ITSA 2015 Winner
Source: SVI magazine Jan/Feb 2016
Setting the scene on our Install & Technology Solutions Awards’ Best Whole House Integration winner, the private home of a property developer, Cyberhomes had worked successfully with the developer on several previous residential projects before, but this time—in the tradition of all the best action movie sequels—was personal.
The developer was making a significant expansion of his own home so he naturally turned to Cyberhomes for the AV and automation of his home. Starting from absolute scratch, the original property on the site was knocked down, a two-storey basement was dug out and a new three storey house built on top of it. As the client had previous experience of Lutron lighting control and had used Sonos systems before, he understood the benefits of multi-room audio. However, the concept of integrating these, along with all his AV control, heating and security into a single control system was new to him… but once Cyberhomes had demoed the Savant Pro system to him he was sold on the concept.
As a result of all this, Cyberhomes were engaged on the job, but only when most of the main construction had been completed and first fix electrics were about to commence. So, coming in a bit late in the design day in the grand scheme, but still with the opportunity to ensure the necessary cabling infrastructure could be installed.
Taking the concept of a leisure room to its ultimate conclusion, the basement level mainly consists of a large playroom and in the corner of it is a cinema room with a permanent projection screen (150-inch diagonal, 163-inches wide x 63-inches high). One wall of the cinema is open to the playroom, or can be closed off by the use of a heavyweight curtain that has its rails in the ceiling so it hangs from floor to ceiling creating perfect blackout.
Sound-wise, the front-centre-left speakers are B&W in-wall, fitted behind the screen which is acoustically transparent. Because of the open side, the surround speakers could not be in the walls, so B&W in-ceiling speakers were used. The seating is a large area of comfy ‘lounging space’.
Bespoke cabinetry houses the Runco projector which projects through a hole cut in the cupboard door, whilst a Lumagen Radiance video processor ensures optimum picture quality from all the sources. The cupboard is force ventilated to ensure the projector doesn’t overheat. Screen size and distance between the projector and screen meant that a high-brightness projector with a long throw lens was required.
Getting back to illumination, the whole house has a Lutron lighting control system with 36 custom-engraved wallplates. There are also a number of occupancy sensors that can trigger lighting automatically as rooms are in-use (for example bathrooms and en-suites), plus some decorative lighting features that light up as you walk past them. There are also a number of features in the grounds/gardens that are lit by exterior lighting for which Cyberhomes programmed an astronomical schedule, so that these features are lit automatically as dusk approaches and then turn off in the early hours. There is a ‘night mode’ too that operates without having to turn on/off different lighting circuits. As the lighting is so important to the overall interior design of the property, Cyberhomes also recommended working with their own lighting designer to get achieve the best possible lighting solutions.
There are seven Samsung TVs around the property, ranging from 32- to 65-inches and all have the ability to view the different video sources (2x Sky HD, 2x Apple TV) via a Savant video matrix. There’s also a waterproof TV set into the impressive marble walls of the master en-suite. Both Cyberhomes and the client knew that more video sources are likely to be added in the future, so a Savant cardframe solution was used that provides the potential to easily provide more video sources and integrate them into the system when required.
All the rooms have in-ceiling speakers for access to the multiroom audio sources.
Heating control is provided by Heatmiser with dedicated control points in most rooms; this is fully integrated into the Savant Pro app for climate control through Savant and to allow energy saving automation to be implemented. Taking care of security, IC Realtime CCTV cameras ensure all the exterior and interior of the property can be monitored… even remotely when the property is unoccupied. And in the lower basement is the swimming pool and gym where, as well as the lighting being controlled by the Lutron system, it is also possible to control the waterfalls in the swimming pool area from the Lutron wallplates and the Savant Pro app.
The entire property is controlled using the Savant Pro system via iPad minis and the family’s own smartphones. There is an iPad mini wall-mounted on each floor of the property using a magnetic dock; so they can be removed easily if portable control is required with no fiddly cables required when putting them back on the docks for charging, making the whole control process intuitive for the residents and easy to alter for any future install adjustments.
In all, a hugely impressive work of CI ingenuity that our ITSA quartet of industry professionals found compelling. A worthy winner, then, of the coveted Best Whole House Integration Award, our congratulations to Cyberhomes on their tour de force of smart tech integration.