The clients insisted that they wanted the benefits of technology, but with virtually no aesthetic impact on the property. Their architect had produced a minimal, contemporary design and was keen for the focus to be on the ocean views and not technology. The clients loved the idea of streaming media to all areas of the home but it was imperative that the solution was easy to use. Our brief included:
- distributed media
- fully adjustable lighting
- sophisticated security system
- climate control including automated shading
Our solution was an integrated design that allowed all elements to be easily controlled, with only a single interface needing to be learned.
Technology & product solutions
We knew early on that the best solution for this client was Control4. It allows full automation of their lighting, shading, security, and audiovisual systems. They loved the simplicity of using the MyHome App and we recommended Control4 remotes for all AV areas and conveniently-located touchscreens on each level.
Accessing their media in any room was very important to our client, so we designed an AV distribution system managed by Control4. This gave them access via the touchscreen or their mobile device to digital radio, iTunes, CDs and streaming services in 10 audio zones, while Foxtel, Blu-ray, Apple TV and Plex were available on all six TVs.
Shortly before installation, we recommended that the clients upgrade from an HDMI matrix switch to newer HDBaseT technology. This offered the benefits of faster video switching between media sources (e.g. Foxtel and Apple TV) and greater reliability. The distribution system also allowed us to house most of the hardware in a rack, reducing the aesthetic impact on the home. Stealth Acoustics speakers were installed throughout to ensure music could be heard and not seen.
To keep wall-mounted devices to a minimum, we implemented a Dynalite system that not only controlled lighting, but also ceiling fans, blinds, louvres, privacy glass and the garage roller door. Dynalite was then fully integrated with Control4 to allow the clients to activate their chosen scenes via iPad or touchscreen.
The intercom was custom designed using an Aiphone door station connected to a PABX. In order to show video on their touchscreens, we installed a miniature IP camera that activates as soon as the doorbell is pushed. We also installed IP cameras at the front and back of the house as a security measure which the clients are able to view on their iPhone when away from home.
Considering the required minimal aesthetic impact of the system, we needed to be very innovative in our installation techniques. Most of the brackets used for mounting audio and security equipment were custom made from stainless steel and powder coated to withstand the sea air.
The Media Room was a stunning feature of the home with a beautiful internal sandstone wall. To meet the architect’s design requirements, we needed to make the TV ‘float’ on the wall and have the speakers be as discrete as possible. This was achieved using Stealth Acoustics for the left, right and surround channels and a K-Array centre speaker floating underneath the TV.
The outdoor entertaining area was particularly difficult to accommodate for sound without impacting the stunning features. In fact, the architect insisted that he didn’t want to see anything, so even discretely-positioned rock speakers were out of the question. After being shown the ceiling design, we proposed the neat integration of K-Array speakers into the timber slats together with a low profile subwoofer mounted under a floating granite bench so it was fully hidden from view. We custom made all brackets and painted them black so they disappeared into the shadows between the slats.
In the basement bedrooms, we were asked to come up with a way of concealing the controllers and HDMI boxes behind the TVs. We designed a reveal to fit an architrave general power outlet, network and coaxial point and also allow each TV to sit flush to the wall. The acoustically-lined MDF housing prevented sound leakage to adjoining rooms.
In projects with exceptionally high focus on aesthetics, it can be challenging to provide performance and functionality without compromise. This installation involved a significant level of complexity in meeting the clients’ and architect’s vision, while maintaining the integrity of the system as a whole. Our extreme attention to detail and a willingness to think outside the box meant that everyone’s goals were met – including ours!
Location: Palm Beach, NSW Australia
Completion Date: December 2012