Invisible Technology for
A Modern Media Room
Indiana integrator the Premier Group and Leon Speakers teamed up to design an award-winning custom AV experience for a lakefront Indianapolis home
While elaborate home theaters outfitted with giant projection screens, audiophile-grade 7.2-channel speaker systems, and plush leather theater seating were once a staple in every luxury home, they’ve been falling out of fashion in recent years with homeowners starting to favor more casual multi-use media rooms instead. Not always wanting to have to head down to the depths of the basement to watch movies and TV shows, it’s becoming preferable to bring the theater-experience upstairs into the living spaces where friends and family naturally tend to congregate.
When Mark and Kathy Harrison were building their multi-million dollar, 6,000-square-foot lakefront home on the Geist Reservoir in Indianapolis, Indiana, they brought on local electronics design and integration company the Premier Group to design a comprehensive technology package for their space. They knew they weren’t interested in a traditional basement home theater, but they were still looking to have a high-end, theater-quality system in their main living room. And in an impeccably-designed home filled with exotic finishes and one-of-a-kind artwork and furnishings, the Harrison’s needed technology that complemented their home’s architectural features and décor rather than detracting from them.
“A media system should be experienced, not seen,” says Premier Group’s Jason Barth. And that’s exactly the type of system they set out to design.
Knowing that an off-the-shelf product wasn’t going to give the homeowners what they were looking for, the Premier Group worked with Leon Speakers, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based custom audio and technology concealment manufacturer, to help design a system that was completely custom-tailored to the space. In the main living room, a cozy, open-concept space with high-ceilings and an unobstructed view of the lake, an 85-inch Sony TV was recess-mounted above the stone fireplace with a pair of Leon’s handcrafted Profile Series sidemount speakers on either side. Built to match the exact height of the display, the speakers provide a powerful, high-end listening experience with a discrete aesthetic that makes the TV and speakers appear as one streamlined unit. Additionally, architectural surround speakers and subwoofers were installed in the room to round out the system, creating the theater-quality sound that the homeowners desired.
In the same central living room, there was also the need for an additional TV on the balcony-facing wall. With the office nook situated out of sight from the main display, the homeowners wanted to install a TV that could be viewed from their office. It was important not to overwhelm the space with technology though, especially with a large TV already located on the adjacent wall.
In an effort to keep the display as unobtrusive as possible, the Premier Group worked with Leon to design a custom Media Décor Eclipse Art Lift to hide the TV with art. At the touch of a button, the unit uses artwork from the homeowners personal collection to reveal the display when it’s in use and then to conceal it when it isn’t. This near-silent art lift has no visible tracks and is powered by a Lutron® motor.
In addition to Leon, other manufacturer brands used in the space were Control4, QMotion, Lucifer Lighting Company, Sonance, Seura, and Full Swing. In total, over $500,000 of electronics were installed throughout the home, and the project received a top honor at last year’s CEDIA Awards, taking home an “Integrated Home of the Year” award.
"This was a great all-around project,” says Ken Irvine of the Premier Group. “The clients were wonderful and allowed us the creative freedom to design custom products that you don’t find in the average home, and a partner like Leon gave us the tools to dream-up ideas to solve the clients’ wants and needs. We relied on Leon’s expertise to develop speakers that not only looked like they were a part of the TV, but that produced a sound quality that blew our clients away, and the Media Décor Art Lift solved two client wishes: the need to have a TV visible from their office nook and the ability to disguise it when it wasn’t in use.”