May 29, 2009
by Arlen Schweiger
One full-scale automation system to cover a 10,000-square-foot home is impressive enough. But doubling that capacity and making sure everything still runs smoothly is another thing altogether.
That was the challenge faced by electronics installer Home Systems when these New Jersey homeowners added a resort-size addition to a residence that had an existing Crestron automation system.
“We designed a totally new Crestron system that would incorporate the new parts of the house and marry it to the old parts. And at the same time [we] upgraded a lot of wireless touchpanels and keypads in the main living spaces,” says Home Systems’ Ralph Scrofani. “The challenge for us was designing, wiring and activating the new system, and when the time was right decommission the old system and put the two together quickly, so we weren’t interrupting the homeowners lives. We probably ran miles of wire back and forth to join the systems together.”
The new wing incorporates an indoor pool, spa, workout facility, locker room, kitchen and entertainment room. Then there are all the bells and whistles stuffed into these spaces, as well as some nifty wrinkles added to the existing home.
The sprawling pool area alone contains 14 speakers that tap into the housewide audio system and require their own 16-channel amplifier. Each Triad Omniround speaker is installed in one of 14 coffered beams running along the ceiling, and their enclosed back boxes keep the moisture away.
“The pool has limestone columns, limestone tiles and lots of glass, so the conditions were ripe for echo,” says Scrofani. “The area directly over the central part is high, but around the perimeter where the beams run from the exterior wall it’s a lot lower, so we’re able to deliver consistent, even sound without a cathedral effect.”
The robust sound system—which also extends to his-and-her locker rooms and an exercise room—may not even be the biggest tech feat. That honor goes to the 16 large motorized skylights, which are controllable via Crestron touchscreens. The skylights also feature rain sensors that signal the system to close them automatically when moisture is detected. When the sensors are dry, a corresponding button on the Crestron touchscreens turns green.
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.