Design-Friendly on a Budget

Hidden Profile

WHILE GEAR THAT IS hidden or integrated into the design of the home can be more expensive than just leaving it out in the open, with a little ingenuity, it doesn’t have to be. The owners of this Southern California beach house had 10 TVs they wanted to integrate seamlessly into the relaxed beach cottage aesthetic, but they didn’t want to pay a premium for the effect.

“They didn’t want to spend money on hiding TVs or installing automated lifts, so the interior designer created custom boxes around the TVs that do an amazing job of hiding the technology while not costing a lot,” says home systems integrator Michael Fehmers, from CBA Technology, South Pasadena, Calif. “While the covers on the TVs are manually operated, they achieve the same effect as spending $6,000 or more on motorized retractable pieces of canvas artwork to cover the screens.”

The TV covers not only conceal the gear, but protect it. The rooftop deck features a weatherproof TV box that keeps outdoor elements at bay, while downstairs TV boxes protect the displays from rough-housing kids. Upstairs in the “Skylight Room,” the homeowners decided on an economical TV lift that was programmed by Fehmers to pop out of cabinetry when needed. “We are doing an installation right now in a different home where a 65-inch TV is stored in the ceiling. The lift lowers the TV down, and is able to then swivel it 180 degrees toward the pool area,” says Fehmers. “That lift costs $10,000.” By comparison, the custom box is a mere fraction of the cost of a specialized lift.

The Lutron Radio RA system was also a crucial equipment selection for this beach cottage, effectively minimizing the amount of switches on the walls. “We hid a lot of the switches in closets, so instead of a 4- or 5-gang wall-plate, you have one keypad. This is a great way to economically remodel, hiding switches locally instead of running a large, expensive centralized lighting panel,” Fehmers explains.

By using wireless technology and employing clever construction techniques to fuse the TV into the architecture, CBA Technology succeeded in an elegant integration that works in harmony with the home’s comfortable beach design. – KR

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