces of art.
Security sensors and surveillance cameras watch over the gallery.
Stealth in-ceiling speakers and LED lighting reduce visual distractions.
Whole-house music creates a relaxing atmosphere conducive to admiring art.
Systems Design and Installation
Van Nuys, Calif.
J. Staff Architect
Los Angeles, Calif.
Thousand Oaks, Calif.
5,800 square feet
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