Home Technology : Audio / Surround Sound
Technology Blends with Home Decor
A lot of people enjoy their second homes because it delivers a vacation from the ordinary, a way to escape not just the hustle and bustle of their work lives, but their typical home lives as well. So perhaps these aren’t always the hottest spots for huge, sprawling home theaters. No matter. One homeowner was brave enough to allow the installers at Tune Street to show him how an intricately designed music and media system could blend in with the rest of his vacation home and have almost no impact on the décor whatsoever.
“They basically said they didn’t want anything extravagant,” says Dan Jarvie, manager for Tune Street. What they did want was access to their extensive vinyl collection from any room in the home, as well as a modest flat-screen TV they could hide away when not in use. “He wanted it to be as unobtrusive as possible—a lot of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers.” The client even asked to paint the in-wall speaker grilles to match the rest of the home.
A custom cabinetmaker had built an exquisite cabinet that sits on either side of the fireplace to hold the vinyl albums, and the homeowner wanted to feature the TV on the left side of it. So Jarvie installed a lift mechanism inside the cabinet that houses a 46-inch Sony LCD. “They didn’t want to have the aesthetics of the TV sitting out all the time,” Jarvie says. “They wanted it tucked away when they’re not using it.”
The biggest challenge was making sure the TV and the lift mechanism were going to fit, instead of having to rebuild the cabinet. The two together amounted to around 200 pounds, so they take up quite a bit of room to brace. The team at Tune Street was up to the task, however. Now with a simple press of a button on their Universal MX-350, which also controls the TV and a/v gear, the homeowners can raise the TV out of the cabinet, where it originally appeared as if nothing were there at all.
Throughout the design of the system, the accent was on minimal presentation with maximum attention to detail. Instead of intricate control panels or touch screens, designers used simple Niles volume up/down control pads on the walls of adjoining rooms with in-wall speakers in them.
The stereo itself is a simple, single-zone system with a CD player and now an iPod dock, but the homeowner primarily uses it to play his collection of Marvin Gaye, Isaac Hayes and ’60s rock ‘n’ roll vinyl. “He’s a little more of a purist in that way,” Jarvie says. “As cool as he thinks those other things are, he wasn’t interested in it for a vacation house like this.”
In fact, the thing the homeowners appreciate the most is that Tune Street was able to accomplish what it did without impacting the look of the home. “They don’t feel like they have this electronic house, but a great vacation house with good electronics in it,” Jarvis says.