Seeing is believing

Private home cinemas and whole home automation projects are increasing in popularity as technology advances and becomes easier to use. Here we investigate examples of both types of installations

view of the home theatre area with motorised ceiling, conference hall, display device, furniture, interior design, room, table, black, brown
view of the home theatre area with motorised screen and black out curtains

One of the greatest advantages in building a new home is freedom in design. Another is the ability to introduce new technologies. Although there seems to be no end to how much componentry you can specify, your decisions will not be only financial ones but also based on your background knowledge and ability to control the systems.

But if you're a electronics whiz, like the owner of this home, combining up-to-date technologies and design is a huge attraction. Designed by architects Wood Marsh, this house is a solid, contemporary family home with large open spaces and eye-catching use of materials. Yet it's completely child-friendly and fully automated.

Audiovisual designer Anthony Elbaum of Cableman says some of the automated facilities include audiovisual, curtains, lighting, security and air conditioning.

Image of audio equipment, DVD players and VCR. electronic device, electronics, stereophonic sound, technology, gray, black
Image of audio equipment, DVD players and VCR.

"On another level, the heated towel rails are set to turn on at 5am and off again at 9am. The radio and lights can be set when no one is home, all gates and doors have key pad access rather than keys, and security cameras link to monitors inside," he says. "Because the client was very technically minded, we gave him a higher level of control than is typical."

This is primarily provided through two sources. The first is hand-held remotes specified instead of wall-mounted to maintain the sleek, modern design. The second is the client's Mac laptop.

"We made every effort to ensure he could use his Mac. Normally these systems are PC-based so we had to implement new software," the designer says.

view of the B&O system in the lounge couch, furniture, interior design, living room, product design, property, table, black, white
view of the B&O system in the lounge

The result is that the owner can control the house from anywhere in the world by tapping into his home server via the internet. He can control the air-conditioning in 1deg increments, shut the house down when away, alter the time the towel rails turn on and control the Imerge music system. The latter is located in the communications room and provides multizone audio via in-ceiling and outdoor speakers.

A feature of the house is the theatre. The owners didn't want a dedicated space, so the room has the ability to be used as an additional living area. A motorised drop-down screen and blackout curtains covering the large glass doors and windows transform the room. Speakers in front of the windows are bolted into a concrete pedestal so energetic children don't knock them over.

In the main lounge room an existing B&O television and DVD are used primarily by the children. A 50in plasma in the master bedroom is mounted on a swivelling arm so it can be viewed from anywhere in the bedroom or adjoining balcony.

Credit list

Wood Marsh
Outdoor speakers
Home theatre subwoofer
DVD player
Control system
Theatre screen
In-wall speakers
Floorstanding speakers
Master bedroom subwoofer

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Ray Messner

14 Feb, 2005

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