Thanks to advances in home automation and a rebounding housing market, residential security-based systems have been undergoing a renaissance. To vividly demonstrate the heights of what can be achieved today from both features and aesthetics standpoints, Baton Rouge, La.-based Advanced Technologies decked out the owner of Blair Construction’s luxury home. The sophisticated security solution — which serves as a showcase for both the integrator’s and builder’s companies as well as accommodates the client family’s comfortable lifestyle — is marked by innovative detection, voice alerts, communications, automation and environmental controls.
“The client/builder requested home automation that integrated the security system, gas fireplaces, CCTV, indoor and outdoor electronics, dedicated home theater, distributed audio, thermostats, lighting, powered window treatments, and powered décor,” says Advanced Technologies President Thomas Marino. “Finding systems and controls that could work together smoothly, and impress prospective clients was our chief assignment.”
Fine Attention to Detail
All systems are interconnected at two control panels located in the main control room under the stairs. Color-coordinated Velcro, heat shrink tape and Cat-6 boots were used so all wires are neat. Outdoor intrusion detection includes driveway/doorbell sensors, and the system also integrates control of the thermostats and fireplaces. All statuses are accessible from phones, smartphones, tablets, and remote controls.
The integrator began the project with whole-house surge suppression, an outdoor grounding ring, and a conductive floor in the main control room under the stairs, where all the electronic systems interconnect at two OnQ control panels. Also located in this control room are the home’s four surround-sound system sources, using an HD modulator and distributed audio. Security zone violations, indoors or outdoors, are announced over the speakers. Tripping the outdoor motion detector triggers the announcement: “You have been detected. Leave immediately.”
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Lighting is programmed to come on in halls and stairways when motion or step (flex) sensors are triggered, so there is no stumbling in the dark. The thermostat’s set points are programmed to correspond to various security statuses, as well as specific family preferences when security is disarmed.
Great Room Greatness
The most visible area of the home, its great room, received extra-special treatment from the integrator. Upon initial glance, only furnishings, a fireplace with a large painting above and huge windows overlooking the courtyard are seen. A few clicks on a touchscreen summons roller shades to come down, windows to darken the room and the painting to roll aside, revealing a large flat-screen HD display and surround-sound. Discreet speakers are located in the ceiling and the center channel was installed in the drywall above the mantle.
“The installed equipment doesn’t detract from the aesthetic qualities of the house; the sensors are either hidden in the home’s framework or, if out in open, painted to blend in seamlessly. No visible electronics call for unwelcome attention,” adds Marino. “To any visitor, this home appears a well-appointed and comfortable residence. But while walking through, people quickly notice how the house anticipates their needs and wants. And what is not anticipated is available with a click on a touchscreen.”
Following many days running and securing wires and cabling, Advanced Technologies combed through and categorized them. While the wires were being terminated at the panels, they were cut to length, organized and grouped. Rather than hiding the connections behind solid doors, the integrator put on modern, smoked-glass panel doors so inside the neatly organized panels were visible. Sharing the main control room is an integration wall and the rack of audio equipment, which is also artfully terminated.
The client, Chip Blair, is thrilled with the results: “Aside from [Marino] being one of the only people who can program a system to do more than it is designed to do, he takes great care in making sure the installation is extremely neat. It looks like a work of art when he is finished not a jumbled mess. The house impresses everyone who sees it.”