Mirror, mirror on the wall, what movie do you want to show me? That’s the question this Northern California homeowner might ask as he peers at the wall-length mirror above the double vanity in his master bathroom.
Then all he has to do is press a button or two and scroll through his DVD collection for the answer. Or he can select a program to watch on DirecTV and even a CD to hear: The choices can appear at the blink of an eye through the Kaleidescape server on the screen of a 23-inch LCD display housed behind the custom-built mirror.
David Barrios Designs of Fresno, CA, afforded this homeowner multiple media options when he designed and installed the technology in the master bathroom as part of the entire home project. “The thing I like about it is that in other bathrooms with TVs, the mirrors are usually the size of the TV,” says Barrios. “This looks like a typical bathroom, and you’d never dream there was a TV behind the mirror in there when you walk in.”
That truly allows the LG screen to stay hidden behind the mirror without even a hint of the television’s presence. The mirror, which Barrios estimates is about 4 by 10 feet, is only translucent in the area that conceals the TV and not above the vanities that flank it. Barrios says that left the homeowner some leeway in selecting the size of the television. “It’s two types of mirrors put together as one, with the middle custom piece designed specifically for this application,” he says. “The nice thing is that when we originally wired the house, the TV could have been any size he wanted.”
The choice of a 23-inch flat-panel display called for an LCD model, which, as an added benefit, ensured a bright display that would remain highly viewable even when the mirror lights were on (at preset dimming). The TV is stored in a recessed area behind the mirror, with only about a quarter-inch gap of separation.
Audio in the bathroom streams in through two NHT in-ceiling speakers, while a Russound tuner lets the homeowner choose between AM, FM and XM sources.
One significant change during the installation was the decision to upgrade the touchpanel to a Crestron TPS-3100L, whereby the client can watch video on that screen as well as on the flat panel. He can easily access video from any of the 11 security cameras around the house while keeping the Kaleidescape server or other programming on for quasi picture-in-picture ability. Barrios says this was a priority for the homeowner throughout the residence, including in his detached auto storage facility that has two 42-inch plasmas and a Crestron panel.
The owner can also control the house’s HVAC system through the touchscreen and has since added a wireless controller for even broader accessibility. “There’s no question the Kaleidescape is something he enjoys quite a bit, but the 3100 was a nice improvement in the room,” says Barrios. “I think [his enjoyment of] the Crestron and the Kaleidescape went well above his expectations.”
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.