Thursday, September 24, 2020
  Retrofit & New  
  Live Happily Ever After  

Designing a connected-home solution when working in entirely new construction – or when an existing property is being retrofitted for technology, top to bottom, are each, in their own way, daunting enough tasks with separate issues. But for integrator Surreal Systems the project required a major remodel that doubled the existing home’s square footage from 5,000 to 10,000 feet. It that also added new construction in the form of a subterranean garage that presented a mix of the most challenging elements from both categories, said Matt Bernath, Surreal’s president, and CEO.

“One of the biggest challenges was the constantly changing design. The homeowner was into the design as a hobby, and we designed and made changes as we built,” Bernath said.

Although there were frequent alterations to the design, Surreal kept pace with these changes on the fly in order to deliver a design consistent with the homeowner’s vision. A good amount of ingenuity was needed in the design of the lighting, for example, with Surreal ultimately having to customize a control system for LED lighting.

The overriding goal, according to Bernath, was clean lines and a network of control systems that were simple to use and consistent with a high-tech lifestyle.

This was a five-person household that included three daughters of high-school age, so the music delivery system had to be both easy for everyone to use and able to accommodate different streaming music sources by the user, with up to six different streams available from various channels including Pandora and Spotify. And music had to be accessible everywhere – hence, the 32 speaker pairs deployed indoors and the eight landscape speakers placed outside. “The sound performance was spectacular in all the spaces,” said Bernath, “especially the landscape audio around the pool. Overall, they were pretty wowed.”

The home is also chock full of video options as well – namely, six satellite boxes, four Apple TV streaming boxes and three Blu-ray players whose content is viewable on 18 video displays – and, to adhere to the owner’s directive of “clean lines,” seven of the TVs had to be recessed into precisely built nooks.

The family’s hands-down favorite venue for video viewing, though, is the 4K home theater, outfitted with a 133-inch acoustically transparent screen and enhanced with a 7.2-channel surround sound system.

Centralized lighting and custom keypads to control it populate each of the rooms, and an integrated video surveillance and security system combines with the door intercom for safety. When the doorbell chimes through select music speakers, an in-wall screen in the kitchen shows an image of the visitor and allows two-way communication with that person.

Automation features in the home include motorized shades, custom electronic locks with keypad entry and an electric sliding-glass door for the theater room, as well as electronic garage door controls, HVAC climate control, and fireplace control. The electronic door locks allow clients to park in the garage and enter the home without needing a key – an especially helpful convenience.

Now that all is said and done, the home’s occupants have simplified control over what Bernath describes as “a very complicated home system. With simple, whole-house scenes, the clients can welcome themselves home or simulate their occupancy while away – or ‘wow’ guests with a whole-house Audio, Video and Lighting scene called – what else? – Wow!”

  • Equipment List
  • Audio Control Savoy G3 Theater
  • Amps & Architect Series House Music Amps
  • Furman Power Conditioners and UPS Battery Backup
  • Fusion Multi-Zone Music Streamers
  • IC Realtime 2MP IP Cameras w/ NVR Local Recording
  • Integra DHC80.6 Preamp Processor
  • Ruckus Wi-Fi with Netgear ProSafe Switches and Cisco Router
  • Samsung & Sharp 46” – 80” LED TVs
  • Savant Centralized HVAC Controls for 8 Zones
  • Savant Modular Audio and Video Distribution System
  • Savant Panelized Lighting Control System
  • Savant Pro Control System with In-Wall iPad Controls and Redundant Hosts
  • Sonance Adjustable XL Sound Bar
  • Sonance Flagship Architectural Theater Speakers with In-wall Subwoofers
  • Sonance Outdoor Landscape Audio Speakers
  • Sonance Visual Performance Series Speakers w/Square Grilles
  • Sony VPL-VW1100ES Projector
  • Sunbrite 46-inch All Weather TVs
  • Vutec 133-inch Acoustically Transparent Projection Screen
  • Wattbox IP-Controlled Power Conditioners