Some people drive to the city for a night of adventure and excitement. Others jet off to different parts of the world. For the owners of this 14,000-square-foot mansion, a trip to a new destination takes no more than a five-minute drive down the road.
Built as a place to entertain friends and family, the stately show home resides a mere half-mile from the owners’ main residence. “The house is more like a private country club,” says Chris Caras, a home systems integrator at Vienna, Virginia-based Multi-Systems, the company hired to design and install an elaborate lighting and automation system into the residence.
A Snowball Effect–From Basic to Full-Blown Lighting Control
Lighting control was a feature planned from the get-go, as the homebuilder, M&A Custom Homes, includes a HomeWorks QS lighting system as a standard amenity in every home it builds. “It’s started as a fairly basic setup where only the lights in the main rooms of the house would be tied to the system,” Caras says. “But after a few conversations with the homeowners it soon snowballed into a project so grand that it recently earned “Best Integrated Home” honors from Lutron’s Excellence awards program.
More than 280 loads of lighting were tied to the Lutron HomeWorks QS system, giving the owners an easy way to control every fixture in the house from one of nearly 90 Lutron keypads positioned strategically throughout the residence—or they can also issue commands from their preferred option—the Lutron app on their iPad or iPhone.
Prepped for an Impromptu Party
As they pull into the driveway the owners simply tap the “Entertain” button to prepare the entire house for party. Within seconds, the house and the surrounding landscape is beautifully illuminated—like rolling out a virtual red carpet on which guests can stroll the property and take in the sights. “When we create scenes like this Entertain scene homeowners usually want to focus on one main area as the place to entertain,” Caras says. “In this case, however, the homeowners wanted the lights in every room to react and ready themselves for an evening of entertainment.”
Bowling Alley & Aquarium Get Colorful
One of the most dramatic displays of lighting happens in the bowling alley in the lower level, where colored LED fixtures create a festive atmosphere. Blue, green, red, pink, purple, or any other hue can be chosen right from the owners’ mobile device. At the same time, the owner can summon music from a Savant A/V matrix switcher to be delivered to six Sonance architectural speakers and three subwoofers.
The room really springs to life, though, when the owners engage the “Aquarium” scene. This command signals the Lutron HomeWorks QS system to cue blue and green lighting, and the Savant home control system to activate a Digital Projection International (DPI) video projector and switch the music to a pre-recorded audio clip of underwater noises.
Meanwhile, images of moving sea creatures appear onto a 160-inch Dragonfly screen that Multi-Systems mounted front and center above the bowling lane. At any point in time, the owners can switch the underwater video to something else completely—like the current score of the bowling game. They can also opt to use a smartphone or tablet to activate a Savant tiling system, which enables six individual streams of video to be displayed on the screen at once. For example, the score of the bowling game could be displayed in one tile, a view from the a surveillance camera (there are 64 cameras and five digital video recorders total) in another tile, while the remaining tiles show content from any of four cable boxes, two Roku players, two Apple TV settop boxes, or a Sony 4K Media Player. Video from any of these sources—as well as the bowling score—can be directed to any of 27 TVs, including three SunBriteTV weatherproof TVs outside and a 20-foot motorized projection screen in the pool house. “With so many options, we call it a ‘streaming cocktail,” Caras says.
Swimming with Scenes and Atmos Sound
Should the gathering transition to the pool house the entertainment can follow right along. A “Movie” scene, which can be engaged right from the owner’s smartwatch, dims the lights and signals a 20-foot-wide Stewart Filmscreen screen to descend from a custom-built and rust-resistant aluminum and PVC housing on the ceiling. As the screen moves into place above the hot tub, an 11,000-lumen DPI projector—also tucked into a waterproof enclosure—revs up ready to deliver bright images from the “streaming cocktail or video sources” hidden away inside specially constructed equipment closet inside the main house and dispatched to the pool house projector via fiber optic cabling.
The owners spared no expense on the audio portion of the entertainment equation, either, as Multi-Systems equipped the pool house with a full-fledged Dolby Atmos surround-sound system comprising 14 James Loudspeaker marine-grade speakers and four 12-inch subwoofers.
Naturally, there’s more to do in a swimming pool than float while watching movies, so Multi-Systems configured other smartwatch-activated scenes, including “Entertain” and “Swim” which shifts the settings of the lights appropriately. Another command tell motorized glass roof to open to let in the sunshine and fresh air.
Entertainment Under the Moon and Stars
Technology abounds in the backyard, too, where a 65-inch SunBriteTV TV, 50 Sonance landscape speakers and six subwoofers deliver audio and video under the moon and stars. Per the homeowners’ request, Multi-Systems mounted 14 feet above the lawn on the roof of an entertainment pavilion to ensure that no matter where guests roamed, they’d be able to see the movie. Fiber optic cabling feeds this TV as well as two 55-inch SunBrite TVs under the pavilion roof in a more traditional media room setting.
64 Cameras Create a Virtual Command Post
A residence endowed with this much technology needs a reliable security system and this property are protected by three GE Concord security systems, plus 64 high-definition Hikvision surveillance cameras. Mounted strategically on outbuildings, poles, and other places, real-time views from the cameras can be access from the owners’ iPhones and panned, tilted, and zoomed for better view. These are fairly standard features, so to give these tech-loving homeowners something extraordinary, Multi-Systems integrated the cameras, Lutron HomeWorks QS system, and Savant home control system to streamline the process of controlling the home environment.
It works like this: from a mobile device the owner focus a camera on an area he’d like to control, like the motorized gate at the driveway entrance. Now by just tapping the image the owner can open or close the gate—no need to drill into a new screen on the smartphone. Any lighting inside or outside the house can be operated this way too—focus on the pavilion, touch the screen and the lights turn on before the owner even pulls his car into the drive.
Synchronized for Sensational Effects
With lighting, audio, video, and security all working in unison, Multi-Systems was able to provide the owner of this luxurious party pad with a sensational environment to enjoy all modes of recreation and a simple, convenient way to create the perfect ambiance. Whether they’ll be watching movies in the back yard, swimming under the stars, or throwing strikes in the bowling alley, the lights are set perfectly, while choice music and video stream to dozens of TVs and speakers on a whim.