IN THE REALM OF HIGH-TECH HOMES, there are complete professionally installed systems that encompass everything from security to A/V to lighting and home automation system control, and there are do-it-yourself (DIY) setups in which the homeowner cultivates and installs his or her own electronic systems. This 5,200-square-foot home located in an idyllic enclave of estate homes in Virginia’s secluded Great Falls area, just 20 miles from D.C., is not your typical installation. It straddles both categories—DIY and professional installation—equally.
“The homeowner makes black boxes for a living, so he knows quite a bit about technology,” says Justin Tsuchida from home systems integration firm WiHome Integration, of Burke, Va. “It was a challenge to navigate the homeowner’s opinions and desires because he did quite a bit of the system design and equipment purchasing himself. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but he was very passionate about what he wanted.”
For his part, the homeowner designed and installed the theater completely on his own, with WiHome Integration simply mounting the projector and adjusting the Triad subwoofer to keep it from rattling. WiHome Integration was charged, however, with integrating the home theater gear, along with all the other systems in the home, into a complete home automation system. The homeowner also knew that he wanted Control4 to be the home automation platform and, in fact, found WiHome Integration through the Control4 website. “The Control4 system was perfect for him because he wanted a simple user interface and, as a small business owner, wanted convenience over luxury,” says Tsuchida.
The smart home experience begins as the owner arrives home and the garage door opens automatically. Once he’s inside, Control4 lighting illuminates a path into a spacious and elegant kitchen. Music is now filling the open floorplan and the home’s thermostats are set to predetermined comfort levels. “Via Control 4’s climate control the homeowners can use their iOS and Android smartphones from anywhere in the world to ramp up to true comfort as efficiently as possible,” says Tsuchida.
The great room serves as the home’s entertainment hub. Here, residents and guests can easily select a video source, a list of which is presented via the Control 4 home automation system’s onscreen display on the room’s Sharp 70-inch TV. The video sources are all centralized in a closet in the basement, minimizing the amount of in-room clutter. If a guest arrives at the front door, the homeowners can see them on any of six fixed and portable 7-inch Control4 touchpanels and unlock the Kwikset keyless door lock with a finger touch. Even the basement theater’s Triad 7.1-channel system and projection system—all purchased and installed by the homeowner—are operable via the Control4 system.
“The biggest part of our job as integrators is translating what people want into equipment [they need] and helping them understand what they are actually getting. With this client, that challenge was sidestepped because he already knew what he desired. However, he’s very satisfied with his Control4 home automation system and how efficiently it manages all the subsystems,” says Tsuchida. “His biggest goals for the home were met, so much so, that he now calls us the ‘house fairies.’” True praise indeed.
Photography: BTW Images Systems Design & Installation: WiHome Integration, Burke, Va. Builder: Creekstone Communities, Great Falls, Va.