Hands-Off Install Leaves No Traces of Work
SILVER WINNER: Best Integrated Home $15-$50K
Custom electronics pro Twilight Sounds brings a San Francisco-area homeowner reluctantly into the 21st century, as slickly as possible.
An integrated and automated home rarely looks as it did prior to the installation. Lighting fixtures and blinds may be changed, or paint and more may be required to hide installation scars. But some installs, like this one, require a softer touch. When automating the home of one of San Fransisco Bay’s most prominent interior designers, no aesthetic changes would be tolerated.
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The existing design elements could not be altered, And believe it or not, no wire pulls, paint or drywall patches were involved in this whole-house automation makeover—an impressive feat when considering over 75 lighting loads, antiquated battery-powered shades, HVAC, and pool/hot tub were integrated without making a single hole.
Not only is the homeowner a renowned interior designer, but he’s also extremely reluctant to embrace modern automation. After the initial referral, the installer first automated only the main living room lighting with a basic control panel. A few weeks later, the homeowner had electronics installer Twilight Sounds back out to integrate the rest of the home, along with pool, hot tub and exterior lighting control.
Two existing automation elements—aging battery operated shades and a phone-operated hot tub controller—had to be seamlessly integrated with the Crestron control system. That proved to be a difficult proposition, requiring the technical expertise of two outside sources.
With the help of a Hunter Douglas engineer, the decade-old shades were converted from battery power to line voltage and integrated with the Crestron control system.
The hot tub control system made use of an existing Category 5 cable run, though only a twisted pair was utilized. With the help of a local Pentair installer, the hot tub control was preserved while exterior lighting, pool lighting, and heated pool temperature controls were integrated using the four unused pairs.
Given the number of loads and architectural elements integrated, you might expect multiple control points throughout the house. Instead, the entire system is controlled using a single 12-inch Crestron panel in the kitchen area.
Rather than having multiple control points, the homeowner has learned to love schedule-based control and custom lighting profiles. He loves the various profiles so much that the ability to edit and create his own presets on the fly was a major requirement of the layout and programming of the single controller.
Audio/video distribution and home-theater are conspicuously absent from this integrated home. In the entire house, there’s only a single television and stereo viewing/listening area. Automating the baby grand piano wasn’t in the cards, either.
Those interior designers can be hard to please, but this one seems happy with the minimalist invasion of high technology in his designing life.
See No Evil
While working within the constraints that nothing in the home be altered, custom electronics installer Twilight Sounds helped move the homeowner into the 21st century while modifying existing technology he was already comfortable and satisfied with.
The project exemplifies how automation systems do not necessarily need to be all encompassing, but more important, they need to meet the requirements of homeowners. This owner, reluctant to have modern technology installed, tested the waters with a one-room overhaul, and soon realized that more extensive controls could enhance his life, too.
Just a few weeks later he had Twilight back out to wire the entire house, outside, pool and hot tub. At the owner’s behest, just as much care was required of Twilight to leave no trace of its work, even when integrating the Pentair pool system to the automation system over existing Cat 5 burial line.
Walnut Creek, Calif.
Thousand Oaks, Calif.
3,200 sq. ft.
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