Renovating a home is never easy. There’s always some unexpected challenge or setback to encounter no matter how meticulously and carefully you’ve planned the project.
New Wiring for an Old Stone House
The home systems integration team from MediaTech, of St. Charles, Ill., recognized right off the bat the complexities it would face as they infused an amazing array of smart home technologies into this 10,000-square-foot 1938 home. For starters, the house is constructed mainly of stone, lathe and plaster. These materials would make it tough to run the miles of necessary cabling to support a 12-zone whole-house music system, video distribution to 22 TVs, control of 80 zones of lighting, and a high-caliber home theater. Recognized by MediaTech as one of its most difficult projects to date, the stone house was recently received the Electronic House Home of the Year, 2017 Gold Award for Best Before and After. See other Home of the Year winners here.
“We just had to force our wiring through the tough spots and find open avenues where we could,” says MediaTech co-owner and project manager Dan Daker. “Fortunately, other trades like the HVAC contractors were involved in the renovation and needed to fish wiring too, so we all worked together.” Still, to anyone who follows home technology, the decision to add new wiring for audio, video, home control, and networking begs the question: Why not just use wireless products and systems? Daker’s reasoning is just as straightforward: The stone composition of the house would never allow the signals to pass. Commands issued from the owners’ iPads and iPhones would be literally stonewalled, possibly never reaching the desired smart light switch or audio/video component.
MediaTech would take reliability a step further by deploying fiber optic cabling. Engineered maintaining signal integrity over long cabling runs, fiber optic was of particular importance for linking the home control and A/V equipment to the completely decked-out pool area which sits 1,500 feet away from the primary equipment rack in main house.
Savant Automates Lights, A/V and More
With the wiring network in place, MediaTech could infuse state-of-the-art systems into this stone house with the utmost confidence. Savant was selected as the home control system that would tie together audio, video, lighting, and surveillance cameras. “The homeowner had been using it for years at his other home, so he was very familiar with the way the Savant system worked, and wanted that same ease-of-use for his newly renovated home,” Daker says.
Based on the amazing assortment of entertainment options available to the homeowner, being able to access the content from anywhere and have it delivered to any of the dozens of Sonance speakers and Samsung TVs was imperative. MediaTech designed the Savant user interface to display photos of each room of the house. The owner scrolls through the images, chooses a room, and taps whichever audio or video source he wants to enjoy. Just as easily he can tap the whole-house button to have his song or video of choice piped throughout the entire house.
Lutron Lighting Sets the Scene
Lighting is controlled in a similar fashion, but with the added convenience of wall-mounted Lutron keypads. MediaTech customized the keypad of each room to engage special preset lighting scenes. For example, in the home theater a keypad button labeled “Movie” commands the room lights to dim. In an instant, the room is ready. As the lights dim, the owner can grab a handheld Savant remote or iPad to activate the Sony 4K video projector and Bowers & Wilkins 7.2 surround-sound system.
Other scenes, such as “Workout” and “Outdoor Party,” arrange the lights specifically for those activities. There’s even a scene that caters to the owner’s two favorite things: the Chicago Cubs and classic rock. A tap of the Party button on the keypad in the lower-level rec room streams classic rock tunes from an Autonomic media server to built-in Sonance speakers and the 55-inch 4K Samsung TV tunes to ESPN to catch a Cubs game. The lighting scene that gets the most use and is a favorite of the homeowner’s is the simplest: All Off. Available on several keypads, this one button command switches off every light on the property. “The owner knew it would take too much time to turn off every light before bedtime in a house of this size, so the All Off lighting scene streamlines his time dramatically,” Daker says.
Despite the challenges of working new technology into an old stone structure, the smart systems feel right at home. Expertly integrated, they fuse seamlessly with the home design and provide the homeowner and his family with a simple and convenient means of enjoying music, video and a state-of-the-art home theater.
- Bowers & Wilkins home theater speakers and subwoofers
- Marantz A/V receiver
- Marantz amplifier
- Dalite home theater screen
- Sony projector
- Savant automation
- Savant whole-house audio
- Sonos streaming media player
- Sonance speakers
- Sony Blu-Ray Disc players
- Holovision intercom
- Just Add Power video distribution
- Lutron lighting control
- Pelco surveillance cameras
Home automation has come a long way. Today, there are solutions available almost everywhere. Need help turning your home into a “smart” home. Find an installer near you.
Looking to Add Smart Technology to Your Home?
Home automation has come a long way. Today, there are solutions available almost everywhere. Need help turning your home into a “smart” home. Find an installer near you.Find an installer near you