HD Homes : Custom Home Theaters
Home Theater With a Major WOW Factor
In upscale Beverly Hills, Calif., it’s not uncommon to find homeowners who know what they’re talking about with home electronics. One of them recently requested Just One Touch, Video & Audio Center’s custom division, designs and installs a state-of-the-art automation and integration system for his family’s entire house, interior and exterior. In addition, he wanted the system to be easy to use, reliable and easily adaptable for future upgrades.
“Most importantly, they wanted that ‘WOW’ factor,” says Joseph Akhtarzad of Just One Touch/Video & Audio Center. “The clients are a young couple with a large family of young kids, and they have expressed that they enjoy entertaining.”
The most impressive part of it all is that Just One Touch was able to install a bevy of large, complicated electronics without ever impacting the home’s meticulously planned décor. Of course, as with almost every project, the home theater is the centerpiece. One impressive feature is the motorized curtains, which reveal a stage area created for the kids to put on plays. The subwoofers are conveniently positioned inside the stage. The components and the projector are hidden in cabinets, and the speakers are in-walls behind the acoustic paneling. Just One Touch added a nice touch by covering the speakers with the same fabric as the paneling to make the wall seamless, thus hiding the speakers. Finally, a wireless touch panel is dedicated for this room only, adjusting the lights, screen and theater.
The family room features a plasma above the fireplace with five ceiling speakers and a sub in a cabinet. “In the beginning, there was a trend, not a theme, to make the technological equipment blend in with the interior design,” Akhtarzad says. “The client did not want the electronics to be prominent in the home.” All the equipment is either hidden in the wall or cabinets, letting the interior design have its intended effect, without sacrificing one bit of the entertainment experience.
Speaking of entertainment, the family in this home loves to entertain. In addition to the stage in the home theater, there is a piano in the living room for the kids. Just One Touch added a microphone that ties into the rest of the audio system so the parents can listen to the children sing and play the piano no matter where they are in the home. For entertaining in the bar area, there is a flat-screen plasma 1080p HDTV on the wall by the pool table, with two speakers and a Crestron touch panel in the wall. “A lot of sports-style entertaining is done in this room because of the relaxing atmosphere and beautifully designed bar area,” Akhtarzad says.
For lighting control, Just One Touch designed an elaborate lighting system accessible through touch panels in every room that enables the homeowners to select specific scenes with “just one touch” of a button. This involved hours of one-on-one with the client who wanted to be very precise on exactly what each button or scene would do. “Convenient pathway lighting is provided upon entry to the home that leads from the front door to the family room and other pathways during the night when moving about,” Akhtarzad says. “Other scenes involve the sconces and chandeliers that automatically adjust power during different times of the day.” In addition to lighting, audio is distributed and controlled from anywhere in the house.
Outside by the pool area, Just One Touch integrated full control of the pool and the water fountain into the same control panels the family uses to control the rest of the home. They also installed inconspicuous “rock” speakers that blend in with the landscaping so all you notice is the music. There’s no place in or around the home where you don’t have access to audio, since Just One Touch installed speakers in the patio by the barbeque, at the tennis and basketball courts and in the gazebo.
This was, by all means, a big project with a lot of variables, but Just One Touch installers have been doing these types of jobs for years. The biggest challenge on this project turned out to be the homeowner himself, who knew exactly what he wanted and was heavily involved with all aspects of the job from the design and engineering to the actual installation, remembers Akhtarzad. “He was very knowledgeable about the latest technology, and it was up to us to not only satisfy his requests, but to exceed his expectations. And we did.”