The house is owned by a local London property developer, who was eager that it incorporated the most convenient elements of ‘Smart House’ technology.

Our involvement

  • Initial design and specification
  • Total system design
  • Cable run out schedules and CAD designs
  • Managing and overseeing the first fix works
  • Second fix installation and equipment supply
  • System programming and commissioning
  • Supply of Cyberhomes operating system manuals
  • After-sales training and support

The building process

Originally built as two flats, the property was subject to a major refurbishment and enlargement project. Almost everything apart from the front façade was demolished and rebuilt using modern construction materials, this allowed the creation of large open living spaces with high ceilings, favoured by modern living.

In addition, a basement was created under the entire house, front and rear gardens, providing additional entertainment, utilitarian and living space. Under-floor heating, thermal and acoustic insulation, 1,800 sq ft of wenge wood floors, air-conditions throughout the property.

The result is a house of almost 5,000 square feet, fitted out with opulent man-made and natural surfaces. Almost all furniture and fittings have been bespokely designed and manufactured, incorporating the best innovations from the European and North American markets.

The house is owned by a local London property developer, who was eager that it incorporated the most convenient elements of ‘Smart House’ technology.

A special mention to Justin Harris

Although a self-build project, the owners relied heavily on the expertise of their project manager, in enabling their vision to become reality. Contact Justin Harris at Menthon Design.

Key elements

  • Hardwired and wireless networks
  • Multi-room music system
  • HD Video distribution
  • Surveillance monitoring
  • Lighting control
  • Intercom and access control
  • In particular, it was essential that it could all be controlled in a convenient way

The controls should be comprehensive enough to provide ‘blanket’ coverage of all systems, yet intuitive enough to allow use by all in the house—even the less technically minded!

In order to minimise disruption to the carefully planned decorative finishes of the house, it was decided to mostly have ‘floating’ control tablets, rather than ones fixed in wall plates. Similarly, Amina ‘plaster-in’ speakers were used to facilitate complete invisible sound throughout the house, including the steam room.

Being a large house over four floors, filled with young children, it was essential that people can communicate with each other as well as be observed for safety and security purposes.

This project was gained via a recommendation from previous job.

Security & CCTV

There were seven cameras in total, all external. The client specified that he would like to be able to view his entire perimeter of the property from any plasma within the home. All the cameras were set to record only when triggered, at night the cameras were able to see in the dark as they had built in infra red LEDS to illuminate the area in black and white.

We set up the camera system to be viewable over the internet from any computer via a web browser. Access was only given when a full password was entered after which there was full access available to live and recorded footage.

The security system was set to dial out to the client’s mobile phones when there was a break in or fire. The door phone/doorbell could even dial out to a mobile phone to and have a full two way conversation with somebody at the door. This is a very useful tool to catch someone that you may have missed and also can be used to pretend that you are in when you are actually out.

When the client is at home the door-phone dials straight through to the internal phone system, this enables the client to talk to someone at the gate and also open both the electric side garage and the main car gates from pressing keys on the telephone keypad. This whole operation can be viewed from any plasma within the property, or you can view over the internet where the same operations apply.

Intercom was also provided for room to room communication using a wireless ‘Panasonic’ telephone system. These sets had the ability of displaying the different room names on their colour displays allowing direct paging between rooms.

Home Automation and Lighting Control Systems

The Lighting control was done using a Clipsal C-Bus system. Some parts of the house already had intelligent lighting control, and other areas were left conventional. One of the client’s requests was that in this new phase of works, the whole house needed to be on the system. This proved to be quite a challenge as original circuits had to be re routed to dimmer panels located on the ground and first floor.

What it meant, however, was that all the lights could be turned on or off with a single button or from arming and disarming of the security system. It also meant that lights could be controlled on movement, for instance the first floor landing floor lights are activated by movement sensors after 11.00pm creating illuminated walk ways without the need to press a switch. On entering the property after dusk, door contacts would turn on the lights in hall ways welcoming the owner into the property.

In larger areas touch screens were installed. In the Drawing Room a touch screen with six pre programmed scenes was fitted giving the client an array of moods for the room depending on the occasion. It would also be possible to talk to callers at the gate and open the gate via these panels.

On leaving the property the house would go into occupancy simulation and play back a programme to give would be burglars the illusion that the property was occupied. Both the main car gate and the side garage are electrically operated; the client is able to open them by pressing a button on any touch screen within the property.

Heating Control

We integrated the ‘Heatmiser’ heating system into our control system and were able to set it up to be controlled remotely over the internet. As the client travels a great deal this gave him the ability to turn on and monitor his system from anywhere in the world, heating up the house in preparation for there return.

Products Used

  • Multi-room Audio Xantech
  • Touch screen control RTI
  • Lighting Control Rako Controls
  • Speakers Amina & Speakercraft
  • Security/Automation Comfort Home Controls
  • Cinema Audio products Marantz
  • Heating control Heatmiser
  • Windows Velux

Audio Visual Systems

Audio systems

An 8-zone multi-room audio system was provided and distributed throughout the house to in ‘Amina’ ceiling speakers and ‘Speakercraft’ rock shaped speakers in the garden; a hard disc sound server was used to store all the client’s CDs, album and cover art information which was then viewable from any plasma or ‘RTI’ touch screen within the property.

The in-wall and wireless colour touch screens provided full control of all the equipment stored within the rack (ie DAB tuners, sky, DVD, sound server) and audio within each zone. We decided to go with paint over invisible Amina speakers as the client did not want to litter the house with viewable technology.

Visual systems

The client wanted to be able to view Sky HD in all the main viewing areas within the home so we decided to install a ‘Smart-e’ audio visual switch that was capable of distributing high definition pictures over industry standard Cat-5 data cable to all of the LCD and plasma screens throughout the property.

All the plasmas were capable of viewing any one or all of the 8 CCTV cameras around the property with full control of recorded footage.

Even the in-wall ‘RTI’ touch screens were capable of feeding back live images from CCTV, Sky TV and DVD.

Under the rear patio and at the back of the basement the client had set aside a room for a stand alone cinema. After our careful assessment and off-site demonstrations the client decided to go for the awe-inspiring ‘Screenplay 777’ projector, this unit was set up to fire high definition video onto an 8 ft fixed widescreen display. As this room was a stand alone cinema there was no need for hidden speakers, so the decision was taken to go for high-end floor- and wall-mounted speakers run from a top-of-the-range Marantz amplifier.

Adjacent to the main basement area the client decided to install a top-of-the range spa/steam room with a granite bath cut from a single slab of stone. This room was equipped with ‘Amina’ plaster over speakers within the ceiling for audio reproduction and an Aquavision 23” LCD TV sunk into the tiled wall, this unit was also heated so as not to steam up, all this was controlled via a waterproof ‘RTI’ wireless controller.

The master bedroom was discreetly equipped with a pop up LCD TV located at the end of the bed, at a touch of a button the screen rises from a cabinet and turns on to Sky HD.

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