A home where smart technology integrates with smooth style? Yes please!
“Two neighbouring residences, both positioned just metres from the beach, was an exciting start to this project, especially since it was to commence during summer,” said Len Wallis Audio’s Alberto Vangi.
“Now we just had to focus on what we do best at Len Wallis Audio, which was to integrate two fully automated smart homes.” With builder Andrew Harb, foreman Mick Mundy (Blugum Enterprises Pty Ltd) and architects Mark Cassidy and Cathy Slater (Slater Architects Pty Ltd), the project was a success due to their experience and consistent attention to detail, relates Alberto. “Given the large scale of the project, we knew it was paramount to form an effective team. The first stage of the project was to produce all the required documentation that would support the integration. This well-organised approach, of course, led to our successful execution and end products.” To sum up the homes, one must picture true paradise equipped with the latest smarts. Once you enter either house (situated side by side), you will be even more astonished by the setting.
The architect-designed homes both have elegant interiors which are lit by natural light. A 180-degree backdrop of ocean waves smashing into the beach wraps around from almost every viewpoint, an absolutely spectacular sight. “The position and architectural designs were as good as it gets so our design was simply to add to the standard. It was decided that a smart home technology solution with ease of use would be automatic. The two key products that went hand in hand were combining the Crestron and Clipsal C-bus Control systems. “The C-bus system is the backbone for controlling home automation. The C-bus system’s reliability and ease of operation made it the logical choice for the project. Saturn DLT key switches were chosen for their ability to label the key switch operation on the switch panels as well as present a modern streamlined glass finish as required by the architect. The C-bus system was set up so it could be remotely accessed for client changes and maintenance. This also allows changes to the security and access control system.”
The client was concerned with the issue of unreliable mains power in the future so a gas-fired generator was installed in the garage of both houses. The generator provides backup power supply to the C-bus lighting, power to the fridge/freezers, general power points, garage door, audio-visual and the security/ access control. The energy-efficient gas-fired generator automatically starts upon a blackout, providing clean energy-efficient power to the essential services switchboard.
The audio-visual system is also protected by a Socomec 7000VA double-conversion tower UPS with a 40amp surge and transient protection filter. This guarantees the best- quality power supply to the home’s high-quality audio-visual system. The security and access control systems provide the homeowner with the ability to access the home without keys, a great feature when you return to the house after a day at the beach. The keyless entry system also allows for gardener, pool cleaner and house cleaner to access without keys that can be easily lost or stolen, yet the access/security system will log the particular person and time of entry to the home. The access system has been set up so that different access rights apply to different employees. For example, the pool cleaner can only access particular areas of the home related to the pool, and the house cleaner has access to the main house area and not the pool area. The homeowner can add, delete, disable any access code or change these access rights from their computer. In the audio-visual end of the project, the main living room of each house has a 65-inch LCD TV which provides a greatquality image, also minimising the amount of reflection that comes off the screen from the natural lighting entering the room.
To keep within the clean lines and also not take away from the stunning fluorescent lighting that shapes the bulkhead wrapping around the room, five Stealth speakers became the front and rear speakers for surround-sound. They cannot be seen in the leading photo as they are, in fact, invisible. Stealth speakers were a superb solution for quality sound and practical minimalist application. Within the joinery is a Blu Ray player, Digital Surround Sound amplifier with iPod dock, Foxtel IQ2, Crestron processor and a downward firing active subwoofer.
The only audio-visual product that is visual to the eye is, in fact, the LCD screen and the Crestron hand-held remote, which stands proudly docked on its charger. Just one of the fantastic applications about the system is that once the Crestron remote is taken off its charger, the user can enjoy the digital media of their choice via one central location by pressing a few buttons. From the portable Crestron remote you also have control of two additional outdoor courtyard areas of ceiling speakers, an outdoor 32-inch LCD TV over at the barbecue area, along with the lights, motorised blinds and airconditioning, all from the user’s comfortable seating position. This is because the Crestron system has been enabled to talk to the C-bus system. Adjoining the living areas within the openplan environment is the dining and kitchen area. As a central key space of the house there is an in-wall 12-inch Master Crestron touch panel just off the kitchen. This touch panel allows for complete control of all areas of the house, which includes nine zones of floor heating, six heated towel rails, eight zones of airconditioning, 102 groups of lighting and 77 motorised blind/control groups.
The Crestron panel is also able to view all of the seven colour security cameras mounted around the home. The camera images are distributed to all LCD TVs (above 32 inch) and computers within the house and are also recorded to a Pro range DVR, which the homeowner can access to view the cameras from anywhere in the world. The cameras and house security systems are remotely monitored by a security company. The touchscreen can also open the front door or the garage door at the touch of a button. Floor heating, heated towel rails, fountain pumps and airconditioning are scheduled to be more energy-efficient. C-bus also controls high-level motorised louvre windows, which decrease the need for airconditioning, allowing for more natural ventilation.
The elevator within the house is controlled by C-bus and can be locked off at a level when the house alarm system is activated, returning it to the garage level when the system is disarmed. Pool function is controlled via the Crestron touchscreen and enables the homeowner to check filtering and heating schedules or turn on the spa with the touch of a button. The level of automation of the Crestron master panel is ingenious and adds huge benefits. With energy management a key consideration in many of today’s homes, the difference will become noticeable, not to mention how easy it would be to use with everything all unified. There is also a family/rumpus room for the kids, which includes a 42-inch LCD TV, SpeakerCraft ceiling speakers, digital amp, Sony PS3 and Wii Gaming consoles. And the best part of the room is a Crestron portable hand-held controller for absolute ease of use. Upstairs, six bedrooms each have an LCD TV, along with a sitting room, which also has an LCD TV, forming a total of 10 LCD TVs in the one house, not forgetting the eight LCD TVs and a dedicated surround-sound theatre room in the second house, which is mentioned later.
The master bedroom includes a hand-held Crestron control and a 42-inch LCD TV, which can conveniently disappear into the ceiling while not being watched. This means both options are available to enjoy: the audio-visual system or the breathtaking, uninterrupted views. The master bedroom also connects with the master ensuite, where a relaxing bath can be enjoyed to some nice music through SpeakerCraft moisture-resistant ceiling speakers. There is a waterproof Crestron remote in the master ensuite to make your life even more relaxing. Coupled to the master bedroom is a sitting room, which has a 46-inch LCD and more exciting electronics to add to what is already an absolutely amazing house to live in. Each of the other five bedrooms has a 32-inch LCD, with the scalability option for further technology to be added when required. The key audio-visual difference between the two houses, as mentioned earlier, is a dedicated theatre for the full theatre experience. Here there is an impressive 110-inch screen. The JVC DLA (Digital Light Amplifier) Full High Definition projector is extraordinary. Not only is the image quality brilliant, but the Digital Yamaha amplifier, Focal and Veldoyne 5.1 speaker system also enhance the atmosphere and experience. To intensify the cinema mood, LED ceiling strip lighting can be enabled by the Crestron controller for its effects.
The second house is also equipped with all the Crestron and C-bus solutions mentioned earlier in this article. “Overall, this particular project, which took almost two years, came together exquisitely thanks to an excellent team effort — from the initial sales process to the detailed design and documentation, skilled electrical engineering, functional programming, well-planned project management and final quality installation work, bringing together the whole project. It is something we are all very excited and proud of, the creation of an absolute beach haven.”