May 22, 2009
by Lisa Montgomery
Not many people are willing to give up cabinet space in a kitchen for a TV, let alone two floor-to-ceiling racks of audio and video equipment, processors and controllers. For the owners of this high-rise apartment, however, it was a sacrifice they were willing to make. “As the central spot of the apartment, it really was the best place for the gear,” says Scott Jordan of Electronics Design Group (EDG) in Piscataway, N.J. “From this hub we were able to route wiring easily to every room while the residence was being gutted.”
The design overhaul included the addition of motorized shading, a motorized TV lift, invisible temperature sensors, and in-ceiling speakers, as well as a Crestron system that would give the family control over everything in this room and throughout the entire apartment—from either a touchpanel built into the wall or a portable unit meant to rest on the counter.
One of the most beneficial and unique electronic elements of the space is the Lutron Sivoia shading system. “The windows face west, so when the sun sets, the light that comes in is extremely intense,” says Jordan. “The shades were necessary to prevent the upholstery from fading and the room from becoming too warm.”
Unlike ordinary shades, however, the five that adorn the west-facing windows in this room roll up and down automatically. Per instructions programmed into the Crestron system by EDG, the shades descend gradually three hours before sunset. As the shades lower, certain lights brighten, depending on which scene the family has engaged on the Crestron touchpanel.
A DINING scene, for example, dims the task lights in the kitchen and brightens the fixtures around the dining table. The kitchen’s Crestron thermostat gets into the act, too, although it’s hidden away along with the rest of the apartment’s thermostats inside a laundry room. A quarter-size disc mounted to the wall surface monitors fluctuations in the kitchen temperature and reports the conditions to the thermostats. “The sensors are completely inconspicuous, which helped the family maintain a clean aesthetic in the space,” says Jordan.
A Sharp 32-inch LCD TV that pops up from the inside of a kitchen cabinet also keeps clutter under control. Touching a button on the Crestron touchpanel labeled DVD or CABLE engages the motorized lift. From there, the family can feast on video provided by the kitchen’s well-stocked electronics rack, adjust the volume, shut the shades, and dim the lights quickly and conveniently.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.