Home Loaded with Hidden TVs, Speakers



- Home of the Year

Electronics are creatively concealed in this impeccably designed Ontario home.

May. 01, 2008 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

When your entire house stands as a work of art, you don’t want electronics cluttering the view—even if it’s a sleek-looking 65-inch plasma screen. For these London, Ontario, homeowners, the massive fireplace concealing that plasma TV receives as many oohs and ahs as the big screen itself. And that’s just one of many eye-bulging views in this ultramodern home.

Certain building restrictions in the area were lifted when the neighborhood developer moved out of town a couple of years ago, relates Rick Ho of electronics installation firm London Audio. “This was the third project we’ve worked on for these homeowners, and a lot of the interior finishes, appliances and design lines were from condos they’d seen vacationing in Florida and Arizona,” Ho says. “In this neighborhood, they’re surrounded by traditional old-money, ivy-clad style homes. You’d think the other homeowners would be chasing them away.”

The two previous homes on which London Audio collaborated with these owners included a more traditional primary residence and a condo in town. After spending a lot of time checking out other luxury spaces, especially during their stays at a vacation condo in Arizona, the homeowners sought a more sophisticated design for this home.

The resulting stone finishes, stone tile, floor-to-ceiling glass and skylights are great for aesthetics but not so great for blending with audio/video demands. “The first project we did for them included a large media room with a 100-inch screen, a stack full of black boxes and flashing lights—exactly the opposite of what they wanted in this home,” says Ho. “In the old home, the home theater was in the basement, and in this one they wanted ground-level living. They wanted entertaining space on the ground floor but still wanted the entertainment invisible.”

Finding ways to hide the audio/video gear in the great room proved to be a challenge. For one thing, a projection screen that could drop down from the ceiling was not an option because of the light from four large skylights. The big open space also features a fireplace with a limestone facade flanking woodwork on one side, a glass-encased wine storage room in the rear, and more than 30 feet of windows that look out onto the backyard.

In this case, London Audio worked closely with Skinner & Skinner Architects and woodworker William Tyssen to tweak the fireplace dimensions and add depth to house the 65-inch Runco plasma TV. Rather than hang a flat-panel over a fireplace, the team stowed the TV behind a panel that retracts and slides upward and out of the way when it’s time to watch TV or a movie. A cavity between the back of the TV and the venting for the fireplace provides an area for cabling to run to the attic, and from there it is sent through a raceway down to the basement equipment rack.

Surround sound in the great room comes via SpeakerCraft’s motorized Time ceiling speakers, which drop into listening position and can tilt and rotate by remote control. An REL Acoustics 12-inch subwoofer built into a wall also stays hidden from view but can definitely be heard and felt.

A Draper FlexShade system lets the owners drop privacy blinds or light-reducing blinds, and they can adjust the many fixtures within the Vantage lighting control system to emphasize any mood they wish to create. Four lighting circuits in the wine cellar along with a spectacular chandelier in the adjacent dining room can make for dramatic scenes when the homeowners are entertaining, and they can pull music from a Sony 400-disc megachanger, Crestron Adagio server or Escient iPod dock to enhance the atmosphere. Managing the great room’s concealed plasma TV, window blinds, extensive lighting and even the wine cellar’s thermostat are among the many activities the owners can take part in through the home’s robust Crestron automation system.

And that’s just the great room. Down the hallway, the open-design concept takes another fun turn with a kitchen that feeds into a game room. A 60-inch LG plasma in that area, which features a billiards table, is on a motorized tilt and swivel swing bracket. The flexibility allows it to be viewed from the kitchen, game room and an enclosed patio room.

For the master suite, TVs receive the concealed treatment. A 42-inch Runco pops up and swivels from the footboard of the bed so it can be viewed from anywhere in the room. The en suite includes his-and-hers vanities, with his-and-hers 15-inch LG LCD monitors behind 9-foot mirrors. “It looks like they’re hovering in space,” Ho says of the TVs. “It was something they’d seen in homes in Phoenix and insisted on having. The gee-whiz appeal of the master suite TVs is tremendous and definitely makes for a stop on the home tour.”

Flat-panel TVs in the home’s lower level—three 32-inch Samsung LCDs and a 42-inch Runco plasma—do not have elaborate hiding tricks, at least not yet. An elegant motorized art screen could be in store, befitting this home masterpiece.

Control System
Crestron AV2 processor
Crestron C2ENET1 Ethernet card
Crestron C2N IADS30X24 intercom interface
Crestron CENTVAV controller
Crestron CHVRSS remote slab sensor and outdoor sensor
Crestron TPMC-8X 8.4-inch WiFi wireless touchpanel
Crestron TPS2000 5-inch touchpanels (3)
Crestron TPS4000LB 10.4-inch touchpanel
Crestron TPS4L Isys 3.6-inch wall-mount touchpanels (4)
RTI M2 IR/RF remote with 2.2-inch LCD displays (2)

Runco 65-inch plasma
Runco 42-inch plasmas (2)
LG 60-inch plasma
LG 15-inch LCDs (2)
Samsung 32-inch LCDs (3)

Audio/Video Components
Crestron Adagio music system
Escient FireBall DVD management system
Escient FireBall FP-1 iPod dock
Denon 5806 surround receiver
Rel Acoustics Britannia B1 12-inch subwoofer
Sony DVPCX777ES 400-disc DVD/CD megachanger
SpeakerCraft Time motorized ceiling speakers (5)
SpeakerCraft Time controller
Rogers 8300 HDPVR

Lighting Control System
Vantage Legrand IC-36 Infusion controller 36V
Vantage Legrand KS11XAB 4-button keypad stations (30)
Vantage Legrand KS22XAB 8-button keypad stations (3)
Vantage Legrand MDR8RW101 relay modules (3)
Vantage Legrand MDS8RW101 dimmer modules (13)
Draper Custom Access Dual Roller Flexshades (6)

Furniture, Acoustics & Accessories
Chief motorized plasma wall bracket
Chief Centris system dual swing mounts (4)
Chief wall mount for Runco 65-inch plasma
Inca plasma lift with swivel and remote control
Middle Atlantic rack and ventilation system
Panamax MAX1500UPS power protection
Crestron Cresnet NP-SP1000 control cable
Liberty Wire and Cable speaker wire, Cat 5e cable
Open House structured wiring
Planet Waves component video, HD coax cable
Tributaries HDMI and optical cable
Acoustic Zen DVI to HDMI conversion cable
Panamax MAX1500UPS power conditioners (2)

Dedicated Micros digital video recorder
GE Networx alarm panel
Silent Witness SWX82D600 night camera

Systems Design & Installation
London Audio
London, Ontario

Interior Designer
Detailing & Design by Myra Tuer
London, Ontario

Skinner & Skinner Architects
London, Ontario

Aleck Harasym Homes
London, Ontario

Wm. E. Tyssen Furniture & Millwork
London, Ontario

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