photos by Jenny Terrell
In the world of smart homes, there’s often a disconnect that happens between a home’s design and its technology. Sometimes, the technology can overpower the architecture in a smart home, and then there are times when a home’s design dictates the performance of the electronics gear. A pleasing middle ground where both design and technology can coexist together without conflict is the aspiration of most home systems integrators and their clients.
Fusion of Form and Function
The team integration specialists at Lelch Audio/Video, of Saint Louis Park, Minn., achieved this pinnacle of smart home planning in our Gold-award-winning Traditional-Style Smart Home Less than $150,000. The fusion between the home’s eye-catching cosmetic details and high-performance electronic gear is nothing short of spectacular. In recreation room, for example, small VP40 Sonance speakers share space with recessed lights in a custom-built, decorative, suspended ceiling. Tucked inconspicuously into the structure, the speakers spread audio over a center island in the room.
To ensure harmony between design and tech, even the 11 speakers comprising a Dolby Atmos setup in the media room were given top consideration during the construction of the space. “To fit the clients’ stylistic requirements, we worked with the builder to modify the curvature of the media room walls so that the Paradigm Signature Series speakers could be angled to create a more engaging soundfield,” explains Lelch Audio/Video founder Alex Lelchuk. The team topped off the media room with two Paradigm subwoofers, an Anthem receiver, and a Sony 75-inch TV.
Remarkably, all of this integration was part of a remodel. “It was a super substantial renovation that involved our firm, an architect, and a builder,” Lelchuk continues. “And given that the homeowners were extremely tech savvy, all the key people were heavily involved in and in constant communication during every phase of the project.”
Speakers Span the Property
Per the homeowners’ request, Lelch Audio/Video extended audio and video to rooms throughout the house, tucking a combination of Sonance and Paradigm speakers into walls and painting their grilles to match the surrounding surface. All the speakers are tied to a Control4 matrix, which enables the homeowners to access and deliver audio from a Sonos Connect music streamer to any area they choose via a Control4 app on their mobile devices. One of their favorite spots to enjoy music is outdoors, where Lelch Audio/Video outfitted the yard with a Sonance SLS 68 sound system comprising eight weather-resistant speakers and an in-ground subwoofer. A four-season patio receives music, too, thanks to Sonance Mariner Extreme speakers tucked into the ceiling and mounted to the side of the house.
4K video travels to multiple TV housewide, too, thanks to the Control4 matrix. From the mobile app, the owners can select content from an Apple TV, Roku Stick, or TiVo Bolt. A 75-inch outdoor Seura TV is also connected to the matrix so video can be enjoyed alfresco.
Control4: The Life of the Party
While the cue up music and movies from the Control4 mobile app, they can also manage the home’s Control4 light switches, QMotion motorized shades, GE security system, Luma surveillance cameras, electronic door locks, garage door opener, and a gas fire pit. All of these components can be operated individually are together when the owners activate any of several scenes created by Lelch Audio/Video. An “Entertain” scene, for example, activates all the lights inside and out, delivers music to all speakers but at different volume levels depending on the room, and adjusts the thermostats to compensate for extra people in the house.
Another favorite is “Good Night,” a scene that varies its affect based on where the command is engaged. If command originates from a Control4 keypad in the master bedroom, it shuts off, closes, and locks everything over the course of two minutes. However, if Good Night is issued from a keypad by the front door, only the exterior lighting and A/V equipment, door locks, and garage doors are affected. The indoor A/V and lighting stay on until the command for the housewide sweep from the master bedroom is delivered.
Alexa: The Icing on the Home Control Cake
Of course, no high-tech home is complete without some form of voice control. For this project, Amazon Alexa was integrated with Control4, giving the homeowners a hands-free way to launch scenes and other forms of control. “The ability to ask Alexa to control aspects of the home is not only convenient, but it went a long way to prevent the wall acne the homeowners wanted to avoid,” Lelchuk says. “Instead of relying solely on keypads, which can clutter walls, they can just use their voice to control every device that’s tied to the Control4 system.” In this home, this equates to just about everything.
Systems & Equipment
- Control4 control
- Control4 A/V distribution
- Anthem receiver and amp
- Control4 light switches
- Yale electronic locks
- GE security system
- Luma surveillance cameras
- Paradigm, Sonance speakers
- Sony, Seura TVs
- Amazon Echo Dots and Spot
- Araknis, Ubiquiti networking
- QMotion motorized shades