Tuscan-style Villa Gets Tech Overhaul
The custom builder was concerned. His client, a professional baseball player, was requesting increasingly sophisticated entertainment and control systems for his three-story, 16,000 sq. ft. Tuscan villa under construction in a gated Scottsdale community. The builder didn’t think the electronic systems contractor his client selected could handle project, especially on the tight timeline the client had required.
So, even though a foundation was already laid and framing was going up, the builder urged his client to entertain a design proposal from Scottsdale-based Cyber Sound & Security. The client relented and—based on a handful of phone conversations and a proposal developed without a face-to-face meeting—awarded Cyber Sound the job.
“We were able to assure him that his complex project was not an atypical job for us,” said Cyber Sound Project Manager Chris Easter. “We are a full-service company that maintains ongoing relationships with our customers. It would not be a one-time sale.”
The deal done, quite literally it was game time: It was March. The client was in Spring Training, and he had told the builder he was moving his family into the home before Christmas—whether or not it was done.
Cyber Sound’s scope of work, awarded on short notice, was massive: a fully integrated Crestron system that controlled an extensive audio/video network, two outdoor pools, lighting throughout the home, 17 zones of HVAC, and a sophisticated security and surveillance system. The entertainment system featured 54 music zones and 23 independent high-definition televisions, including multiple-display media walls.
Cyber Sound quickly assembled its team—including two full-time project leaders, one for rough, one for finish—and began wiring the home the next week.
Technically, the villa was a wiring obstacle course. To achieve the desired rustic look of a Tuscan villa, architect James Hann Design specified the extensive use of plaster, masonry, tile and stone‑materials that thwart traditional wiring methods. Most of the HVAC system itself was underground.
Cyber Sound’s job was to make the technology invisible and easy to use. The firm worked closely with the client’s interior designer throughout the project—to integrate a high-performance Meridian theater and media wall into a New York nightclub-style lounge and to reduce the visual impact of speakers installed into faux-finished walls and ceilings, for example.
A pub was outfitted with a full surround sound system, a media wall consisting of a 60-inch plasma HDTV flanked by two 42-inch HD displays, with an other 42-inch plasma behind the bar—all controlled by touch-screen remotes.
Cyber Sound programmers included the home’s floor plans in the Crestron control system’s user interface, so a person could simply glance at a touch panel to see the status of the home’s HVAC, lighting and security systems on any of the three stories. “Giving access to all of the systems with an easy to use interface was our main accomplishment,” said Easter.
For roughly eight months, Cyber Sound only had phone access to the client, who was on the road playing baseball. In the fall, Cyber Sound’s team leaders gave the client an on-site tour of their work (as is the company’s practice before a project comes to an end). They walked from room to room, reviewing what would happen, technologically, in each.
Before Christmas, home was finished, Cyber Sound’s $700,000 project was done, and the client and his young family moved in.
“He was pleasantly surprised that we met his deadline,” said Easter. “They like that the technology is tucked away, and not over powering the house, and that they do have full control at their fingertips no matter what room.”
Cyber Sound managers respected that their client was performance-driven and detail- and deadline-oriented and embraced his expectations. “We’re the toys of the house,” said Cyber Sound’s Lead Installer Mark Samsal. “We have to deliver.”
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