×
Menu
corner

In this Issue: We highlight valued partners in architecture and tech design. Our pages stretch internationally to showcase hidden sound and open-air theaters. And back at home, take a tour of a famous actor's Brownstone to see how audio blends into exquisite decor.

A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

It has been quite a while since I’ve covered this industry. Nine years (and a couple of kids) later, and I have this incredible opportunity to jump back in.

I remember that, before the buzz phrase was “smart home tech,” custom integrators were creating some of the most innovative home theaters, complete with the highest-performing projectors, screens, video walls, seating and, of course, audio solutions that replicated soundtracks as the movie makers intended.

I remember the innovation of home control and lighting products that created a new level of convenience as well as the ultimate wow factor.

But since then, these solutions have become more than just amenities reserved for the luxury market. They have exploded, becoming necessities.

The challenges that have plagued our world the past year have provided this industry a stage to showcase how the smart home is evolving into an intelligent home. Whether it is movie night, working from home, virtual classroom or a relaxing evening, connected home integrators have the tools to make the home a hub for ALL THE THINGS. And they can provide the infrastructure to keep it all secure.

I was glad to see there were some things that haven’t changed. This industry is still just as FUN! And there’s one thing I’ve learned as a mom to three boys: if you can make it fun, you’ll most certainly get a buy-in.

I’m also proud to have joined a publication whose mission is to promote teamwork between technology professionals, interior designers, builders and architects. This is evident in every inch of this issue, in fact.

Our new feature, Connected With Architects, is a Q&A, facilitated by TheCoTeam’s Chris Smith, with valued partners in architecture and tech design; our cover story highlights a project by Global Wave Integration—a new luxury construction that exemplifies the importance of teamwork in design, security and power management. Our Case Study, featuring actor Adrian Grenier’s NYC Brownstone, illustrates how Leon Speakers went above and beyond to make their products blend into the decor. And we even take you on a trip to Iceland, where TSP’s Nordic Smart Spaces selected Amina’s invisible speakers when they were tasked to hide technology into the design.

This ingenuity and dedication to excellence is what I remember, and I’m delighted to see that this has only gotten stronger. I am eager to further discover how tech integrators will continue to provide the ultimate in ease and functionality, while never neglecting the fun!

Stephanie-M.-Adamow

Stephanie M. Adamow – Senior Managing Editor

CONNECTED WITH ARCHITECTS

Integrating People, Space & Technology

Written by Chris Smith, TheCoTeam

I always love a great conversation and opportunities to network with people in architecture and technology. I recently sat down with an informative group in the space and am excited to share our conversation.

Participants include Drew Lang, the founding principal of Lang Architecture and Brick and Wonder. Lang earned a Masters of Architecture from Yale University and is a licensed architect in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Louisiana. Brick and Wonder is a membership collective focused on connecting and supporting accomplished real estate and design professionals.

Jamie Propp is the founder of Techmenity, a Technology General Contractor and Master Planning firm focused on design, integration, and systems management for Future-Ready properties.

Amir Karimpour is co-founder of Alden Studios, a visual effects company based in New York City. He is also the creative director of Walker Vail, a jewelry design studio based in New York City, and an assistant visiting professor at the Pratt Institute.

How do you describe that value you provide on a project?
Lang: Connection. We connect people’s feelings, desires, visions, the way they live, and the way they want to live, with the spaces we create with them, and all collaborators we bring to the project.

Karimpour: We are a design communications firm producing photo-realistic renderings. We show the project in different conditions that the client could experience: just after a snowstorm, or on a hot summer day as you approach the structure. It’s connecting client to architecture, but also to a moment they want to experience.

Propp: We are often called “integrators.” While we integrate systems, philosophically, we also integrate people – with technology, and the purpose of the space.

Drew, with so many decisions to be made on a project, how do you maintain balance?
Lang: Our process intentionally keeps aspects out of the initial picture. It allows us to focus on necessary elements to establish the fundamental roots of the project. We coordinate stakeholders and provide alignment in appropriate measure.

The “connector” is also a “conductor!” Aside from client interest, what is the place of technology in the built environment? Are there table stakes?
Lang: It’s a great question and I don’t know how to answer it! It’s a moving target and both situation- and client-dependent. When acting as a developer on “spec,” we make the decision. A shift in perspective would be air quality and exchange systems.

We actually heard from a buyer: “I feel better in your house than I ever have. I sleep better and feel more healthy.”

When do you bring up technology with the client?
Lang: We ask during initial client conversations.

When would you engage a technology consultant?
Lang: It depends what the client says. Many clients initially reject the idea of technology in favor of legacy light switches or manual shades. They often change their minds and when they do, we’ll engage Jamie [Propp].

How does Techmenity assist architects, and when should they be brought in?
Propp: Ideally, as close to the ideation as possible! Every system that goes into a building (wired or wireless) must be connected to a network; we call it the “Digital Foundation.” It must support options as we move forward in the future. It isn’t costly and involves planning, strategizing, working on the design set, and placing wires (copper or fiber), thereby enabling opportunities to implement technology as the design and thought process evolves.

How long does a project take from engaging a client to their use of the space?
Lang: It varies between two to three years.

In that timeframe, technology will have cycled four times or more! By the time the building is finished, the technology installed may not have even existed when we began the design. A “Digital Foundation” becomes even more crucial. In a typical project how many parties will collaborate?
Lang: If the general contractor and all of their subcontractors count as “one,” then five to 10. It must be the client, architect, and contractor. Most projects will likely have two more including a structural engineer and MEP engineer. After that, a technology consultant (~50%) and lighting designer (~25%).

Given how many collaborators are involved with projects, it is easy to see why you created Brick & Wonder. How important is community, and why did it not yet exist?
Lang: It is of critical importance. When we meet the objective of aligning interests across projects, we are going to have much happier people working on projects, happier clients, and better results. Why not prior? For whatever reason, the existing culture is set up in a way that silos the various collaborators from one another.

With Brick & Wonder, even when people might not be active together on projects, they are in communication and have awareness of one another’s knowledge base, resources, networks, and issues encountered. Over time, with the building of trust and relationships, people come together to more naturally execute projects.

Karimpour: Within Brick & Wonder, we are exposed to people and companies we wouldn’t usually work with. If you can get people who are already involved in this process together, in a formalized setting, that allows more efficient and frequent communication;
it allows for new opportunities to arise.

Propp: I love the curation of the community because it is very intentional. It’s populated to encourage relationships to naturally form. When I hear from members who are passionate about their work in the built environment, I want to engage more deeply with that member. It expands my knowledge well beyond my typical involvement.

Chris Smith is the Principal and Founder of TheCoTeam. Bringing 20 years of industry experience to the custom installation space, they Coach | Consult | Collaborate with integrators and manufacturers to solve problems and run a more efficient business. TheCoTeam.com

TRENDS

Visions of a Fully Connected Home

Getting the most out of connected kitchen, bath & smart home tech

By Katye McGregor Bennett

For many families working and schooling from home, 2020 wasn’t the ideal time to redo a space as essential as the kitchen or bathroom, noted Todd Tomalak, principal at JBREC, in the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) and John Burns Real Estate Consulting (JBREC) Q3 2020 Kitchen & Bath Market Index (KBMI). However, as we settle into 2021, designers and technology integration pros are reporting a significant uptick in both inquiries and project starts.

In fact, NKBA’s recently released 2021 Market Outlook report—based on homeowner feedback—reports a tailwind of big interior projects and indoor kitchen remodels, and indicates smart home products will be a popular premium feature upgrade. That’s opportunity knocking!

“Smart kitchens and bathrooms used to be nothing more than a concept—a vision of the future—but now they’re quite common,” notes Gordon Van Zuiden, owner of CA-based systems integration firm cyberManor, whose new smart home experience center near Silicon Valley features top-of-the-line connected appliances and technology.

Van Zuiden remodeled a former schoolhouse into a home with high-end kitchen appliances by Thermador and Bosch; a bathroom outfitted with Kohler’s Veil intelligent toilet and Konnect DTV+ spa showering system; and smart energy by Sonnen to illustrate how design and tech not only harmoniously coexist but complement each other.

“Consumers are demanding design-forward homes and expect tech to play a role. That’s where we come in—to help guide the conversation and deliver the experience.”

Here are a few things to consider as you design to accommodate today’s top tech.

The Network Is King
A home’s technology, much like its physical infrastructure, needs a solid foundation to perform at its best. Without fast, reliable connectivity, any device that connects to the network to enable or operate smart features will struggle. High-end, built-in appliances, like those from Signature Kitchen Suite, LG, Bosch, Thermador and Gaggenau, now also rely on the home network, some with app-driven recipes and cooking instructions and remote service capabilities, which help assuage the fears of those unaccustomed to smart home technology.

Add to that other data-intensive smart appliances like voice assistants, voice-controlled faucets, connected showering systems, media room systems, smart speakers, HVAC, and just about everything else in the modern home, and you can see why the network is absolutely critical.

Hiding Tech in Plain Sight
If your clients are planning a project with smart home features and functionality, it’s crucial to provide them with a variety of options early-on in the design process.
Many technology manufacturers are taking an innovative, design-forward approach to product development so that technology can now be hidden in plain sight and so that your designs can truly take center stage.

“The most popular homeowner request for technology in a kitchen and bathroom is speakers,” says Rocky Settacasi, a design consultant at TRI Phase Techologies in Zionsville, IN. Background music can evoke a variety of moods, making a room feel warm and welcoming one minute, and relaxing, reflective, energetic or entertaining the next.

The standard design-conscious solution is typically speakers mounted flush with the ceiling surface. Round and relatively small, they resemble light fixtures for minimal visual impact. “But why pockmark the ceiling when speakers can completely disappear?” Settecasi proposes. “Some speakers, like Sonance’s Invisible Speaker line, can be covered with a coat of finishing compound and paint, venetian plaster, wallpaper, wood veneer, you name it. Because you can’t see them, invisible speakers allow us to place speakers where they will work best instead of trying to work them into the layout of the ceiling lights—often a challenge and not always the best approach for even, balanced audio coverage. Products like these, are game-changers for rooms like kitchens and baths.”

Mirror, TV, on the Wall
“A mirror is a must in the bathroom. And in the kitchen, it creates the illusion of space and light,” says Elizabeth Goldfeder of Reflectel, a maker of high-performance, custom-framed mirror TVs in virtually any shape or size to complement your kitchen or bath design.

OLED or QLED displays are discreetly hidden behind the glass, completely invisible until turned on. The homeowner can queue music, check messages, and check connected security cameras to see who’s at the door. Beautiful and functional, mirror TVs have attracted some of the country’s most prestigious designers, and are showcased at design showrooms, including Christopher Peacock, Aster Cuciene, Bloomingdale’s and Urban Home. When using a mirror TV, it’s also important to make sure everything is properly connected and secure on the network to maintain privacy.

Beautifully Integrated Control
When it’s dark, hands are full, or relaxation is the objective, it’s easier to call out commands to activate smart home commands than it is to press a button or touchscreen. There’s never been a better time or place to integrate voice control or smart speakers then now, especially in the kitchen and bath.

Today, homeowners can manage most smart home automation using their voice, including lighting control, security, faucets, toilets and showering systems. Brands like Delta and Kohler now offer voice-controlled fixtures that offer the perfect assist when multitasking is needed.

Brands like Basalte, Lutron, TruFig and Vittrea have design-forward keypad offerings.

Innovative mounting solutions from companies like Wall-Smart enable tablets, security cameras and wireless networking gear to be concealed in walls, ceilings, counters—or virtually anywhere.

“We’ve been able to recess smart devices like voice assistants in the toughest of surfaces, like a stone backsplash, for instance, making it a seamless part of the kitchen and bath design,” says Greg Montgomery, of TYM Home Technology Design.

Virtual Showrooms
Many brands now have showrooms and experience centers that offer virtual tours that are easy to access and full of inspiration. Most are available by appointment only and hosted by someone skilled in design and tech, who can easily translate both languages.

Virtual showrooms can also help connect design-build and tech integration pros and are an excellent source of referrals. Take a look online for Lutron, Crestron, Savant, Control4, and if you haven’t seen it, the Seasonal Living Virtual Designer Showhouse is also a fabulous source of inspiration.

Working together with design/build partners and armed with knowledge, integrators can create high design and functional spaces that deliver a new level of luxury.

Looking for a technology integrator? The Home Technology Association (HTA) has an Integrator Finder as well as a Technology Budget Calculator that helps identify a starting point and price range for smart home projects that design-build pros and their clientele are free to use, anytime.

Katye McGregor Bennett

A 25+ veteran of the residential tech & AV integration industries, Katye McGregor Bennett is the CEO of KMB Communications, a boutique communications firm that anchors the intersection of technology + design by connecting brands, buyers, and prospective audiences through creating compelling content and conversation that elevates and amplifies. In addition to co-hosting Design Uncut with Veronika Miller, Katye hosts two popular podcasts, Connecting Tech+ Design and AV Trade Talk. She is part of the DesignHounds influencer group and also serves on the NAHB Custom Technology Work Group, is a strategic advisor in the CEDIA, HTA, and AVIXA communities, frequent contributor to Connected Design and founder of the AV Yoga group.

FEATURE ARTICLE

'Immersive Experience'

By Olivia Sellke

The relationship between health and wellness and technology has grown exponentially over the years, from wearables to professional fitness equipment that connects you with trainers around the world à la Peloton or the “Mirror.”

These experiences left some fitness enthusiasts wanting; one such person was Charles Pearce, founder of Immersive Gym, a transformational environment platform that uses cutting-edge technology to create versatile and immersive augmented reality environments in gyms and fitness studios to optimize every fitness experience. Launched in December of 2019 in London, some may say that Pearce was ahead of the curve, but he says he was merely responding to a gap in the market.

“I’ve been working in the prime property sector for the majority of my career, and we saw technology being implemented into home cinemas and even saunas, spas and pools — but the home gym over the last 40 years has largely remained unchanged. Sure, you have equipment and mirrors and maybe a TV, but that hardly gets people excited or keeps them motivated about wellness as part of a daily routine.”

Key To Achieving Full Immersion
Pearce says the hours he logged on his bike while training for a charity ride pushed him to create something better. And Immersive Gyms was born.
“Staring at a screen surrounded by my blank four walls, I couldn’t help but think ‘Wouldn’t it be great to be engaged in my environment and be immersed in the full field of view of the course as I rode?’”

Utilizing short-throw projectors is the key to the full immersive experience. The team at Immersive Gym works closely with integrator partners on the design of bespoke systems and specifying products that will deliver the best end result.

Immersive Gym is also an incredibly flexible solution from a content perspective. The system can be integrated with top fitness platforms such as Asana Rebel, Zwift, and Peloton, but the Immersive Gym team also creates custom content for clients. The world’s Olympic teams didn’t get to row the Tokyo Olympics rowing course last summer; Immersive Gym customers can do it virtually – from their own homes.

Integrator Connection
As Immersive Gym continued growing and developing, it was clear to Pearce that skilled integrators were the key to implementing this technology solution. Today, Immersive Gym is part of CEDIA’s Propel program, an affinity program designed to connect CEDIA members to new brands and products in emerging categories. CEDIA global members are the only group of integrators that have access to the Immersive Gym product in the residential channel. Additionally, Immersive Gym is offering a free rowing trainer to CEDIA members as an added value to their clients to promote the concept of connected content and exercise equipment.

“There was already a trend of fitness taking on a larger role in the home, and COVID was an accelerant. I think it provides an exciting opportunity: homeowners are looking for better solutions, and integrators are looking for new business opportunities that can leverage their current skill set.”

INTEGRATOR SPOTLIGHT

Electronic Concepts Design Center

Finding custom integration may have been a stroke of chance, but Paul Bochner’s passion and dedication crafted a career.

Written by Jessica Guyon

It’s an origin story that seems to ring true for so many of the greats in this field: you don’t just find a job in custom integration, a job in custom integration
finds you.

President and Owner of Electronic Concepts New York (ECNY), Paul Bochner says that’s exactly how he went from working in corporate security to becoming a luxury home automation specialist with a company that’s been named one of the best AV firms in the U.S. by HTA and one of the “Best of New York” by New York Magazine. “I met a guy on my ice hockey team who happened to be doing home theater,” says Bochner. “I was into car audio at the time so the minute he told me that he was installing audio in homes, I was intrigued.”

From their conversations between slapshots, Bochner decided to join his friend on a few jobs. It was the late 90s and home theater was booming. So the opportunities for him to gain experience were endless. Looking back, Bochner humbly attributes much of his success to being in the right place at the right time, but it is apparent that his determination and work ethic are the more likely reasons behind his catapult into this business.

Bochner worked and learned alongside his teammate-turned-co-worker for a few years then took a job at Talk of the Town Video to gain even more insight into the home theater business. Two years went by, and Bochner spotted an opportunity at Electronic Environments where he would spend the next decade working at the highest level within the company. But a few years in, Bochner felt pulled to create something of his own.

Bochner officially registered his business in 2004 but it wasn’t until about 2010 that Electronic Concepts really hit its stride. Since then, Bochner’s team has grown to about seven people with service offerings that include home theaters, home automation, HiFi, universal remotes, pre-wiring, and networks. They also tackle both new construction and retrofit projects. Though Bochner says he’s not particularly impartial to one or the other, he admits that retrofits tend to be more rewarding.

Electronic Concepts has also relocated a few times over the years as the company grew.

“We went from the basement of my house, to a storage unit, to an office, to now, a full-blown retail space, says Bochner.

As the Electronic Concepts showroom stands today, Bochner says it is “very design-centered” with custom lighting and shades from Savant and USAI; seating from Cinematech; and hidden tech like Reflectal Mirror Solutions. You’ll find a world-class home theater, featuring Barco Projection, B&W speakers and Lyngdorf electronics. Through the home theater, you land in the new Hi-Fi room, boasting luxury systems from Meridian, Dan D’Agostino Master Audio and Magico Speakers.

“Our Design Center is the best of both worlds; it’s a CI company’s dream but if you’re a performance A/V person, it has that aspect to it as well.”

The pandemic allowed Bochner and his team some additional time to focus on developing the showroom even further. Once their work was done, they created several high-production video tours that are catching the attention of new clients and manufacturers alike. At the time of this article, the Electronic Concepts Design Center tour video has over 65,000 views on YouTube in just the one month that it’s been posted, and Bochner says there are even more videos to come.

Marketing and social media has been a huge business tool for ECNY. Not only is Bochner personally involved in every installation, he is also the man behind the company’s social media profiles. His approach is not only to promote his own business, but also to contribute to the entire smart home industry as a whole. Bochner’s career has seemingly come full circle as he passes the puck onto the next person.

Paul Bochner, President and
Owner of Electronic Concepts New York (ECNY)

Contact Info
Electronic Concepts
New York
174 NJ-17
Rochelle Park, NJ 07662
ecny.net

CASE STUDY

From the Ground Up

Handcrafted Sound & Sustainability for a Brooklyn Brownstone

Written by Danne Dzenawagis
Photography by John Frattasi

After purchasing an impressive five-story, fixer-upper in the heart of Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood back in 2015, Adrian Grenier and his team began the arduous process of completely transforming the space from the ground up.

When approaching the remodel, Grenier, an actor, environmentalist, and investor, best known for his role as Vincent Chase in HBO’s TV series “Entourage,” was looking to preserve the original charm of the historic home while also incorporating the latest in smart home technology. And as someone passionate about the environment, he had sustainability top-of-mind for every aspect of the design process.

Grenier brought on local integration firm Powers IoT in Port Jefferson, New York, to address the technology needs in the space.

“When Adrian approached me about his Brooklyn brownstone remodel project, he stressed that the design should focus on providing a safe and relaxing environment as well as prioritizing sustainability and utilizing technology to achieve increased energy efficiency,” said Jason Powers, Founder and CEO of Powers IoT. “And because he’s an audiophile at heart, he wanted every space to be filled with high-quality audio. For this, we turned to our friends at Leon Speakers.”

Merging Sound & Sustainability
After consulting with Grenier and IoT to understand the scope and vision of the project, the Leon design team got to work creating a custom-tailored, whole home audio experience that would deliver premium sound with style and sustainability in mind.

“I’ve been a fan of Adrian’s for a long time, so I was excited for the opportunity to work on this project with him,” said Noah Kaplan, Founder and President of Leon Speakers.

“Sustainability is important to me as a business owner and that’s why our philosophy at Leon is to build products that last; products that aren’t meant to be discarded when the latest model comes out. Leons are an investment piece made of real materials that will remain in your home for many, many years.”

While working with environmentally friendly materials, recyclable packaging, and running its factory with Lean Manufacturing principles are all part of Leon’s standard operating procedure, the company wanted to take it a step further for Grenier’s project. Knowing his desire to have every detail of the home be as sustainable as possible, Leon was able to source local, reclaimed wood to be used in a number of the custom pieces being designed.

Make It “Party Ready”
To create a fully immersive listening experience, the home was designed with speakers in almost every room.

When entering the apartment into the main living room, a pair of Leon Profile Ultima tower speakers wrapped in reclaimed Walnut flank either side of the ornate fireplace. In the same space, a 3-channel Horizon Ultima soundbar built to match the exact width of the TV and a pair of 6” Axis in-ceiling speakers were incorporated to deliver high-quality sound in an unobtrusive package.

Downstairs in the screening room, a multifunctional space that Grenier wanted to be “party ready” and provide a home cinema experience, a full Leon 7.2 system was installed.
Customized to match the warm tones and rich colors in the space, Leon handcrafted a Walnut Edge Media Frame to encase both the TV and the Horizon Ultima 3-channel soundbar. A pair of 10” Aaros ultra-thin subwoofers also finished in Walnut were positioned underneath the TV, with two Axis In-ceiling speakers installed overhead. To complete the powerful, surround sound experience Grenier desired, a Timbre SEVEN Tower floorstanding speaker with butcher block cabinets was positioned on either side of the seating area, providing big, full-range sound.

The home’s bedrooms were outfitted with discreet Leon Axis in-ceiling and Vault in-wall speakers, as was the kitchen, which also includes an Aaros ultra-thin subwoofer wrapped in Walnut. The backyard and deck areas feature six of Leon’s Terra FIVE outdoor speakers.

In addition to speakers by Leon, the home also features Google Nest Learning Thermostats throughout to reduce the energy needed for heating and cooling, LED lighting powered by Lutron smart switches and motion detectors, and sense energy monitors to allow Grenier to track his energy usage in real-time.

For security—and peace of mind—Google Nest Secure alarm systems, Nest Cam IQ security cameras, and Nest Protect smoke and CO alarms were installed.

The Virtual Reveal
Once everything was installed and the final design touches had been made, Kaplan joined Grenier on a video call for a virtual walkthrough of the home.

“The last time I saw this space it was a construction zone so it’s great to see it all finished,” said Kaplan. “It’s really an amazing transformation.”

Grenier toured Kaplan around the different rooms, pointing out the various Leon products throughout, commenting on their design, “You’re really coming at this from an artist‘s perspective. You’re creating a piece of art with each of these products.”

At the end of the call, the two vowed to catch up in person someday to watch movies and play music together.

“It’s so good to see what you did with the space,” said Kaplan. “And I always appreciate how you pay attention to sustainability and the environment. Keep up all the great work you do, it’s really important.”

Contact Info
Powers IoT
407 East Main Street, Suite 5
Port Jefferson, NY 11777
powersiot.com

Equipment

Leon Profile Ultima tower speakers
Leon 3-channel Horizon Ultima soundbar
Leon 6” Axis in-ceiling speakers
Leon 7.2 system
Leon Horizon Ultima 3-channel soundbar
Leon 10” Aaros ultra-thin subwoofers
Leon Timbre SEVEN Tower floorstanding speaker
Leon Vault in-wall speakers
Leon Terra FIVE outdoor speakers
Google Nest Learning Thermostats
Lutron smart switches and motion detectors
Google Nest Secure alarm systems
Nest Cam IQ security cameras
Nest Protect smoke and CO alarms

Project Partners

Interior Designer
Estelle Bailey-Babenzien
Dream Awake
thedreamawake.com

CASE STUDY

Seamless Integration of Sight, Sound & Scandinavian Luxury

TSP’s Nordic Smart Spaces Blends Beauty & Home Automation in Icelandic Ocean Villa

Interview by Stephanie M. Adamow

Nordic Smart Spaces, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boston-based TSP Smart Spaces, is a technology integration firm located in Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland. Nordic Smart Spaces recently leveraged nearly three decades of experience to design and install smart home and whole-house entertainment systems in a seaside villa overlooking the North Atlantic Ocean just outside of Reykjavik.

The home was originally built in 2006 but went under major renovations in 2016 when the home came under new ownership. The new owner remodeled the entire layout of the home, which included cutting down concrete walls, rewiring all of the electrical paths and changing the plumbing.

“This is not a massive luxury mansion like you would expect to see in the Hamptons,” explained TSP Smart Spaces President Michael Oh. “But this seaside villa was designed and built with tremendous attention paid to every detail, with particular focus on the interior of the home.”

Goals of the Project
The home features a Scandinavian look with plenty of glass providing great natural light and a clean, modern look. Sourcing from the best in Iceland, the owner put together a team of the best architects and designers (interior and exterior) to create this stunning home, working with architects Steve Christer and Margrét Harðardóttir at Studio Granda (the same firm that designed Reykjavík City Hall, the building of the Supreme Court of Iceland and Reykjavík Art Museum Hafnarhús), alongside Selma Agustsdottir who did the interior design.

The client was looking to bring audio solutions to his home as well as home automation for AV, lighting and shade control, while maintaining the aesthetic impact of all of the technology to a minimum. Prior to our installation, the technology in the home was from a myriad of sources. Basalte keypads, KNX lighting, and the home’s preexisting audio solutions all worked independently of each other. When we came into the process early in the design phase, one of our most important goals was integrating all of the smart technology in the home under one integrated control system.

The ocean villa was outfitted with the finest furnishings and appointments, including over 20 motorized shades and custom draperies. Featuring floor-to-ceiling glass throughout much of the living space, the villa became something of a cocoon from the wild weather rolling in along the Icelandic coastline.

To accommodate the homeowner’s desire for the cleanest look throughout the interior, the Nordic Smart Spaces team deployed 20 Amina Edge5 ultimate-performance invisible loudspeakers complemented by five Amina ALF architectural subwoofers (four ALF120s and a single ALF80), creating a high-resolution, full-range entertainment system with zero impact on décor. The Edge5 speakers were utilized in the open-plan living space that includes a living room, dining room and kitchen. They were also deployed in each of the bedrooms and the study.

The Edge5 Invisible Loudspeaker
Hand-built in the UK, the Amina Edge5 creates a dynamic and engaging listening experience unlike any other invisible loudspeaker, and the exceptional dispersion characteristics of the Edge5 enable it to effortlessly fill large spaces with beautiful, detailed sound using fewer drivers. Amina invisible loudspeakers offer better performance through proprietary, patented technologies that have elevated the architectural speaker category to a new standard. Integrators and associated contractors appreciate that the Edge5 uses a high quality fire-resistant panel material that allows for a seamless fit into plasterboard walls and ceilings without the need for a full wet-skim, all in the easy-to-handle, lightweight form factor that Amina has become known for.

A Team Effort
“Because invisible speakers are a more complex installation proposition than a conventional loudspeaker with a grille, we have found that it is vital for the technology integrator to be involved early on, to be a part of the design process and to develop strong working relationships with the other trades onsite, especially the plaster & paint guys,” Oh explained. “You want to make sure you have access to the required space inside the walls and ceilings, and cooperating with the other trades ensures an incredibly refined finished product.”

Bass of Operations
The Amina ALF120 is a passive (not powered) transmission line horn-loaded design utilizing an array of four 4-inch drivers to create a very efficient, discreet subwoofer. This design enables Amina to generate extended, detailed bass response from a slim enclosure engineered to disappear inside walls or ceilings, delivering bass energy into the space via a discreet, narrow slot.

The ALF120 can play down to 27Hz at 111dB, making it the perfect subwoofer for this dynamic, full-range whole-house entertainment system. The ALF120 is also ideally suited for home cinema applications.

“The ALF120 is a large module to secure behind a wall or ceiling—we used damping materials to eliminate any resonances and suspended the enclosure on sturdy rails lagged to the concrete,” Oh said. “Architectural subwoofers are a project but the result was well worth it.” A smaller cousin to the ALF120, the ALF80 is bandpass design that requires less space and can provide precise, extended bass at high levels using a small circular vent into the room.

Music Everywhere
The Icelandic villa features advanced smart home functionality from Savant, including their Pro Audio 4 50-watt amplifiers driving the Amina Edge5 invisible speakers. The Savant Pro Audio 4 also features built-in streaming and synchronized multi-zone distribution so that homeowners can enjoy individual zones or grouped zones for festive gatherings without timing error between zones. The system can be controlled via the Savant Pro App and/or their Pro Remote X2. “When music is playing throughout the living space, you really have no idea where the sound is coming from. There are no visual cues, no aesthetic awareness, just an immersive listening experience that is quite stunning,” Oh explained. The system features amplification with onboard DSP capability, enabling the Nordic Smart Spaces team to fine tune the speakers and subwoofers in each zone to perfection.

Clients Love it!
Invisible loudspeakers bring added value to the discerning client while providing an opportunity for integrators to showcase their unique skills and deliver a magical end result. “Amina invisible speakers are a well-engineered, beautifully manufactured solution that is perfect for those clients who want a superior entertainment experience without any imposition on décor and interior design,” Oh concluded. “In addition to offering refined loudspeakers, Amina supports integrators through the design and installation process with a knowledgeable and passionate team—these folks really strive to help us deliver the best finished product for our customers.”

Contact Info
TSP Smart Spaces
1280 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-267-3030
Michael Oh, Founder & President
smart@tsp.space

Equipment

Amina Edge5 Invisible Speakers
Amina ALF120 and ALF80 Subwoofers
Lutron HomeworksQS Processor
Custom Lutron Sivoia QS Silent Shades
Savant Pro Remotes
Savant Pro Audio 4 all-in-one music solution

Project Partners

Builder
Studio Granda Architects

Architect
Selma Agustsdottir

Crestron Home Ad

FEATURE ARTICLE

Securing Relationships

The integrator must build consumer trust as the smart home evolves.

Written by Stephanie M. Adamow
Photos Courtesy of Crestron Electronics. All rights reserved.

As the definition of “smart home” evolves, the importance of security increases, becoming top of mind for consumers. In fact, privacy and security concerns are among the top purchase barriers for those who don’t own smart devices, revealed Tech Journalist Andrea Smith at a CES 2021 roundtable.

Participating in the discussion were Ohad Amir, CTO, Essence; Michelle Guss, director, Residential Business Development, Crestron;
and Michael Mahan, VP, Home & Distribution Business, North America, Schneider Electric.

Rise of the Intelligent Home
All participants agreed that the actual definition of the smart home has changed. While a few years ago, it was enough for the lights to dim or brighten or the temperature to adjust based on our commands; today, the call is for the home to be more intelligent—to just “know” when to perform these actions.

“To truly make the home intelligent, it needs to do things automatically based on what the client likes to do during the day,” said Guss.

Guss and Mahan agreed that the market drivers now also have shifted. It is no longer just about lighting and temperature control, but air quality, energy usage and water management.
Certainly, integrators are poised to provide a connected product for all of those needs, but Mahan asserted: “Expectations will continue to grow, and we as an industry need to figure out how to make those things work together in a way that makes sense for the homeowner.”It is up to the integrator on the front and back ends to ease the homeowners’ concerns.

Clearing the ‘Fog’
Because devices run on various platforms like Zigbee, ZWave and WiFi, at the start, Amir recommends that various chips be installed in the control unit to connect to what certain devices require. Also an option is having a layer in the cloud.

“At Essence, we do both, connect devices through [the control unit] and cloud-based integration with digital assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant to make it seem like all of it comes from the same system,” Amir explained.

To minimize interaction between devices and the cloud, Amir explained that Essence uses fog computing between edge devices and the cloud.

“All private items like videos are down at the edge, and the cloud only receives what it needs to and does more heavy lifting, “ Amir further explained.

Transparency Is Key
The products that are providing convenience are exposing our privacy. Trading a bit of privacy for this convenience means integrators need to gain consumers’ trust.

“Consumer trust is essential for the development of the smart home industry,” Mahan noted. Mahan’s advice is to be completely transparent with the consumer, explaining risks versus benefits, which also means ensuring them that if there is a problem, you will be there to correct it.

“Consumers need to make sure they do business with reputable companies and understand where their data is going,” Guss added. “Convenience will always trump privacy concerns if they understand what the data is doing and trust in it.”

COVER STORY

Sunshine, Sophistication & Security

Global Wave Integration showcases its ingenuity in luxurious seaside estate.

Interview by Stephanie M. Adamow
Photography by Living Proof Real Estate Photography

On a sun-soaked and sea-breeze filled piece of American land, nestled between the ocean and an intercoastal highway, one young family envisioned a luxurious new estate home, brimming with beauty and intelligence. Enter Global Wave Integration (GWI) with its one-of-a-kind offerings and commitment to teamwork to make this dream a reality.

The project was all things sophisticated and highly complex. Among the many featured systems are a Crestron Digital Media NVX system with 33 sources and 28 endpoints in the main house alone; a “Fun Zone” for the kids, featuring a Planar video wall as well as a GWI-designed VR/AR gaming system; Lutron HomeWorks QS Lighting System in addition to 234 fully automated Lutron shades, which are programmed based on the time of day; and a Crestron Sonnex Multi-Room audio system that serves 90 zones inside.

“The main performance objective was to provide a fully intuitive automation system that allowed the family to easily operate their expansive estate,” noted Kyle Steele, president, GWI. “Knowing this was a luxury residence in every regard, we deployed a full Crestron experience that allows them to feel like they are living in a world class resort, while simultaneously being able to simply and intuitively navigate their home. By utilizing Crestron in every aspect of the property, we were able to create the state-of-the-art yet simple-to-use interface and voice control capabilities that the family desired.”

Peace of Mind
The primary concern for the family was security. “It is the most elaborate access control system we have deployed to date, with many maglocks installed on the interior doors, including a security room and a marine-grade surveillance system that captures the ocean and intercoastal side of the estate,” explained Ryan Guss, GWI’s general manager.
To maintain security, GWI installed an IC Realtime surveillance system; DoorBird entry units as well as access control doors from Rosslare. A GE Interlogix Security Alarm is fully integrated into the Crestron system for touch panel control.

“The access control system on the main house has 64 controlled doors monitoring anyone that enters an area with a unique pin or assigned HID Fob,” said Steele. “If there is a party or event, access control can simply be bypassed with Crestron through relays on the maglocks.”

With this peace of mind, the family can focus on what makes them happy, which is entertaining with their musician friends. It was necessary to allow for DJ and band inputs on the exterior to jack in live audio throughout the estate, Guss explained.

“The family also is frequently on their yacht,” Steele added. “With the new addition of the dock, we custom built low-voltage housing so the yacht can seamlessly switch over to the house systems.”

FUNctional Spaces
GWI certainly provided both the FUN and the FUNctional, and the homeowners were more than appreciative. “The homeowner informed us that one of the reasons he selected our company was due to our forward-thinking mindset,” Steele relayed. “He said we spoke about solutions that no other company brought to their attention, like voice control with JOSH AI, AR/VR gaming and video walls. He allowed us to push the massive system to its limits by utilizing best-in-class and next-generation solutions.”

The Fun Zone includes custom graphics that allow for drag-and-drop placement of any source, in any position in a 2×2 video wall or single source for entire video wall; single-touch volume control that jumps to audio of any screen; and a bowling alley and a bowling computer that can also be a source to display bowling scores and animation on a display above the lane or on the nearby video wall.

When it’s time for studies, a Future Automation Mantel Mount is used in the children’s classroom to allow the TV to be at a comfortable height when watching. “The display can also drop down to the children’s height to use as an interactive display for e-learning. This became a necessity during the pandemic,” Guss explained.

Custom Collaboration
The GWI team credits an incredibly collaborative environment between the architect, family, interior designers, builder and project management team to make the magic happen.
“For example, a creative solution was once hashed out during a design meeting to conceal the TVs with a motorized chalkboard,” Guss remembers. “The chalkboard would lower, revealing the TV and allowing the young children to draw. Once raised, it displays their artwork.

“The design team also loved one of our go-to creative solutions that seems to be a hit in our larger installations—the digital dinner bell. A concealed button under the dining room table will slowly flash the lights in the kitchen three times, notifying the staff that assistance is needed.”

Yet another depiction of teamwork was the effort of GWI to accommodate the interior designer’s wish for hidden tech. “It was very important to the designers that the technology was hidden or at least be flush to the surface,” said Steele. “This became challenging with speakers in the wood ceilings, which are difficult to conceal. We worked with a local fabric expert and theater panel company to create custom speaker grills that fit flush in the wood ceilings and were the correct width of the wood planks in the ceiling.

“This allowed us to hide the speakers without cluttering the beautiful flow of the wood ceilings. We had the fabric dyed to match the off-white ceilings, thus allowing the speakers to disappear into the wood.”

“This project was a team effort from everyone involved,” Steele added. “Communication was consistent amongst all parties. Weekly design meetings onsite and on the phone were imperative to keeping all parties on the same page and managing progress throughout.”

Contact Info
Global Wave Integration
505 S. Flower St.
Burbank, CA 91502
globalwaveintegration.com

Equipment

AVProLink Intercom System
Audio Control Atmos surround sound system with 11 speakers, 4 subs for a 7.2.4 speaker setup
BAC-Net controlled, fully-integrated into Crestron
Cisco Meraki network and IT infrastructure
Crestron Digital Media NVX
Crestron Sonnex Multi-room Audio System
Crestron-controlled DMX lighting (Fun Zone) for multiple RGB lighting zones
DoorBird entry units (Front Door Stations and Gate Control)
Enterprise Grade DDC HVAC System
Future Automation (Master Bathroom lift folds 55” TV into ceiling; Kids’ Classroom Future Automation mantel mount lowers 65” TV)
GE Interlogix Security Alarm
GWI-designed, first-of-its-kind VR/AR gaming system (integrates with Crestron)
Holovsion DoorBird units (5)
IC Realtime Surveillance Camera System
Intra-Property Fiber Link
Jandy iAqualink pool control systems (4)
Josh.ai Micros (30) are dispersed around the property for additional control by voice command
Lutron HomeWorks QS Lighting System
Lutron Pico wireless controllers
Lutron QS Motorized Shading System
Nexus 21 motorized lifts
Origin landscape speakers 192 individual and 16 subterranean
Panamax M4320s (14)
Planar 5×5 0.9 DLX Video Wall (nearly 140” diagonal) (2)
Rosslare Access Control System
SM3-PRO Panamax power conditioner (for each TV)
Somfy motor
subwoofers
SureCall cell phone booster systems
SWAMP (1) (Guest House); SWAMPE-8 expanders (4)

INTERNATIONAL INSTALLATION

Under the Grecian Moon

After years of designing theaters for clients, Theo Kalomirakis goes home to create his own personal dream home theaters

Written by Stephanie M. Adamow
Photography by Ioanna Pagalia

Like most aspirations, Theo Kalomirakis can trace his dream of creating home theaters back to a young age — to a time when he ran freely through apartment complexes in his Greek neighborhood, galavanting from one open-air theater to the next. They were all the same, he remembers: directors’ seats situated atop the gravel, large jasmine vines climbing the walls – and, of course, the movie screen.

“I would dream that one day, I would be able to rent an apartment in front of an open-air theater so I could watch movies for free!”

He even went so far as to create a “makeshift theater” of his own as a child, decorating with plants to create the rustic ambiance. “It was a big hit!”

Some may call him a movie buff; he is fan of independent movies and old American classics, but it goes far beyond a mere love of film. As most in this industry are aware, it is a passion
for creating an authentic cinema experience at home that is his calling and his trademark.

When the pandemic hit last year, Kalomirakis was busy with his latest venture, Rayva, a business he co-founded, which provides integrators with home theater template designs that can be installed in a few days, as opposed to a few years. While he intended to depart for Greece in the fall of 2020, he decided that with the state of the health crisis, it would be best to leave a bit early, arriving there in July 2020, where he settled into a home he purchased in 2018 and was renovating.

For Kalomirakis, this has been a time of reflection, of reconnecting with his roots and coming to peace with the current state of his career.

A Dream Fulfilled
Kalomirakis “fell in love” with the property, particularly the garden, and quite quickly “went crazy” designing the open-air theater of his dreams.

“Everything that I had seen in the homes of the clients I worked with, I wanted,” he exclaimed. ‘Everything’ isn’t always in the budget, so he reached out to friends in the industry to find what he needed in his target price range. “I stopped at nothing to make the theater the most technologically advanced.”

The home provided Kalomirakis with an opportunity to view the installation process from both the homeowner’s and the integrator’s vantage points. “You do your best to finish a project to a client’s liking, but you don’t always know, when you leave, what their hobbies are; and you never know if you completed a job that is 100 percent what they need,” Kalomirakis explained.

“With my theater, I discovered what I could do for the clients and what I may have missed to offer.”

With two levels to work with and between 4,000 and 5,000 square feet of garden space, Kalomirakis used the lower portion of the dual-level property for the open-air theater. In an almost hidden space of the landscape, the theater sits engulfed by jasmine and magnolia flowers that “break your nose” with their fragrance. A tile floor was installed as opposed to traditional gravel, and “indestructible” Italian seating was acquired from a designer with ties to Ralph Lauren.

The design is brought to life with a robust Klipsch sound system, a 4K Epson projector and lighting adorning each planting. A permanent metal structure was engineered for the
screen, clad with weather-resistant drywall, which was painted with Screen Goo. The lights are automated to dim at the start of the film, which happened to be “Darling,” starring Julie Christie, the movie selected for the debut of the theater.

“That night, there was a full moon,” Kalomirakis recalled. “To see the large screen with the Greek moon over it, it was an incredible experience.”

Creating the Magic
While the outdoor theater embodies all of Kalomirakis’ childhood memories, his indoor theater is the culmination of his years of designing spaces for his clients, including the lessons he’s learned and mistakes he’s made along the way.

“When I go to my home theater, I want to feel like I left the house and went to see a movie,” Kalomirakis explained. “I want to disconnect from daily life. I don’t want it to seem like an extension of my daily chores. It should be a special excursion. When you go to the movies, you dress up, you leave the house and you enter a new space. All of the things that have been visual signatures of my theaters all along were incorporated into this home theater.”

The extravagant theater architecture that flourished in the 1920s and early 1930s has always inspired Kalomirakis. “During those years, the Golden Age of theater architecture, hundreds of thousands of theaters were built, one more ornate than the other.”

However grand they were, Kalomirakis remembers realizing that each theater was a “hodge podge” of style motifs, from Chinese to Arabian, etc. “But there was something magical that held it all together — the passion of the architects to bring to the people the grandeur of European masters. They were still inspiring, even in their naïveté. They had an ability to create wonders for the regular people so that for an evening they could feel as though they were visiting a royal court.”

Kalomirakis wanted to apply what he respected from this age of architecture, without repeating these design mishaps. It has become his own signature, the ability to take simple spaces and make them appear richer and bigger.

“To take something so big and bring it down to fit a room without making it look like a dollhouse [has been my work]. Over the years I learned to manipulate scale so although the theater is tiny, the impression is that you are in a big theater. Because you fill it with details, you can break a monolithic room into smaller design components that create an illusion that the space is greater than it is.”

Integrators must take care when designing a theater that is not a great departure from the design of the remainder of the home.

“The key is to find out the makeup of the house and create something that is more developed and more detailed like a home theater should be, but not so much that it feels like a foreign object.

It took me years before I could say no to the clients [when they asked for designs that would not fit their home’s decor, but] I want them to have something to enjoy.

“This taught me a lesson,” he continued. “Good or bad, try to make the theater belong in a house but give it its own personality. Don’t try to show off by singing a different note.”

Over the years, Kalomirakis has become more of a minimalist – a “bold turn” from his days admiring the grandiose styles of the 1920s. In his interior theater, his attention was laser focused on elements such as the LED lighting, which encapsulates the theater from ceiling to floor. These lights change color on rotation with 350 different color combinations, which can move and flow or remain steady.

Another crucial element to Kalomirakis’ indoor theater was the curtain. While he admits that most people shy away from using curtains, he could not be more adamant that the curtain evokes a critical, magical element to a theater. “The curtain hides you from what is going to happen when the movie begins,” he noted. “That ceremonial opening of the curtain is what makes people applaud [before the movie even begins]!”

Kalomirakis envisioned a wall-to-wall screen, which impeded the ability of the curtain to retract. Not giving up on his curtain, he recollected the Radio City Music Hall’s curtain and the dramatic way it rises on pullies and then disappears into the ceiling. While he was never able to implement this vision in any U.S. theaters, he can now experience it at home.

“When the curtain goes up, you get goosebumps. It has a slow opening that creates a sense of anticipation.”

The design and lighting elements are fortified by CAT Elite loudspeakers and subwoofers and Klipsch in-ceiling speakers; a Barco Bragi CinemaScope 3D projector; and a Vutec
curved screen.

Additionally, Crestron controls everything in the home from AV functions in the two theaters and the sound system in the garden to the jacuzzi area, house security, HVAC and the motorized blinds upstairs and downstairs.

Contact Info
Roumpesis Ioannis Ltd
Audio Video Consultants
Evelpidon 49 Athens 11362
Hellas
Mob +30 6944432525
jr@home-yachts.gr

Equipment

ROXY Private Theater:
Apple TV 4k
Barco Bragi CinemaScope 3D projector
CAT 300-watt X 8 Channel Single-Ended amplifiers
CAT Elite front wall Cabinet Style Loudspeakers
CAT Elite in wall subwoofers
CAT Elite side wall Cabinet Style Loudspeakers
Crestron CP3 3-Series Control System® automation
Crestron Lighting controller
Crestron TSR 310 handheld remote control
iPad 11’’ pro remote control
Kaleidescape Cinema Player K0503-0100
Klipsch CDT-5800-C II in ceiling Atmos speakers
Klipsch KDA1000 Amp for in ceiling speakers
Oppo Blu ray BDP 103 player
Trinnov Altitude 24 channel AV Processor
Vutech curved screen 143’’ 2:35 format with H/V masking
Zappiti NAS Rip 4K HDR
Zappiti Ultra-High Range 4K HDR Media Player

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

Looking Back, and Toward the Future

Written by Theo Kalomirakis

Theo Kalomirakis

Above: Theo Kalomirakis Right: Kalomirakis began his theater design career 36 years ago, turning an unfinished basement in Brooklyn into “mini home theater.”

It has been a long time since I turned the unfinished basement of my house in Brooklyn into a mini movie theater – 36 years, to be exact. The end-result was humble. The walls were painted sheetrock and exposed plumbing pipes were hanging under the drop-ceiling tiles. The main asset in the room was 12 used movie theater chairs that I had bought at a plumbing supply store for a buck a piece. Their turquoise Naugahyde upholstery was spotted with multiple cigarettes burns. I remember it took me weeks to scrape off the chewing gum under the seats as I was trying to reupholster them in red velvet. The room was uninspiring both visually and performance-wise, because I lacked the financial resources – and the experience – to make it look and sound like what we now call a “home theater.” Still, it fulfilled my lifelong dream to be able to watch movies in my own dedicated space that had structured seating and none of the distractions of the typical family room: intrusive window openings, irrelevant furniture, and disruptive chit-chat from well-intentioned family members.

During the Eighties, I was working as a magazine art director, first at Time Inc. and then at Forbes. Toward the end of the decade, stories about my theater started appearing in the press, including in The New York Times. They resulted in calls from people who wanted me to do the same thing in their homes. I sensed an opportunity knocking at my door, but initially I was too hesitant to take advantage of it; I did not see myself as a designer – much less a home theater designer. But the calls persisted and in 1989, when my boss Malcolm Forbes pushed me to give it a try, I took a deep breath, quit my job, and plunged into a new career.

My first assignment was to design a theater for the heir of a cosmetics company who at that time was running to be the mayor of New York City. While I was still working on that project, I got a second assignment and then a third, all during the same year, 1990. Suddenly, my new career was taking shape. In the following years, assignments continued to come unabated. I hired designers and architects to help me, and by the end of the decade we were working on as many as 40 projects at a time.

In the beginning, I thought that home theater was mostly about design, but after multiple challenges and mistakes I learned that it is more than that; it is design and technology co-existing under the same roof.

CEDIA was established in 1989 when the electronics industry began to address consumer needs for home entertainment. I was one of CEDIA’s charter members and I watched my accidental “boutique” business becoming an integral part of a growing industry. I became close friends with visionaries such as Sam Runco, George Feldstein, Randy Klein, Dr. Floyd Toole, Chris Stevens, Tom Doherty, and many, many more. As leaders of small and large companies, the CEDIA pioneers worked hard to give shape and form to the industry and defined the standards for home entertainment.

As years went by, the design aspect of the business was claimed by its rightful practitioners: the designers. It was not always this way. During the first five or six years of my career, designers were hesitant to deal with home theater. Technology scared them – and to some degree, it still does. This gave me the opportunity to work with some of the top names in the design field and help them understand the requirements of home theater design. In the process, I learned some of their “tricks.” I was not surprised when the initial period of collaboration came to an end. Designers slowly mastered the language of home theater design and started designing home theaters of their own. In the process, they enriched the visual vocabulary of home theater with their unique vision.

Today, designers continue to be very influential in the business of home theater. Not only because of their design expertise but also because they often influence their customers to install a theater in their home. Designers are the A/V integrator’s best friend. They can make the integrator look good by adding visual flair to his project — not to mention that they can introduce him to new clients.

It is true that trends do not last long; home theater has lost some of the novelty it enjoyed during the Nineties. But as we experience the unlimited choices that streaming platforms offer
us right now, I do believe that home theater will grow as a business, continue to bring families together and enrich our lives with enjoyment.

INTERNATIONAL INSTALLATION

A Heightened State of Wellness

Cheshire, UK

Written by Stephanie M. Adamow

For many, the global pandemic has forced creative and increased use of at-home fitness and wellness features. Previous staples of life spent outside the home—time at the gym, for example—have lost some accessibility and created opportunities for savvy integrators who can help customers boost their quality of life in a myriad of ways.

UK-based SONA has been helping customers live life best at home for years. This whole-home masterpiece, titled “The I’s Have It” really showcases how much life-enhancing technology can be worked into living spaces.

The house is very contemporary in architectural design, with a large number of illuminated coffer ceiling details that feature tunable white and color-change lighting. As the rooms and general design of the house is an open plan, a comprehensive lighting system was a key requirement to ensure those spaces were practical and useable, whilst also intimate and cozy at times.

It was extremely important that the lighting levels and scenes were presented simply, so the team chose very simple keypads in either four, seven, or eight-button combinations for consistency throughout the building, and to minimize the number of options a user is presented with. Although a huge amount of time was spent on these preconfigured lighting scenes, the client also has the ability to access every room’s individual circuits to adjust these levels.

A number of automated events require no interaction from a user, with settings automatically based on the local sunrise and sunset time. Color-changing lighting provides the wow factor that the client was looking for. Not only can the lights change color in different areas in the property, but they can be set to synchronize within numerous rooms at the same time.

SONA also installed motorized window treatments for large floor-to-ceiling glazing in most rooms, a high performance AV system, a statement loudspeaker system for the main lounge, two focused media spaces, and intuitive control.

The master bedroom lounge features an artificial skylight installation that recreates a clear blue Mediterranean sky with an incredible beam of sunlight, regardless of the weather outside. This unit also has a night mode where the light of the moon is recreated to spill moonlight into the room and the detail of the moon’s surface can be seen.

An amazing ‘dancing’ water feature on the main patio area is also controlled by 16 outlets with custom programming, so the client can select feature sequences. The entire property features underfloor heating control, with towel radiator circuits in the en-suite bathrooms.

To maintain the desired aesthetic throughout, SONA provided a system using in-floor and very discreet flush in-wall temperature sensors, reporting back to central thermostats and manifold controllers.

Contact Info
SONA
4-5 Greenwood Court
Taylor Business Park
Warrington
WA3 6DD
UK
Simon Fulstow, Design & Technical Director
thinksona.com

Equipment

ABB
Amazon Echo
Anthem AV
APC
Apple
Artcoustic
Autonomic
Belden
Cleerline
Coelux
Crestron
CYP
Danlers
Domotz
DrayTek
Future Automation
Heatmise
Hikvision
ICE Cable
iPort
James Loudspeaker
Legrand
Lutron
Luxul
Mean Well
Meridian Audio
Middle Atlantic
Oppo
Origin Acoustics
Orluna
RTI
Ruckus
Sky
Sonos
Sony
Triax
Vision
Wyrestorm

Project Partners

Interior Designer
UBER Interiors
Chelford Road,
Ollerton, Knutsford, Cheshire,
WA16 8RY, United Kingdom
uber-interiors.com

INSTALLATION

Digital Home Systems

Rye Brook, NY

Written by Stephanie M. Adamow

On a horse farm in Stanfordville, NY, sits a 20,000 square foot residence. Digital Home Systems was a key part of the design process for this ground-up construction, which began in early 2018. The client wanted to equip this home with easy-to-use bulletproof technology that would enhance living.

Project Deconstructed
The homeowners’ wants and needs were to make technology an organic part of the construction so everything blended seamlessly in the home. They wanted to control all systems with ease within this large property.

It was very important to them to ensure there was proper WiFi coverage throughout the entire home and pool house. Regarding audio/video, they wanted televisions in all rooms (14 TVs plus a theater) with centralized sources so that each television would not need its own cable box. One of the homeowners is a former opera singer, so it was essential for music to be accessible throughout the house, pool and overall property.

Since the owners have multiple homes, security and the ability for remote monitoring was key as well. In this home, Control4 provided CCTV and alarms. (Digital Home Systems
is licensed and insured for all security aspects of the job.)

An essential requirement in this project was also a comfortable and immersive home theater. The home theater needed to be equipped for family gatherings, especially for the grandchildren.

Most importantly, the clients desired ease of use and reliability—a complete end-to-end solution.

Certified Showroom

Contact Info
Digital Home Systems
38 S.Ridge Street
Rye Brook NY, 10573
(914) 939-7000
digitalhomesystems.com

Equipment

In the Main home:
230 lighting circuits
7” & 10” inch in wall as well as portable touch panels
Control4 6×6 matrix switches 4K with audio down conversion (2)
Control4 Panelized Lighting System
Control4 Platform
Control4 Thermostats
DS2 mini door stations
EA5 Main Controller
Honeywell Security
Lilian Cameras for CCTV
Motorized mounts by Future Automation
Multiple LG OLED & LG Nano Cell Televisions
Multiple Room Controllers
NEC SI Phone System
Pakedge for WiFi
Paradigm CI Elite E80-R; E65-R in ceiling speakers
Seura Mirror TV
Sonance Mariners Speakers
SR260s & Neeo Remotes throughout the residence
Surge Protectors and battery backup by Panamax/Furman
Triad Amps

Theater:
Acoustic panels from Acoustic Innovations as well
Anthem Abm60 for processor
Anthem MCA525 Amps
Atmos 9.2
Fabric is FireHawk G5
JL Audio IWSV2-SYS-213 Sub & JL Audio Amp
Sim2 Nero4s Projector
Stewart Film Screen wall mask with vertical masking (screen size 60”by 141 or 153 diagonal) (2.35:1 ratio)
Theater seats | Acoustic Innovations Chair highpoint in Western Saddle leather with motorized foot and head rest (20)
Wisdom Audio Speakers; Insight series L8i Insight series P6i; Insight series P2i

Project Partners

Architect
Daniel Contelmo Architects
P 845-214-0802
F 845-462-8635
Dan@DTCarchitects.com

INSTALLATION

Cinegration

Arvada, CO

Written by Stephanie M. Adamow

When you enter a retail space, but you are welcomed by a flawlessly designed high-tech home, you very well may be visiting Arvada, CO’s Cinegration showroom. This Control4-driven space gives one an immediate, intuitive experience. This aptly named “Experience Center” was recently named as the 2020 CEDIA Award winner for Best Showroom (Americas).

There were several very clear goals in mind when creating this space. These goals included: to educate clients (and close sales effectively), to increase the segment of their business involved in lighting and shading, and to educate builders and interior designers on new technologies and the importance of working with custom integrators early in the process.

A tour of this space would begin with prospects entering into an open door, brightly lit with high-CRI downlights and abundant yet indirect natural light through two large windows. Semi-sheer Lutron shades manage the light and are incorporated into scenes for demonstration.

The showroom is divided into several amply-lit experience zones, with darkness in between to create a sense of direction and movement. At the beginning of the demo, all zones of audio are playing at a level just above the noise floor.

During the demonstration, the design consultant will use a local keypad button to ‘focus’ the audio into the zone they are demonstrating, in essence, muting all other zones and turning the current zone up. Pressing the button again will revert to the default demo state.

Most experience zones have a plaque that introduces a special idea and a call to action, inviting the client to initiate a command to the system.

“We want the client to begin touching and feeling the system as soon as possible to get over initial trepidation. The plaques have the added benefit of creating a self-guided tour during the era of social distancing.”

To the left of the entrance is the front hallway, with the experience plaque, “Complete Lighting.” “The purpose of this area is to inspire the prospect to begin mentally painting their home with light.”

To the right of the entrance and parallel to the cafe is the area called “Disguise and Hide.” “This experience is based on extending the illusion of a 55-inch Samsung Frame TV in art mode. Full range audio is reproduced with Sonance Invisible Series speakers and subwoofers.”

The largest zone of the experience center is typically referred to as the “Family Room,” however, the accompanying experience plaque reads “Immersive Entertainment.”

“This room represents a living-area entertainment system, and the technology from dedicated theaters that can be used to improve experiences in great rooms, rec rooms and common areas.”

Along the wing-wall of the cafe is an experience plaque called “The Power of Control,” and is mounted next to a Control4 touch screen.

“The experience plaque reads: ‘One Interface is all you need to access your entire smart home system,’ and then the technology proves the point.”

Cinegration worked hand-in-hand with manufacturers to create this 1,400-square-foot center. Fortress Seating built the sectional sofa to their specs. The firm explains the design work: “Cinegration generated a 3D layout of the suite, while finish materials, custom cabinets, and furniture were curated by a local interior design firm. The most dramatic contributions from the interior designers were to add a brick veneer to the longest wall of the showroom, and use durable luxury vinyl tiles in a wood-look to add a rustic-modern feel.”

CEDIA has described Cinegration’s Arvada Experience Center as “stunning,” “the perfect example of a true custom integration experience center,” and “just a great presentation.”

Contact Info
Cinegration
6425 W. 52nd Avenue
Arvada, CO 80002
AJ Brunson, Managing Partner
and Senior Software Developer
Eric Fischer, Managing Partner
and Director of Sales
720-295-2496
cinegration.com
CEDIA Member Since 2013

Equipment
Apple
AudioQuest
Cinematech
Colorbeam
Control4
Fortress Seating
Future Automation
Green Glue
Hunter Douglas
ICE Cable
KEF
Lutron
Marantz
Middle Atlantic
NYCE
Pakedge
Roku
Salamander
Samsung
Seeless
Sonance
Sony
Strong
SurgeX
Triad
Ubiquiti
Ultratouch
Wirepath
Wisdom Audio

WHAT’S NEXT WITH JESS

Designing in the COVID Era: So Long, Open Floor Plans

Written by Jessica Guyon

Open floor plans have been one of the most desired home layouts for quite some time now – and for good reason. They make a space feel bigger, offer better traffic flow, allow for easier entertaining, and the list goes on. But I’m here to tell you to put down the sledgehammer, because open floor plans could become a thing of the past. As many of us continue working and learning remotely, these walls and additional rooms are needed now more than ever.

Designers, builders, and integrators are taking a different approach to the next generation of homes built in the post-COVID era. During a recent panel discussion hosted by Josh.ai, CFO, COO and Chief Visionary Officer of DeVance AV Design, Dana DeVance explains that she is seeing a shift away from typical home builds that feature a single office space, and instead, she is seeing an increase in homes with two office spaces and even a dedicated “school room” for children who are still learning virtually.

“We can expect to see a shift back toward a more traditional floor plan style,” New York designer Daun Curry tells Architectural Digest. “Modern open-plan living is popular for many reasons, but during this period, we are realizing it can be a hindrance when our work lives merge into our living spaces. A surprising advantage of historic homes is that the spaces are clearly defined by separate rooms—allowing for a distinct demarcation between home and work life.”

Setting up a workstation on a dining room table or having the kids learn in their playroom may have worked for the past few months but it’s not a great long-term solution. Combining the functionalities of two rooms can cause distractions and decrease productivity. On top of that, the technology may not be up to par in rooms that were never intended for such purposes.

“Use cases are changing,” says Access Networks President, Hagai Feiner, who admits to taking video calls from the corner of his bedroom and the front seat of his Tesla. “Our family is having conversations now about how to create spaces where we can learn, work, and also have all of the technologies we want while still maintaining the simplicity we’re looking for.”

Of course, there will always be a need for large, communal gathering areas, but at the moment, there is a more immediate need for clearly defined spaces (on the inside of the home at least).

Get Dealerscope and Connected Design delivered to your doorstep or to your email.

Renew your Subscription!

Get Connected Design and Dealerscope delivered to your doorstep or to your email.

How, where and when we work has changed dramatically. We realize that these changes in your work habits may have impacted how you receive your issues.

Click on the links below to update how and where you receive your issues! Change your mailing address or request a change from print to digital, or just head to our websites.

EDITORIAL

SENIOR MANAGING EDITOR
Stephanie Adamow
sadamow@ctlab.media

CHIEF EDITOR DIGITAL CT LAB
Jessica Guyon
(267) 266-1432
jguyon@ctlab.media

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS
Chris Smith, TheCoTeam
Kayte McGregor Bennett, KMB Communications
Olivia Sellke, Caster Communications
Danne Dzenawagis, Leon Speakers
Theo Kalomirakis, Rayva

CREATIVE
Michelle Flores
mflores@ctlab.media

EDITORIAL OFFICES
230 South Broad Street, 17th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
www.dealerscope.com

SALES & MARKETING

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Alice Schmalzl
(940) 612-9581
aschmalzl@ctlab.media

PUBLISHER
Maryellen Oswald
(951) 677-9189
moswald@ctlab.media

PUBLISHER
Tony Monteleone
(718) 216-2046
tmonteleone@ctlab.media

SALES
Alexander Dailey
adailey@ctlab.media

SOCIAL MEDIA & VIDEO
Alexander Oswald
aoswald@ctlab.media

OPERATIONS MANAGER
Vicki Manucci
vmanucci@ctlab.media

CIRCULATION & DISTRIBUTION
Carrianne Ramsey
cramsey@ctlab.media

Reprints
Contact Publisher

List Rental, Postal/E-mail
Contact Publisher

ct.lab logo

Publisher of Dealerscope, and Connected Design
Copyright ©2021 CT Lab Global Media LLC

CT Lab Global Media is a diversified publisher of business and professional magazines. This publication is provided with the express understanding and agreement that the information and data within it will be solely for internal use and will not be used for the creation or updating of mailing lists for sale or distribution to third parties. Printed in the U.S.A.

ct.lab logo

PA OFFICE:
230 South Broad Street, 17th floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102

 

NY OFFICE:
31 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001

 

E-Mail: moswald@ctlab.media