Thursday, September 24, 2020
 Sophisticated Simplicity 

Pittsburgh-based integrator Simply Automated was selected for their technology integration skills by a client who was in the process of finalizing plans on their new-construction custom home – a two-story build with a basement. “It was evident from the first meeting that they had an interest in the basics of low-voltage integration,” explained Tom Pieracki, the company’s president, “but the idea of control and whole house automation was a relatively new concept.” Pieracki said their main interest, at the outset, was limited to “audio and TV, and in adding some motorized shades.” But then, Pieracki took them through his showroom. “They could see what we are capable of doing, and we went over needs, wants and expectations.” And after a long discussion and demonstration of a fully integrated Control4 system, the initial scope of the project grew substantially.

Their exposure to the possibilities of connected-home technology there was invaluable, said Pieracki. “It was just about getting them to believe in the whole automation idea, and getting them up to speed on the industry today versus what was done in the last home they built. They hadn’t been exposed to the newest technologies. They were used to having security and music throughout their house with volume controls, had motorized shades before, and they obviously had TVs. But the concept of bringing everything together on one platform and having it easy to use was new.

“We kind of did a little bit of everything in the project,” Pieracki added, “but it is not ‘over the top,’ I’d say.” There is Control4 lighting control only in key areas on the main floor – including in the kitchen, the great room, in the master bedroom, and some lighting control in the basement.

Simply Automated provided an expansive centralized prewire to ensure the clients would have the infrastructure for future technology needs. Key features in the home included a focus on HD over IP video distribution, multisource to multizone audio distribution, lighting control, motorized window treatments, and life safety integration including intrusion, fire and carbon monoxide detection.
The great room, in particular, benefits from spectacular views afforded by a dozen 25-foot-high floor-to-ceiling windows. “We did all of those motorized window shades – and we took care of the whole home’s window treatments, some of which were done to operate manually but which, through the relationships we have with manufacturers, were able to be matched to the motorized treatments.”

There was also a multi-purpose media room. “It was not really a theater, but we did a nice Atmos surround-sound system there with a Sony 75-inch TV,” said Pieracki. Regarding outdoor video and audio distribution, he said, while there were always plans to include it in the project, “we didn’t specify what would go outside until the main project was complete, and they were starting on the landscaping. It was essentially a Phase Two project – and it was completely tied into Control4, along with the rest of the home.” Outdoor accoutrements included Paradigm Garden Oasis outdoor speakers and Sunbrite’s outdoor TV.

“We provided our clients with a turnkey, easy-to-use system backed by annual maintenance,” Pieracki said. “They are on one of our after-support plans, so we provide priority care for any needs and wants or any quirks in their system. This is an integral part of the solutions we offer and in doing so, it gives our clients a sense of comfort that their investment will be maintained and always running at optimal performance levels.”

Simply Automated’s attention to detail even extended to the care taken with areas that are unseen by guests. Case in point: the dual racks bolted together that hold the gear, but that are located in an unfinished area of the basement. “We’re pretty happy with the way they came out. The wire management looks great on both the front and in the back. That’s definitely something my guys are proud of.

“We feel this project is a true, real-world example of a complete, thoughtfully designed integration system. We spent a lot of time wiring and finishing it out. It’s a top-notch build – a project that was designed with plenty of future growth potential.”

  • Equipment List
  • Control 4

    • Controllers
    • Touch Screens
    • Lighting Control
    • Climate Control
    • Amplification
    • Audio Matrix Solution

  • Araknis Routing
  • Just Add Power
  • Luxul
  • Sony 75-inch TV
  • Sunbrite Outdoor TV
  • Paradigm Garden Oasis Outdoor Speakers
  • Origin Acoustics Speakers
  • Honeywell Vista Smoke & Carbon Detectors
  • Baldwin Door Locks
  • MyQ Garage Door Integration
  • Somfy Motors
  • Wattbox Power Conditioning
  • UPS
  • Vertical Power
  • Strong Signature Series
  • Middle Atlantic Cable Ladders