One full-scale automation system to cover a 10,000-square-foot home is impressive enough. But doubling that capacity and making sure everything still runs smoothly is another thing altogether.
That was the challenge faced by electronics installer Home Systems when these New Jersey homeowners added a resort-size addition to a residence that had an existing Crestron automation system.
“We designed a totally new Crestron system that would incorporate the new parts of the house and marry it to the old parts. And at the same time [we] upgraded a lot of wireless touchpanels and keypads in the main living spaces,” says Home Systems’ Ralph Scrofani. “The challenge for us was designing, wiring and activating the new system, and when the time was right decommission the old system and put the two together quickly, so we weren’t interrupting the homeowners lives. We probably ran miles of wire back and forth to join the systems together.”
The new wing incorporates an indoor pool, spa, workout facility, locker room, kitchen and entertainment room. Then there are all the bells and whistles stuffed into these spaces, as well as some nifty wrinkles added to the existing home.
The sprawling pool area alone contains 14 speakers that tap into the housewide audio system and require their own 16-channel amplifier. Each Triad Omniround speaker is installed in one of 14 coffered beams running along the ceiling, and their enclosed back boxes keep the moisture away.
“The pool has limestone columns, limestone tiles and lots of glass, so the conditions were ripe for echo,” says Scrofani. “The area directly over the central part is high, but around the perimeter where the beams run from the exterior wall it’s a lot lower, so we’re able to deliver consistent, even sound without a cathedral effect.”
The robust sound system—which also extends to his-and-her locker rooms and an exercise room—may not even be the biggest tech feat. That honor goes to the 16 large motorized skylights, which are controllable via Crestron touchscreens. The skylights also feature rain sensors that signal the system to close them automatically when moisture is detected. When the sensors are dry, a corresponding button on the Crestron touchscreens turns green.
When the homeowners and guests aren’t relaxing in the pool or the infinity-edge hot tub, they can enjoy a drink by the fireplace or at the bar—where a 42-inch Sharp LCD HDTV entertains. However, the owners didn’t want the TV to interfere with the bar’s real beauty: a wall-length backlit glass sculpture. So Home Systems worked with Electro-Kinetics to install a mechanized lift that raises the TV into view so it did not have to be permanently mounted.
Other innovative display collaborations include a 63-inch Fujitsu plasma and matching Leon soundbar that extend and swivel from the wall on a cantilevered mount in the multipurpose entertainment room, and a lift that recedes into the ceiling in the master bedroom.
Beneath the pool, in a fully air-conditioned and sealed basement, is one of the residence’s two control panel rooms—the other is in a garage closet of the existing house—with pivoting equipment racks for convenient access. The miles of wiring fed to the control rooms help tie together subsystems such as the 20 overall listening zones, master bedroom theater, security cameras, Panasonic communications system and 170 loads of Lutron lighting.
“They can completely illuminate the pool, or use an accent scene to light all the architectural features,” Scrofani says. “They’ll place candles all around the room, and with the accent scene it looks incredible.”