High Tech Mountain Retreat
Bridget Jones’ Diary ©Buena Vista Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Photo by Brian Griffin.
A homeowner mixes modern tech with a traditional mountain decor to create an extraordinary living space.
In Park City, UT, outdoorsy, lodge-style mountain homes are a dime a dozen. The style, defined by heavy timbers, milled logs and stone hearths, has become synonymous with the area, says custom home systems installer Craig Stulce of Safe & Sound Systems. “It’s hard to find something really original here.” But there’s at least one area homeowner who was eager to break out of the region’s design rut. “For my new home, I wanted to give some of those rugged, cowboys-and-Indians features a contemporary spin by adding modern elements like glass and metal to the design.”
Electronic systems were also a big part of the contemporary twist. With guidance from Stulce and his team of designers, the trendsetting homeowner created a living space that can be managed completely through the handheld remote controls and in-wall touchpanels peppered throughout the residence. The lights, thermostats, audio and video components, and multiple flat-panel TVs are all under the command of a Control4 home control system, which has had a huge impact on the homeowner’s lifestyle. “[The system] has completely changed the way I listen to music and watch TV,” he says. “And it has added a new level of convenience and given my home an incredible wow factor—not to mention better resale value.”
The expansive master suite plays host to some of the home’s most sensational displays of technology. Here, a 42-inch NEC plasma TV rotates on a custom-designed pole suspended from the ceiling near the foot of the bed. With just a gentle push, the set can be swiveled to face the sitting area, the bed or anywhere in between. Each main viewing area has its own set of built-in speakers that can be activated independently, depending on where the homeowner chooses to sit. When he’d like to watch movies in bed, for example, he presses a few buttons on a Control4 remote to activate the Integra 5.1 surround-sound system in the sleeping area. If he’d rather take in a show from the couch in the sitting area, he can tell the system to play the movie’s audio through that area’s pair of SpeakerCraft in-ceiling speakers.
The adjoining master bathroom is just as entertaining. A movie that’s playing on the bedroom plasma can be fed to the loo’s two Sony LCD TVs, one of which stays hidden behind a two-way mirror. Only when the set is powered on does it become visible through the glass. If the homeowner prefers, he can pick a different program for each display, like ESPN for the bedroom plasma and the Weather Channel for the set mounted by the whirlpool tub. The speakers are just as versatile. When they’re not dispensing audio from the suite’s TVs, they can be used to deliver music to the space, be it a single song that plays over every unit—including the surround-sound speakers over the tub and OWI waterproof speakers in the shower—or something different for each listening area.
No matter where the audio or video enters the room, thousands of entertainment options are available to the owner, thanks to a sophisticated system that distributes music and movies from a DVD/CD player and VCR in a nearby closet as well as from a Sony 400-disc DVD changer and Control4 media server based in an equipment rack in the basement. The Control4 system displays the owner’s extensive entertainment library on the screen of the master suite TVs and allows him to navigate the onscreen menu via buttons on a Control4 remote or wall-mounted touchpanel.
In the Mood
As the music or movie cues up, the owner can set the perfect mood. But rather than fuss with multiple wall switches to get the setting for the lights just right, the homeowner needs only to touch one button to dim the lights and activate the gas fireplace. Safe & Sound programmed several lighting scenes for the area, and they can all be activated through a Control4 remote or a touchpanel. “Some scenes were designed to showcase the room’s architecture while others were created purely for convenience,” Stulce explains. One of the homeowner’s favorites happens to be a simple all on command that activates every light in the bedroom and adjoining bathroom. “It makes the whole suite feel instantly welcoming,” the homeowner says.
Most of the master suite’s lighting scenes are engaged by pressing a button; however, Safe & Sound set up a few that happen automatically. At the homeowner’s preferred wake-up time, for instance, the Control4 system gently raises the lights, softly plays a favorite piece of music, sets the TVs to the correct news channel, and adjusts the thermostats.
Scenes like these occur in every area of the house at all times of the day. When the homeowner opens the garage door at night, for example, the Control4 system instantly illuminates a pathway to the entryway, down the hallway and into the kitchen. Another popular scene sets up the home theater, by lowering the lights and activating all the necessary equipment including a Seleco video projector and Integra 7.4 THX surround-sound receiver.
Aside from the master bedroom, the dedicated basement-based theater is the homeowner’s favorite spot to sink into the plot of a movie. As in the master suite, hundreds of video choices are available through the Sony mega DVD changer, local DVD player, VCR and high-def satellite receiver. The Control4 system presents the choices on an eye-popping 110-inch Da-Lite screen, which is accompanied by a 7.4 surround-sound system including five Triad in-wall speakers, two SpeakerCraft in-ceiling speakers and four in-wall Triad subwoofers.
Not one to sit in one spot for very long, the homeowner incorporated an exercise area into the theater. Situated between the seats and screen, a rowing machine and stationary bike allow the homeowner to work up a sweat while watching an interactive exercise video on the big screen. “The videos actually put you in the middle of a race against other bikers or on a skiff rowing against another team,” explains the homeowner. Although the videos are engaging, he says they’re no substitute for old-fashioned willpower.
Together, the TVs in the bedroom, bath and theater account for nearly 200 inches of movie-viewing real estate. But that’s just brushing the surface of this home’s viewing capacity. “One thing I wanted to be able to do in this house was to watch any movie I wanted from any room,” he says.
Safe & Sound granted his wish by installing an assortment of good-size flat-panel TVs in the great room, home office, kitchen, hearth room and the kids’ bedrooms. While hardly a room is without a TV, the displays never overpower the home’s unique style the homeowner calls “Nouveau West.” Every set was attached to some type of mount that precluded the need for large, bulky pieces of furniture. Instead, the TVs skim the walls, becoming a natural element of a room’s architecture and design. And the best part is they all have access to any and all video component on the property, including four color surveillance cameras.
A Different Tone
Plasma TVs, metal swivel mounts and home control touchpanels have given this mountain-style home the touch of modernity it needed to stand out from its rugged, rough-hewn neighbors, while affording the owner the conveniences and comforts of living with some of the smartest home technologies available. The Control4 system succinctly manages every electronic feature of the home, giving the owner more time to soak in the distinctive elegance of Nouveau West.
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