Exquisite Integration

This masterpiece of a home skillfully combines high-performance technology with exquisite integration.

BY ARTHUR STEVENS

Reprinted courtesy of Electronics Lifestyle magazine.

When it comes to home automation, there are homes that do it well and there are homes that take it to another level, elevating the home itself to a work of art. This home falls in the latter category, with the homeowner’s top goal being high performance yet totally discreet technology with an emphasis on interior design and architecture. The homeowner loves music and technology, and wanted home systems to be hidden but not at the expense of exceptionally high performance.

“The client’s requirement was to achieve both without sacrifice,” says David Haddad, president of Vidacom. “He wanted to achieve an extraordinary level of integration of all systems on the property, and be able to control them from easy-to-use interfaces. He also demanded a system with very high reliability.”

The home features AV, security, climate, shades, lighting, pool control, sprinkler, pool safety, VOIP, network and access control just to name a few systems. It has an impressive 52 video zones, 96 audio zones, 370 motorized shades, 54 discrete climate zones, and the list just goes on.

“The requirement that the technology be discreet while still offering the highest performance required extensive meetings and coordination between the design teams. The massive scope of the project required an extraordinary level of integration and planning,” recalls Haddad. “Both challenges were met with success due to a high level of teamwork, planning and documentation.”

Every TV in the 52-zone video system is hidden when not in use and can display up to four sources simultaneously, great for sports events in the game room and media room. Additionally, each room features high-end in-wall speakers and a dedicated hidden subwoofer. Larger in-ceiling speakers were faux painted to blend into the environment.

When it comes to home automation, there are homes that do it well and there are homes that take it to another level, elevating the home itself to a work of art. This home falls in the latter category, with the homeowner’s top goal being high performance yet totally discreet technology with an emphasis on interior design and architecture. The homeowner loves music and technology, and wanted home systems to be hidden but not at the expense of exceptionally high performance.

“The client’s requirement was to achieve both without sacrifice,” says David Haddad, president of Vidacom. “He wanted to achieve an extraordinary level of integration of all systems on the property, and be able to control them from easy-to-use interfaces. He also demanded a system with very high reliability.”

The home features AV, security, climate, shades, lighting, pool control, sprinkler, pool safety, VOIP, network and access control just to name a few systems. It has an impressive 52 video zones, 96 audio zones, 370 motorized shades, 54 discrete climate zones, and the list just goes on.

“The requirement that the technology be discreet while still offering the highest performance required extensive meetings and coordination between the design teams. The massive scope of the project required an extraordinary level of integration and planning,” recalls Haddad. “Both challenges were met with success due to a high level of teamwork, planning and documentation.”

Every TV in the 52-zone video system is hidden when not in use and can display up to four sources simultaneously great for sports events in the game room and media room. Additionally, each room features high-end in-wall speakers and a dedicated hidden subwoofer. Larger in-ceiling speakers were faux painted to blend into the environment.

A staircase swivels out to reveal the doorway to the hidden, access-controlled equipment room.

Another stunning feature is that the entire exterior of the home can be enclosed with hidden motorized insect screens, and a 40′ long, 10′ tall glass wall which is automated to open/close and ascend/descend at will.

Haddad and Vidacom are especially proud of the equipment room. Prior to the company’s involvement, there was a small inadequate space in the attic allocated for equipment. With the builder’s assistance, Vidacom helped design the two-story finished climate-controlled environment with a server room type raised floor for cable management. “This is not typical even for a high-end residential equipment room,” says Haddad. “I have never seen anything approaching it in 15 years in this industry.”

The scale of the equipment in the room is also impressive, with 12 full-size equipment racks (there are 23 total on the property) and approximately 50 in-wall electronic panels of various types. When you have high-end equipment in your home, it’s important to safeguard it. That’s why the equipment room is accessible only via access control, hidden behind a wooden wall with a hidden door that slides in and a hidden staircase that swivels out.

There are no less than 15 motorized TVs throughout the home that are completely hidden from view when not in use. This one, in the billiards room, features art when the TV is not in use. The mechanism swivels 180 degrees to reveal the TV.

Project Manager Redefined

Mark Andrews, an independent project manager for this home, was tasked with not only finding the contractors, including Vidacom, but liaising with the client to ensure his vision was realized. He was the client rep and project manager for all the technical systems in the house, designed all the IT systems, and was the “glue that pulled it all together,” says Haddad.

Andrews hadn’t worked with Vidacom before, but the company came highly recommended from an industry insider. “We met in our offices, and I put forward the homeowner’s ideas and general concept,” says Andrews. “David looked at plans and came back with an impressive proposal that had both vision and attention to detail. He understood what the homeowner wanted.”

The massive amount of trade coordination that Andrews was responsible for was certainly a challenge, rivaled only by the 15 or more completely hidden motorized TVs throughout the house. Most challenging and notable are the custom hidden TV in the billiards room and the in-ceiling model in the master bedroom. “Each room presented its own challenge for hiding these TVs,” says Andrews. The master bedroom, for instance, features a wall of windows facing an ocean opposite the bed. Vidacom worked with Andrews to design and install a TV in the ceiling. Motorized mechanisms had to be silent so as not to wake anyone up when going up or down. Andrews worked with the cabinet maker, Vidacom, and the architect to achieve these goals. “The TV comes down, turns toward the bed and is tilted at an angle so that you don’t have to strain to watch it”, says Andrews.

The scale and level of integration in this project is rare, and it was accomplished in a way that resulted in extreme ease of use. For example, the 370 motorized shades and every single window associated with those shades is in turn monitored as open/closed or locked/unlocked. “If someone tries to send a shade down and the window is open, the system will stop the shade from going down,” says Haddad. “This is just one example of the amount of detail being tracked in the integration and programming of the systems.”

To achieve that ease of use, Haddad took a lead role in the integration of a comprehensive Crestron system that features a gorgeous and intuitive GUI that delighted the homeowner. In addition to the audio-video, all the security systems had to be managed by Crestron, and Vidacom was key in making sure the security system was included in that, taking the vision through to the end.

Although the system is extremely complex on the back end, ease of use and reliability is exceptionally high. Every aspect was designed for redundancy and reliability to meet the homeowner’s demands. For example, each component throughout the house is powered via a dedicated 200-amp power rack located in the equipment room, making it so that each individual component can be monitored and remotely rebooted. That means less time spent on the site and less time spent engaging the busy homeowner, a win-win for everyone involved.

While it wasn’t easy, the trades, project manager Mark Andrews and Vidacom succeeded in creating a home that is more than the sum of its parts. It’s integration, elevated to the level of art.

 

Equipment – Contact us for a complete equipment list

Autonomic Controls MMS-5A; Crestron C2N-HBLOCK, C2N-SPWS300, DMC-DVI, DMC-HD-DSP, MD-3 , PROAMP-7X400 Amplifier; SWAMP-24X8 Sonnex Audio System, TPMC-9L Touch Panel; Danley Sound Labs Equipment Racks; ExactPower CORE-25-240-U4; Kaleidescape KSERVER-5000, VAULT- 100; Middle Atlantic Power Controller; Panamax Surge Protectors; Sonance LS l 0SUB Subwoofer, LS67SAT Speaker, VP65R Extreme Series, AS Series Speaker; Totem Acoustic Tribe In-Ceiling Speakers, Subwoofer; Velodyne SC-1250 Subwoofer; LG 50PA550C TV; Panasonic TC-P55VT50 TV; Sharp LC-90LE745U TV; Lutron GRX-TVI interface, Enclosure, HWQS Processor; Activated Designs TPL-39-6 TV; ElectroKinetics Motorized Lift; Nexus 21 TV Lift Systems DL-39