September 17, 2012
by Lisa Montgomery
When remodeling his 15-year-old home, Scott Tallyn saved the best for last. Over the past five years, the professional photographer has slowly transformed every room of his outdated 4,200-square-foot residence in Peoria, Ill., to better reflect his outgoing personality and modern style. “I really wanted to add technology that would make this home work around my life so I could be more productive and efficient,” he explains. “I wanted to be able to push a button and have things happen, based on how I like to operate.” The addition of a Control4 automation system was the “winning ticket” that afforded him this luxury, ultimately giving him time to focus on the last, and arguably best phase of his extensive home makeover: the unfinished basement.
Into this 1,100-square-foot lower level the custom electronics (CE) professionals at Sherman’s HomeWorks in Normal, Ill., installed a comfortable, cutting-edge home theater system, along with scads of in-ceiling speakers so music and movie soundtracks could be played throughout—all fairly common amenities in a basement redo.
The real fun unfolds in a simulated shooting range and gaming area. The shooting range occupies one side of the basement, where a 10-foot-wide motorized Da-Lite screen descendsfromthe ceiling on commandfroma Control4 keypad or handheld remote. The signal also fires up the computer that runs simulations—20 in all—and a Sharp video projector that beams the images onto the screen. The lights dim as well, so the IR signals fired by the guns—real weapons modified for thesystem—canhit theirtargetswithout interference. Adding to the realism are two Definitive Technology speakers planted in the ceiling over the stanchion that holds the rifles and pistols. “Every time you pull the trigger you hear a loud bang and feel the recoil,” says Tallyn, adding that the volume can be adjusted so people can still hear music or the home theater.
Another sound system was dedicated to a portion of the basement where two racing seats offer an authentic arcade-style experience. Instead of popping a few quarters into a slot, a gamer activates two PlayStation 3 consoles by pressing a button on a Control4 keypad that Sherman’s HomeWorks built into the arm of one of the seats. The keypad offers several options: a gamer can link each chair to the Internet through its own PS3 unit for head-to-head racing. Or he can play by himself and hear the audio through a sound system that includes four in-ceiling MonitorAudio speakers and a Velodyne subwoofer situated between the two chairs. Or each gamer can race on their own and hear the audio through a pair of wireless Sennheiser headphones. Each seat is positioned in front of its own 40-inch Samsung LED TV. Attached to a swivel, the TVs can be rotated “so you can’t cheat by looking at your opponent’s screen to anticipate his next move,” says Tallyn.
Lighting plays an important role in this interactive wonderland as well, setting the stage for whatever activity Tallyn and his guests select for the evening. “At the top of the stairs there’s a six-button Control4 keypad waiting for me to set the mood,” says Tallyn. “I can choose to have all the lights come on at 25, 50 or 100 percent, and with a single, double or triple tap choose either jazz, a random mix of music or rock-and-roll from Rhapsody—access to the service is built into the main Control4 processor—to play through all of the speakers.” Once guests have entered the room, Tallyn can use an iPad, iPhone, handheld remote or other keypads to tweak the lighting and music.
Tapping into the Fun
The six Control4 keypads in the 1,100-square-foot basement owned by Scott Tallyn of Peoria, Ill., help set the stage for massive amounts of fun … and control. Usually, keypads are designed so that each button performs a particular task, such as dimming a group of lights for a movie. The buttons on Tallyn’s keypads, however, were set up by the custom electronics (CE) professionals at Sherman’s HomeWorks, Normal, Ill., to perform multiple tasks. Tapping the button twice, for example, activates the Rhapsody music service on the Control4 system, goes to a random mix of tunes, and plays the music through all nine of the room’s in-ceiling speakers. A triple tap tunes to the rock station.
System Design and Installation by: Sherman’s Homework, Normal Il
Interior Design: Demanes Interiors
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.