How to Begin a Home Control Project
An integrated home uses technology to make life easier by aggregating various home systems and letting you control them all via one simple user interface. Security, lighting, audio, video, climate, pool/spa and even appliances can be connected in an integrated home, offering the ultimate in convenience, control and energy savings.
Imagine touching a "Sleep" icon on your iPad before bed to turn off lights house-wide, set the alarm and adjust the thermostat to your preferred temp. With an integrated home, that functionality can be yours. Fortunately, the integrated home is easier to set up and more affordable than ever, making it viable for those with little technological expertise and those with small budgets alike.
When building a new home or embarking on a remodel, it's important to start thinking about integrated home technology at the get-go. It's especially crucial to have a plan before walls are erected. Whether you are hiring a pro or doing it yourself, if the technology is incorporated early enough, in-wall wiring can be done before drywall goes up, ample electricity can be routed to electronic locations, and displays and speakers can be oriented within a room to their best advantage.
First, think about what sort of functionality you want your integrated home to have, and what subsystems — such as lighting, security and whole-house audio — you are going to incorporate. "The best way to determine what a homeowner needs is to ask questions about how they live," says Christian Lawrence, director of business development for Insight Home Solutions. "Every person is unique and every solution can be custom."
At this point, it's ideal to pinpoint future needs. "For example, you may want to budget for audio distribution only at this point, but the correct wiring or component decisions now can scale to full-fledged video sharing later, protecting more of your initial investment," says Bob Dodge, director of Talk of the Town. Wiring for future components now can eliminate untold retrofitting headaches in the future.
This complete guide to all things home automation and integration will take you through the process of planning your integrated home, covering every conceivable facet to make it a simple, straightforward and exciting endeavor.
The design possibilities are endless when it comes to creating an elegant, inviting dedicated media room. In this urban space, a custom frame and a welded-steel support "float" the backlighted screen in the urban condo pictured here. White LED lights create a custom glow around the screen. The spiral staircase leads from the media room to an upper-level living area.
This room has open space for card tables, a foosball table and a large wine bar, and it also allows ambient light for daytime activities. As for its media room role, it has custom sconces that won't rattle during movie explosions, reclinable seating and a 120-by-68-inch acoustically transparent woven-microfiber screen that conceals the center speaker. The projector is concealed in a noise-reduction soffit to ensure clean architectural lines.
His and hers HD DVRs as well as two additional DVRs for guests takes this charming living room to the next level of entertainment. Homeowners have access to four DirecTV HD DVRs, Blu-Ray movies, AppleTV content, ROKU content, a computer and dual Mirage Media sources such as Pandora, Rhapsody, LastFM, XM radio, iTunes music and an iPod dock.
Genesis Audio & Video turned an unused shell above a garage into a multifunctional media room to a include access to the house-wide DVD and music server, in addition to the home's security cameras, the Internet and house-wide lighting controls. Rather than hang the projector from a pole in the ceiling, technicians used a cantilevered wall mount to install it sleekly at the top of the rear wall. Photo courtesy of Genesis Audio & Video
Go back in time and spend a night at the movies with this Hollywood-inspired media masterpiece. The audio system features eight powered woofers, 10 surround speakers and three massive screen speakers. That equals 8,400 conservative system watts. Design by by Cantara Design, Interior Design by Slayman Design Associates
In the 2013 HGTV Smart Home canvas artwork retracts to reveal flat-screen TVs. When not in use, TV covers scroll down to create a framed art experience. The media system is controled by a smart tablet or Web-enabled device
Moore Audio Design tamed reflective surfaces with acoustic treatments identically matched to the paint color, and added an area rug. Window treatments help eliminate natural light, while a Screen Innovations 97-inch Black Diamond Zero Edge screen amplifies light coming from the projector. Aside from the main screen, homeowners can view either of the 40-inch Samsung LED TVs if they are playing poker or getting a snack in the back of the room. Floorstanding surround speakers by MartinLogan offer true, immersive surround sound that is hard to beat. Photography by Jim Schmid Photography
In the 2012 HGTV Green Home a 59-inch flat-screen TV, mounted above the fireplace, is a family room focal point. When mounting a TV above the fireplace make sure seating is located far enough back to avoid irritating neck strain.