Intricate Retrofit Modernizes Home
While both retrofits and new construction offer their own unique challenges, retrofits can often be the most intrusive, mainly because the homeowner is living in the house during the remodel. It can also mean tearing down walls to run cables and install speakers. At least with new construction, structured wiring and in-wall cutouts can be planned out during the design phase.
Complex and intricate retrofits are nothing new for systems integrator FutureHome of Fresno, Calif. In fact, it’s their extensive knowledge and years of experience retrofitting homes with low-voltage wiring and designing electrical power distribution that has given them one of the best reputations in the area.
“This project was a lot of fun, but it required all of the skill sets we’ve developed over the years,” says Jim Richards, president of FutureHome. “There was no general contractor, so we were responsible for the carpentry and electrical design, in addition to the systems integration.”
The client’s direction was clear and concise. They wanted a big sound that would make their living room seem like the Maxell commercial from the ’80s. The system had to be easy to operate and guest friendly, flowing seamlessly throughout the residence.
While the homeowners were both electrical engineers and understand technology, the house was very traditional. The challenge was to incorporate technology without modernizing the home. Whole-house automation was a must, but the technology couldn’t overrun the look and feel of the décor.
This required careful positioning of the control panels that had to be placed in almost every room. For instance, only in the family room was a very visible wireless touch screen used to control the large media system. Since fewer control requirements were needed in the other zones of the house, smaller, in-wall touch screens were strategically placed with discretion.
System Designer Shad Bethke carefully chose all the components to satisfy the client’s overall objectives; high-performance sound and video, ease of operation and no negative aesthetic impact. Movies and videos are stored on high-capacity media servers for playback in the family room and master bedroom on 65-inch plasma 1080p TVs. High-performance audio separates provide the “hair-blowing” sound. To preserve the traditional styling of the environment, in-wall and in-ceiling speakers were installed. A hidden multi-channel amplifier was used to distribute audio throughout the house.
While the client wanted a high-performance system, there was little space for the components. So FutureHome re-designed a hall closet to install all the electrical equipment, which also helped maintain the elegant appearance that meet the client’s main objective.
The same “big sound” was required outside, too. So a number of exterior speakers were strategically placed in the patio area. For added convenience, a waterproof wireless controller was used to make adjustments to the exterior music in the spa and patio area.
For any other integrator, this project could have taken months to complete. However, the professionals at FutureHome, to the delight of the client, created the ultimate in convenience, luxury and state-of-the-art performance in a mere four weeks.