Friday, July 10, 2020
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 Acoustical Perfection 

Edina, Minn.’s Admit One Home Systems was commissioned to make a newly built home on Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka a tech retreat and a family hub for clients that spends a good deal of time traveling and working overseas.

The clients are passionate about art – there is a Norman Rockwell original in the home’s entryway, behind protective glass – and their interests extend to photography and to a deep love of great audio.

To fully realize these passions within the home, which the Admit One team was asked to fill with the latest connected-home technologies, the owners also gave full creative freedom to their Chicago-based Venezuelan designers, who grew up with the couple’s wife and were well familiar with their style and preferences.

Acoustics were of utmost importance, driving the selection process throughout for both sound control treatments and the home’s shading. “The clients really wanted something completely unique and different from anything they’d ever seen before,” said Andy Hepola, Admit One’s systems engineer, who worked closely with the owners on many aspects of this massive project, including system design and project management. “They gave their designers carte blanche to do whatever they wanted when it came to aesthetics – and anything.”

That “anything,” as it turned out, extended to factoring in acoustical treatments and specialized shading that blocked out both sound as well as light, throughout the home. Because the sheer scale of this project, and the number of shades the clients wanted, the Admit One team worked very closely with the designer to strategize about the nearly 100 shades deployed throughout the home, mixing drapes, roman shades, and standard roller shades into the grand plan – all of which had to be motorized and rendered controllable by Admit One. Each window had at least one treatment and some had two or three.

A good deal of customization went into the numerous acoustical treatments throughout the residence. “The acoustical surfaces from Artnovion are awesome and of so many amazing designs,” Hepola explained. “They were installed in so many different aspects – ceilings, walls, and on the staircase wall” – which was a spot where the sound would otherwise echo. Hepola added that while their placement was for the most part for functional reasons, in some areas “I think it was for more of an aesthetic, and a conversation piece – especially the staircase treatment. It’s pretty incredible-looking.”

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 Panel Precision 

That part of the project took an especially high element of precision. “We had to do lots of measurements to make sure the panels would line up perfectly with the angle of the stairs and the trim work at the top of the stairs, and with the wall at the base.”

Shade materials with acoustical properties were applied in the kitchen and study, and the kitchen and dining room had builder-provided floating acoustical ceiling panels. The home theater’s treatments improved internal acoustics, but were also installed to add dimension to the space. And other areas of the home had special, acoustically treated Sheetrock and treated wall coverings.

Leon Speakers’ custom sound bars were selected to pair with the Sony TVs in the main-floor family room and lower-level game room, for their audio quality and visual appeal. And Samsung’s Frame TV played a seminal role in the owner’s home office, used to display this photo buff’s own photos. The Frame sits on the wall within a collage of real framed photos – and The Frame’s display capability is so realistic, according to the Admit One team, that most people don’t realize it is a TV and not a photograph. The office also had a builder-provided CoeLux LED skylight, which can make it look like any time of day.

Admit One’s professionals had to surmount more than a few logistical challenges – the most prominent being wheeling a 600-pound UPS (uninterruptible power supply) battery backup system into the home and getting it into the lower level. “We had to get it down to the basement and then roll it into the mechanical room. It was a bit of a task for us” that was handled adroitly by Admit One’s expert crew, Hepola said.

The outdoor area, a large backyard and pool house, was outfitted with audio courtesy of Sonance’s Landscape Series, which supplied adequate coverage using many small speakers without overpowering any one area.

All the elements of this year-and-a-half project in a huge property came together, due in no small part to the efforts of Admit One and its ability to coordinate with the many trades involved, to the ultimate delight of the homeowners.

  • Equipment List
  • Crestron CP4-R, SWAMP-24x8 (Audio Matrix), DM-MD16x16 (Video Matrix Chassis), TSR-310
  • Remotes, Crestron Lighting Control and Motorized Shades
  • Samsung The Frame TV (6)
  • Sonance Landscape Audio System LS47SAT, Discrete Opening System, IS4 Invisible Speakers, VP10SUB In-wall Subwoofers
  • Access Networks A510 Access Points
  • Leon Speakers Custom Hz33-LR Soundbar
  • Sony TVs - Models XBR75X900F and XBR49X900F (2)
  • Theater: Sony VPL-VW675ES Projector, SI 140-inch 2.35 Projection Screen with Microperf; Anthem MRX-1120 Receiver, Sunfire HRS12 Subwoofers
  • (2); Focal IW1002, 300IWs and 300ICW6 Speakers
  • Dynabox Speaker Backboxes
  • LuxPort iPad Mounts and Sleeves
  • Naim Uniti Nova Media Player
  • Dynaudio Contour 20 Bookshelf Speakers
  • Sunbrite SB-5574UHD-BL Outdoor TV
  • Sanus and Chief TV Mounts
  • Thorens TD 170 EV Record Player
  • Cyclovac Central Vacuum
  • DSC Security Panel
  • Artnovion Acoustic Panels