Monday, 23 September 2019 09:20

Something old, something new

    A Central London home, bursting with high-performance AV technology, and a fully integrated home automation system, has earnt Environ, a top accolade from CEDIA in the 2018 EMEA Awards. The London-based integrator won the ‘Best Integrated Home £340,000 and over’ category for its user-focused design and exceptional technical knowledge.

    The extensive brief was to turn a large family house, featuring a wine cellar, fitness room, music room and two home cinemas into a fully-integrated smart home. The user interface needed to be tailored to meet the needs of the whole family, which included several children and a live-in nanny, as well as providing some specific control functionality for staff. The client was a real technophile who wanted to distribute AV throughout the living space along with integrated control of all core systems, including lighting, HVAC and security. Although he primarily wanted the technology to blend with the interiors, he also requested that some systems should be showcased.

    The project came with a number of challenges. As part of a larger modernisation project, the integrator was required to work in close partnership with a number of other contractors to ensure seamless integration with the stunning decor. Also, as a Grade II Listed building, where space is at a premium, careful thought had to be given to some of the product fixings and placement.

    A significant aspect of the project was the provision of professional standard AV across the property. Speaker and TV points have been fitted in all the rooms, along with Samsung smart TVs, Bowers & Wilkins stylish bookshelf speakers in each of the main living areas and bedrooms, and CAT (California Audio Technology) in-ceiling speakers in the leisure rooms. 4K video distribution is enabled through Crestron’s DigitalMedia platform and audio using Kramer’s Sierra audio matrix.

    The first media room also doubles as a living area, so a projection screen was not a viable option. The owner was keen to make a design statement and chose handcrafted Italian Sonus Faber Aida speakers and a 75” Samsung 4K TV. The brief for the second media room, which is intended to be a family room, was to create an immersive gaming environment. A Barco Orion projector has been installed along with Triad in-wall speakers and an enormous 123” Stewart Luxus Model A ElectriScreen – a motorised, retractable screen for discreet storage. A third relaxation area uses CAT floorstanding speakers to create a visual impact. In each case, apart from the showcase speakers, the technology has been fitted, where possible, within bespoke joinery to minimise the impact on the interior design.

    All the main systems in the home, including entertainment, lights and climate, have been integrated through a Crestron CP3 backbone and are controlled using the Crestron app on iPads located throughout the residence. Any iPad in the house can be set to control any of the rooms. The client had a specific request that the user interface should be identical to one he had seen in a luxury hotel. The integrator was able to build and programme an exact replica to match his specific requirements.

    The client wanted each family member to have the ability to set up and easily activate their own room preferences. The app has been programmed so that each user has the option to save 15 global presets for each room encompassing lights, media source, home entertainment equipment, blinds and temperature. In addition, each person can save three lighting presets for each room according to their chosen activity or mood. Dedicated sources for each family member means that they can start watching a film in one location and then seamlessly change to a different one. Additionally, each user profile is password-protected to ensure privacy at all times.

    The lighting system is highly complex and comprises hundreds of circuits combined in one Lutron HomeWorks QS system. Simple control is enabled through Lutron keypads, positioned in each room, with the option to turn on/off or adjust individual lights, as well as access custom preset scenes through the iPad interface. The blinds can also be opened and closed using the Lutron keypads; either one by one or as a group within a room.

    As the majority of the windows have motorised shades, there is a large amount of control equipment to conceal. To minimise impact, careful consideration has been given to the location of the apparatus; given space was limited. Furthermore, as the property is Grade II Listed, the windows were not ideally suited to roller blinds. Working in conjunction with a blind specialist, the integrator developed a solution where the blinds have been installed upside down and appear from floor boxes.

    As a luxurious home in a prestigious location, security was a high priority for the client. The BPT entry control system can be accessed via the iPad enabling the family topermit entry to visitors from wherever they are in the house. They can view the images from the CCTV cameras from the iPad to check activity around the perimeter of the house.

    Moreover, should there be a fire or security issue, the AV is automatically muted, and pre-programmed lighting scenes are activated.

    This was a complex brief which required detailed project management and coordination with other trades. All home automation systems are seamlessly integrated within the stylish interiors of this beautiful home with simple, personalised control for every occupant. The discerning client can also enjoy high-performance audio visual, along with his family, in every corner of his home.

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