HD Homes : Custom Home Theaters
Retro-fit Doesn’t Mean Sacrifice
It’s sad that many existing homeowners don’t realize just how incredible a home theater and automation system professionals like the ones at Audio Advisors in West Palm Beach, Fla., can design and install in their home. A lot of people assume you can only have the latest and greatest if you’re building a new home. And that’s probably true for some installers. But Audio Advisors didn’t get its reputation as one of the best in the country overnight.
So it’s no surprise its installers were able to transform this home with state-of-the-art climate and shade control, as well as a home theater, without the technology hanging out all over the place. The goal for the homeowner was to easily control all electronic aspects of the home from several central locations. This was accomplished by doing almost exclusively distributed audio and video—in other words, no rooms with boxes in the corner. And where there are local components (for surround sound and high-definition sources), the equipment was hidden away in a cabinet or equipment closet.
“The job was a retro. So even though the house was completely reworked, we were very limited on wire paths and capacity,” says Retail Sales Manager Ron Lennox. For instance, all the wiring throughout the house is piped. “It took careful design work to be able to achieve our goals and not exceed the limits of the space available.”
But it was key to wire cable throughout the home, since the client wanted full control of his a/v, as well as his shades and climate control, from a single Crestron touch panel anywhere in the home. “It makes control of the electronics very simple, as well as automating such things as shades coming down at specified times to protect the house from the sun and lighting and HVAC functions happening at pre-programmed times to conserve energy,” Lennox says.
The pinnacle of the project, however, is of course the home theater where Audio Advisors worked very closely with the interior designer to make sure all electronics blended into the room. The “big screen” is a digital projection dVision 1080p rear projection unit with a Lumagen Scaler, all hidden behind a 110-inch Stewart Filmscreen Starglass screen. The image is projected across two mirrors via an OptaKong Dual Mirror Assembly, also provided by Stewart.
The homeowner didn’t want to see a front projector hanging from the ceiling, or any of the electronics besides the touch panel for that matter, so Audio Advisors suggested the rear-projection screen. “It delivers not only the best picture quality available but also provides for viewing with light in the room and eliminates the need for an ugly projector or housing hanging in the room,” Lennox explains. Everything looks seamless and smooth until you open up the custom cabinet to reveal the equipment rack.
More ideas that came from Audio Advisors included an eSommelier Wine Management System, which inventories the client’s wine collection and makes the data available to any other screen in the home, as well as the Internet. No longer does the client have to rummage through his wine cellar, pulling out bottles to figure out what he has.
All of these touches contributed to an extreme level of satisfaction with the overall results. The client was surprised by “how easily he could navigate through the different systems and how fluid the design was, allowing his input to be implemented to accommodate changes in his needs as the project progressed,” Lennox says.
In addition, he loves the big screen because of the incredible picture quality and his ability to play and monitor movies for the children without ever going to the lower level where the big screen is located.