THE OWNERS OF THIS AWARD-WINNING OUTDOOR SPACE live for throwing “wicked” parties. “They’ll find an excuse to throw a party once a month,” says Scott Sullivan, principal of San Francisco Bay-area home systems integration firm SoundVision.
Let’s first review the basic elements comprising a “wicked” party:
Ã¢â„¢:¦ Music everywhere
Ã¢â„¢:¦ Outdoor activities galore
Ã¢â„¢:¦ Kitchen, bar, and sitting areas
Ã¢â„¢:¦ Big-screen viewing
Ã¢â„¢:¦ Wi-Fi everywhere (yes, it’s a necessity)
This killer outdoor living space scores (wicked) high marks in all categories.
Systems & Equipment
Audio System: Sonos
A/V Components: Sonos, Apple TV
Ã¢â„¢:¦ Four outdoor audio zones and a 70-inch TV dish out a full range of entertainment
Ã¢â„¢:¦ Motorized louvers on a canopy provide shade at the press of a button
Ã¢â„¢:¦ Outdoor kitchen, dining, pool and spa, basketball, bocce court, and more
For music, a Sonos whole-house audio system streams tunes to Sonance outdoor speakers in four independent listening zones: the outdoor patio, including a kitchen, bar, entertainment and dining areas; the pool area; the pool house; and a bocce ball court and lawn area. Sonance Mariner speakers are mounted to the house and pool house, while weatherproof speakers disguised as landscape rocks serve the bocce court and more.
Yes, bocce, with a regulation-looking crushed-shell court. If that’s not your cup of tea, there are also an outdoor putting green, swimming pool and hot tub, a life-size chess board, trampoline, basketball court, and pool house with a billiards table and pinball machines inside. With so much to keep folks occupied and entertained, the homeowners are more than happy to frequently invite over their son’s football and basketball teams and scout troops.
Of course, no party is complete without cool drinks and tasty food. A fully functional outdoor kitchen and barbeque makes sure no one goes hungry, whether they’re swimming, golfing, or watching a game on the 70-inch LED TV nearby. The MirageVision outdoor-rated TV is often tuned to a big San Francisco 49ers or Giants game, while audio comes through two wall-mounted Sonance speakers. These speakers can also tap into the whole-house music system. The owners just touch a button on a URC waterproof MXW-920 remote. When the TV turns on, it automatically overrides the music in that zone. Audio commands are sent to and carried out by the Sonos system. Video commands are transmitted to and carried out by a Crestron system.
To maintain clear, consistent music streaming, solid, reliable Wi-Fi access in this outdoor entertainment area was essential. SoundVision first made sure the house had an enterprise-grade Pakedge networking system and attached a wireless access point to the pool house. “If you’re using a system like Sonos and Crestron, all of those things live on the network, and you use the network to control it. If you don’t have access you can’t even control your system,” Sullivan says.
Outdoor Tech Tips
The most important consideration when planning for outdoor entertainment spaces, says Scott Sullivan, principal of San Francisco Bay-area home systems integration firm SoundVision, is “always, always, always use outdoor-rated products.” The elements of wind, water, and salt-air can be corrosive to sensitive electronics. That’s why this killer space contains outdoor-rated Sonance speakers, an outdoor-rated TV, and uses direct burial-grade cable that won’t allow moisture to contact the wires inside. For wireless connectivity, use weatherproof or waterproof wireless access points so no loss of Wi-Fi coverage will occur—for you or your guests.
The house already had a Crestron system that SoundVision had installed five years ago, and they had also installed some outdoor speakers, but the wireless Sonos system went in new. Some of the Sonos system is wireless; other parts are wired, so SoundVision ran 1.5-inch conduit from the house to pool house to contain new wiring for the additional speakers that would be installed.
Category 6-DB (for direct burial) cabling and speaker wire (also direct burial-grade) are gel-infused to shield the wire from moisture that can penetrate a standard wiring jacket, Sullivan explains. “And all conduits fill up with water,” he adds.
The Sonance dual tweeter on-wall speakers are powered by a Sonos Connect Amp, and the TV area is powered by a Marantz A/V receiver, perfect for watching the big game or a movie under the stars. Sources include Sonos, a cable box, Apple TV, Blu-ray player, and an Xbox. “We programmed this system to play Sonos audio while watching TV or playing Xbox, so the party never has to stop,” says Sullivan.
There are even solar collectors on the pool house to help warm the pool and hot tub. These homeowners thought of everything, and we think that’s wicked cool. EH
Photography: Lindsay Stevens Systems Design & Installation: SoundVision, Novato, Calif.