HGTV Smart Home 2015: High-Tech Highlights
The magic of the entertainment systems at HGTV Smart Home 2015 happens by simply pulling into the driveway. “From the car visor, you can turn on the lights and adjust the thermostat so you are not coming home to a hot, dark house,” says Brian Schaffer, director of sales, Audio Visual Consultations, the firm that designed and installed the home entertainment system in the house.
Finished Front Yard
With a contemporary Austin farmhouse style, this simple home is as stylish as it is efficient. “It’s intended to be a very contemporary landscape,” explains the house planner Jack Thomasson. “It feels very contemporary, clean and simple.”
Finished Dining Room
“We have really great designer lighting around the house. All of the decorative fixtures throughout the house use LED bulbs, including the candelabra bulbs above the dining table and all the lamps so we have a complete LED story here,” says Jack.
Finished Living Room
As beautiful as it is practical, this stylish living room can also double as a guest room in a house that is sure to have plenty of visitors.
Finished Living Room
A great mix of patterns and textures comes together to create one cohesive, stylish space. “The living room is very subtle,” explains interior designer Linda Woodrum. “It’s more about the textures and the subtle variations that wrap all around the room.”
Finished Screened Porch
“We like the sense that we’ve kept it quiet. The chairs are all very sculptural and beautiful and because all of the wood tones are the same it keeps it interesting but it isn’t too much. It’s very much about being tied in to what’s outside,” says Linda.
Finished Upstairs Loft
With plenty of seating and a vibrant color palette, the loft is the perfect place for a slumber party or family movie night. “This is kind of the great big blue room,” says Linda. “I think 20 people could be up here watching TV.”
Finished Master Bathroom
Schaffer explains that a remote control device, similar to one used for a typical garage door opener, controls the landscape lighting, interior lighting and thermostats in the home. Once inside, a tablet or smart phone really gets the party started.
The main floor of the house features wall and ceiling mounted speakers in the open living room and kitchen as well as the outside in the front of the house, on the deck off the living room and on the screened porch so the homeowner can hear their favorite tunes while washing the car or relaxing with family and friends.
Anywhere you have Internet access, you can listen to whatever you want, where ever you want in the house.Brian Schaffer, director of sales, Audio Visual Consultations
In the living area, a large, wall-mounted flat screen television is controlled by a smart phone or tablet where the homeowner can change channels, raise or lower the volume or access streaming videos.
In the kitchen, a television mounted on a motorized lift near the range hood lowers from the ceiling at the press of a button. Even the main floor guest room and office has a wall-mounted television.
Upstairs, an expansive wall-sized television dominates the media loft. For a theatre experience, a 7.1 system was installed with speakers mounted in the center of the wall, to the left and to the right, an in-wall subwoofer, and ceiling-mounted side and rear speakers, which are all controlled by a tablet.
The master bedroom boasts a large, wall-mounted flat screen television along with ceiling-mounted speakers. Also, a coffee machine rises up from a cabinet at the push of a button so there’s no need to run to the kitchen for that first cup in the morning.
The master bath has ceiling-mounted speakers and a wall-mounted television that can be viewed from the shower, tub and double sink vanity. The upstairs guest room is also wired for a television and speakers.
The whole system links back to a mainframe computer housed in a closet near the entryway. “It has the receiver for the surround sound system, six cable boxes and a DVD player,” says Schaffer. The 8x8 matrix system, as it’s called, mounted on wheeled racks for ease of movement if it needs to be serviced, also controls all the computer networks and lighting controls for the house.
A duct system draws out the heat generated from the computer. With this kind of system, there are no wires dangling from the televisions to boxes so everything has a clean, custom look.
While operating the televisions, sound system and lighting might seem daunting, Schaffer assures that it was designed to “make it easy for everyone to use. When grandma comes to visit,” he explains, “she presses a light switch and the lights still come on."
Schaffer adds, to get the most from the home entertainment system, a bit of guidance helps. “It’s like buying a new car,” he says. “You need someone to walk you through it," adding that with any system he installs, “I’m usually married to the house and have become a very integral part of it.”