Saturday, October 24, 2020
 Picture Perfect 

The retirement home for Alan and Deb Kommel had all the typical traits of the start of a new life chapter. The Kommel's have had a lasting and blissful marriage, Alan’s small career in the picture framing business blossomed into a legacy of success, and the integrator outfitting his house was his nephew, Brent Simcox at Grand Home Automation.

“He made the technology so easy for me to use,” Kommel said. “He set up everything perfectly and it can all be controlled by just one touch of a button. It really feels like magic when I walk into different rooms and the audio can follow you. It was also a huge benefit to have someone I’ve known my whole life helping me along the way. He really brought the whole home together for me.”

Simcox was brought in early on the new construction for utilizing his expertise at Grand Home Automation to bring in what he thought would be “just a little bit of audio and video.” Fast forward, and the Kommel residence is decked out in the latest automation, giving the homeowners complete control over their lighting, security, HVAC, and thermostat from anywhere in the world as well as one of the most technically advanced, dedicated home theaters built by the integration firm in Hudsonville Mich.

“Alan had a smaller home before this that I had installed a Crestron system in, it was kind of like a side project for him, so he knew what it was like to have one button control,” Simcox said. “When we started this house, we quickly realized that Control4 was a great product for him because of his home in Florida. He wanted the ability to be able to remotely control HVAC, security, and lighting but he didn‘t want a VPN in. We were able to use the solutions from Control4 to make that happen.”

One of the biggest problems with the home was the location. Simcox notes that a house in Central Michigan doesn’t exactly attract designers. In fact, the house didn’t have any designer in the early phases. Simcox was able to connect the architect and the homeowners with Via Design in Grand Rapids, who transformed the entire scope of the project. Before the designer joined the team, “it was just a big white box” primed for elegance.

“At the time, Al and Deb were using media websites like Pinterest and Houzz,” Simcox said. “Once we brought a designer in, she was able to grow their vision into what his vision was for the house when he first conceptualized it. He knew what he wanted the house to be, he just didn’t have the tools or assets to make that what it was. The designer was so important in tying all that together.”

And the collaboration paid off. The 25-foot vaulted ceilings are complemented by an elegant lighting installation in the main dining room that carries the character of the room into one central narrative. Most of the technology is either flush with the wall or out of sight to convey a sense of elegance without overwhelming.

That, of course, is underscored by an entirely dedicated home theater decked out with a series of Triad in-wall solutions for LCR and subwoofer needs thanks to their full-bodied sound and slim footprint. The room sports a full acoustical treatment for Dolby Atmos and a Sony VW675ES projecting to a top-class 12-foot Screen Innovations display to provide a top-class UHD experience. But the real treat comes from a trio of Wisdom L8I Insight Series loudspeakers filling in every last bit of the soundstage.

“You can tell every piece of the room was meticulously set up, and it just blows away all our friends and family,” Kommel said. “The Dolby Atmos and the subwoofers and the speakers were so perfectly and technically set up by Grand Home Automation. The amount of features and the level of detail really just make the entire room an experience.”

Simcox looks back fondly at the project for a multitude of reasons. Of course, working with family can be rewarding but the fact that he was able to build a dream home for his uncle was one of Simcox’s most treasured memories.

“Alan has been a mentor in the world of business for me personally,” Simcox said. “Several of the things that have made him successful in business and just the simplicity of the things that he does has certainly affected the things that I share around our environment here at Grand Home Automation.”

  • Equipment List
  • Chief Mounts
  • Control 4 Controls
  • Domotz
  • Doorbird
  • Apple TV
  • Roku
  • Iport Ipad lauchports
  • Luxul Networking
  • Marantz AV8802, MM7055
  • Middle Atlantic Racks
  • Panamax Power conditioning
  • SnapAV
  • Sonance LS47 System, VP38R, VP64
  • Sony UHD TV’s
  • Screen Innovations
  • Sony UHD BluRay
  • Sony VPL-VW675ES
  • Triad OW Bronze Slim Sub x4
  • Triad IW Bronze/4LCR x6
  • Triad IW Gold /4 Omi SE x4
  • Wisdom L8i x3
  • Wisdom SA-3 Amp