Interior Designers Embrace Technology and Home Automation

Innovation House blends the best of interior design and sophisticated home electronics.

It’s not often interior designers look to custom electronics (CE) professionals to join forces on a project. But for its recently completed Innovation House, the designers at Atlanta-based Insidesign, willingly incorporated a slew of innovative home technologies. The 11,000-square-foot farmhouse in Johns Creek, Ga., will serve as a showcase of innovative design and technology, and is open for prospective customers, builders and architects to visit for ideas and inspiration.

To demonstrate technology’s role in a modern home, Insidesign contacted Atlanta Audio Video Solutions (AAVS) to incorporate a variety of different products and systems. In addition to standard flat-panel TVs, the team added smart light switches, door locks, thermostats, and a high-def A/V distribution system featuring a Yamaha player piano as an available music source. Tying all of the pieces together is a Control4 HC-800 home control system. Seven in-wall Control4 touchpanels and two portable units, as well as an iPad running Control4’s MyHome app are used to operate the various systems. Because the house was designed without a particular owner in mind, AAVS intentionally kept the menu of commands very basic. There are no special scenes that can be launched from the touchpanels and app, currently, says AAVS’s Josh Levetan. “Right now, we’re using the touchpanels to show off their ability to work like video intercom stations. When someone presses the button on the station at the front door, their image instantly appears on screen of touchpanels and TVs. A press of a button on the touchpanel signals the Z-wave doorlock to unlock. People really seem to like this feature.”

Another unique part of the house is a golf simulation room that doubles as a home theater. The same screen and projector combo that serve the simulation system can display movies, and is complemented by a 5.1 surround-sound system for this application.

Probably the most creative implementation of technology involved a major piece of the interior design—a grand piano. A Yamaha DC2XE3 Disklavier piano ties directly into a WyreStorm Pro Plus MX-0808 high-def audio/video matrix switcher via HDMI cabling, which enables songs from the player piano to play through the in-ceiling Truaudio speakers installed throughout the residence. One of the sources available is an AppleTV, and accessible through this component is the Yamaha’s music soft website. Using an iPad, a user can log on to the site and push music from concerts and internet radio stations to the piano. If the concert has accompanying video, it automatically displays on the home’s flat-panel TVs. “This setup is something we’ve never done before, and it’s by far my favorite part of the house,” says AAVS’s Brian Carter. Other instruments, like electric guitars and microphones, can join the concert and be heard housewide by plugging into a Lexicon FW810 mixer that’s stationed in a glossy black rack next to the piano.

Of course, with the right system in place … and the right cabling … anything is possible for the Innovation House in the future. The Control4 processor can be programmed by AAVS to provide the eventual owners of this house with greater control over the home electronic systems, and “we wired this home to the extreme,” says Carter. “In every room where we thought would be a logical place for a touchpanel we pulled the appropriate wire, and an each TV location there is more wire than is necessary now, but it’s there to support any technology that’s coming down the pipeline.”

See more photos of the Insidesign house here.

If you’re considering a high-tech project, also check out:
6 Important Pieces of Info to Share with Your Tech Installer
Integrated Control vs. Multiple Apps for Home Automation
How to Add Lighting Control to Your Home
Furniture Trends That Can Please the Whole Family

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