Tech Living, Clutter-Free and Easy
These suburban New York homeowners didn’t let high tech clutter up their contemporary style, but they did let new home controls enhance their daily lives.
Credit: Tim Lee
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March 18, 2010 by Arlen Schweiger

Playtime for All
Rather than being a traditional “man cave,” this family’s playroom is more of a “teen cave.” But it doesn’t stray much from the home’s overall design theme.
A long custom wall cabinet contains a desk, shelves, toy bins—and a 61-inch Samsung 1080p DLP screen. Multicolored sliding panels hide or reveal areas of the wall unit, again providing an option to keep a TV out of sight when turned off.

Audio in the playroom is stealthy as well, with much of the surround sound flooding the space via four Sonance in-ceiling speakers, complemented by a Focal center channel and Velodyne subwoofer.

Mom and Dad aren’t completely against their children having individual teen caves in their bedrooms. The rooms were even readied with Verizon FiOS wiring. “Our decision to limit the electronics in the kids’ rooms was purely a parenting decision,” Mom says. “They have laptop computers with a wireless network, which can be used for homework and leisure time, but we also have the ability to remove those options simply by taking away the laptop. We also wanted to encourage the kids to utilize the comfortable family spaces that we created, so we can spend leisure time together.”

Lights … Touchpanels … Action
One way to eliminate clutter, while adding usefulness, was employing an extensive lighting control system tied into the Crestron automation. The home is blessed with natural light through tall great room windows, for example, along with plenty of accent and mood lighting. But the potential wall acne of dimmers and switches almost put a blemish on this part of the project.

“The original lighting plan had some very large switchboxes, which were aesthetically not pleasing,” says Bartolomeo. “We introduced them to a Lutron [HomeWorks] lighting system, which consists of simple single-gang keypads that integrate with the Crestron system.”

Lighting designer Peter Romaniello of Connecticut-based Conceptual Lighting redesigned the lighting plan to ensure that the lighting complemented the home’s contemporary interior design, and that its control (programmed by IES managing partner Dean Valencic) would allow more than one zone to be engaged at a time. “With open architecture you always have to think about not only adding focus to the room you’re in, but also the lighting in the adjacent room so it doesn’t feel dead,” he explains.

About 16 lighting loads cover the home’s open great room, kitchen and family room space, so control and scene-setting solutions made sense. In the kitchen, a COOK scene boosts lights to full brightness for food preparation while adjacent rooms are dimmed, for instance. A MORNING scene lights the way from the bedrooms to the kitchen to the mudroom and out the door. For entertaining, a PARTY scene will dim the living and family room to 50 percent, turn on patio and front entryway lights and emphasize artwork in certain areas.

More to Come
The lighting system took time to fine-tune, but the scenes are constantly in use, especially in the kitchen and great room areas. As with other aspects of a sophisticated home control system, there was a learning curve (see sidebar “Going to Class”) that is ongoing for these homeowners.

Wired and wireless Crestron touchpanels provide access to most of the lighting, music and climate controls. A 10-inch model by the bustling kitchen proved pragmatic, as the family uses it to call up the different scenes and music selection. But maybe the biggest benefit of this home system is that Mom and Dad stepped into the slightly scary world of technology and found that they could do so on their terms.

So what’s next? “Now that we’ve been in our home for a while, we’re thinking of more ways that the Crestron system can work for us,” Mom says. “When we started this house project, it was hard to envision how we would live in the space as our children grew older. The technology in our home is keeping pace with our teenagers, and that says something.”

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for and Electronic House magazine.

Installers, Equipment List

Systems Design and Installation
Integrated Electronic Solutions
White Plains, N.Y.

The Young Company
Scarsdale, N.Y.

Eve Robinson Associates
New York, N.Y.

General Contractor
D&R Schappach
Brookfield, Conn.

Conceptual Lighting
South Windsor, Conn.

Lutron Programming
Dean Valencic, Integrated Electronic Solutions

Crestron Programming
John Meyer, Elexos
Rosemont, Ill.

Cabinetry & Metal
Foley Waite Associates; Premium Grade Millwork; Metalworks

Master Bedroom:
Crestron TPS-FPW
Crestron WMKT-2000L
Crestron TPS-2000L 5” Touchpanel
URC MX-3000
Fujitsu 42” Plasma
Panamax M8-EX Power Protection
Chief IC-LP-FM1 Wall Mount
Boston Acoustics P400 On-Wall Speakers
Focal Chorus 706 S Wall-Mounted Speakers (2)
Integra DBS-6.9 Blu-ray Player
Monster Wire and Cabling

Master Bath:
Sonance VC30RIM D W Volume Control
Sonance Symphony S623TR In-Ceiling Speakers (2)

Family Room:
Muxlab 500050 Baluns (2)
Crestron CNRFGWA RF Receiver
Crestron ST-1700C 5.7” Touchpanel
Fujitsu 42” Plasma TV
Chief PNR-U Swing Wall Mount
Integra DTR-4.6 Surround Receiver
Middle Atlantic Rack Shelf
Sonance Ellipse 1.0 LCR In-Ceiling Speakers (3)
Sonance Symphony SRS-1 In-Ceiling Speakers (2)
Sonance Virtuoso A800D In-Wall Amp/Woofer
Sony DVP-NS90V DVD Player
Monster Wire and Cabling

Crestron TPS-4000L 10.4” Touchpanel
Sonance Symphony S623TR In-Ceiling Speakers (2)

Crestron CEN-IDOC iPod Dock
Sonance VC30RIM D W Volume Control
Sonance Symphony S623TR In-Ceiling Speakers (2)
Crestron Crescat cabling
Monster Interconnect Cable

Living Room:
Muxlab 500050 Baluns (2)
Sonance Sonafill In-Wall Anti-Resonance System
Crestron MC2W-C17PAK Control Package
Fujitsu 55” Plasma
Panamax Max 5100-EX Power Conditioning
SVS Lifts Plasma Lift
Integra DTR-5.8 Surround Receiver
Boston Acoustics VRI553 In-Wall Speakers (3)
Sonance Cinema Select THX SUR Surround Speakers 92)
Velodyne In-Wall Subwoofer/Amp System (2)
Integra DBS-6.9 Blu-ray Player
Monster Cabling
Proconnect Cabling

Crestron CEN-IDOC iPod Dock
Crestron TPS-2000LW 5” Touchpanel
URC MX-3000
Sharp 37” Aquos LCD
Panamax MIW-Power In-Wall Power Protection
Sanus VM400B Equipment Rack
Focal Chorus 706 S Bookshelf Wall-Mounted Speakers (4)
Sony DVP-NS90V DVD Player
Crestron Crescat Cabling
Monster Cabling

Crestron 12-Button Keypad
Sonance Mariner 52 WH Speakers (4)

Crestron Keypad
Sonance Symphony S623TR In-Ceiling Speakers (4)

Crestron TPS-2000LW 5” Touchpanel
Crestron CEN-IDOC iPod Dock
URC MX-3000
Sony 60” LCD
Panamax Max 4200 Power Protection
Integra DTR-4.8 Surround Receiver
Focal Chorus CC 700 S Center Channel
Sonance Ellipse 1.0 LCR In-Ceiling Speakers (2)
Sonance Symphony SRS-1 In-Ceiling Speakers (2)
Velodyne SPL-800 Series II Subwoofer
Crestron Crescat Cabling
Monster Cabling

Exercise Room:
Crestron TPS-2000LW 5” Touchpanel
Fujitsu 42” Plasma
Panamax MIW-Power Power Protection
Chief Tilting Wall Mount
Sonance Symphony S623TR In-Ceiling Speakers (2)

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