Visiting Crestron’s New American Home

1/21/2014 5:41:00 PM
Call it serendipity, kismet, or just plain old dumb luck, but at the very end of International CES earlier this month, I found myself unexpectedly swept up into an entourage that included two other AV journalists; Ergotron’s marketing manager, Betsey Banker; and three Crestron employees, including director of residential marketing, Tom Barnett. Within moments of the impromptu gathering, we jumped (actually it was more a clumsy tuck-and-roll-and-knee-crawl on my part) into a limousine and headed across Vegas to visit the 2013 New American Home.

I stumbled into Barnett while walking into my final demo of CES, the joint “Ultimate Home Theater Demonstration” put on by Kaleidescape, Digital Projection, Triad, ADA, D-Box, Screen Excellence, Bitwise Controls, Perfect Path, and Fortress Inc. that made my “biggest, bestest, mostest” show wrap. He said he was getting ready to take a couple of his Crestron colleagues out to tour this home that showcased many Crestron technologies and that he thought I might find it interesting. And, poof! We were off!

Photo credit “Blue Heron”

The 2013 New American Home was built by Blue Heron and spotlights green building technologies and different construction best practices. The National Association of Home Builders challenged Blue Heron’s design team to create a “state-of-the-art home with the best design, materials, and energy efficiencies,” and even though the nearly 7,000-square-foot home is packed with technology, it consumes no energy and produces no carbon emissions (referred to as a “net zero” home.) The home also achieved LEED Platinum Status and Emerald status under the National Green Build Standard.

Photo credit “Blue Heron”

Plus, the place just looks cool. Pulling up at night with the home all lit up and glassy and angular, it’s the kind of place you’d expect to see an exotic Italian sports car in the driveway with Crocket and Tubbs walking around inside consoling some Miami drug lord’s totally hot but recently disenfranchised girlfriend.

Photo credit “Blue Heron”

The home is part of Crestron’s “Integrated by Design” concept that delivers a complete technology solution on a single platform. The goal is to integrate all of the home’s “smart” systems and devices together so they communicate and function together seamlessly. Between AV distribution, lighting, shading, HVAC, and control, Crestron was uniquely poised to provide and deliver all aspects of the home’s technology.

Greg Simmons, co-owner of Eagle Sentry, the local integration firm that handled the technology install on the project, said this made Crestron “a natural fit” as the technology partner.

Photo credit “Blue Heron”

While the home is packed with technology—nearly $200,000 worth of Crestron components—the AV equipment feels unobtrusive for the most part, never calling attention to itself or detracting from the home’s beautiful, flowing design. Speakers are discreetly placed, touchscreen controls are where you’d expect them to be and don’t clutter the walls, and the programming gives the home automation “smarts” that make it easier for agents to demonstrate and show off the technology.

Photo credit “Blue Heron”

For instance, a “morning” button turns the televisions on to local news, raises the shades and adjusts the lights, while “away” arms the security, drops the shades, lowers the lights and adjusts the HVAC system to a pre-set based on time of year.

Photo credit “Blue Heron”

Beyond the technology, the home’s stunning design beautifully integrates indoor and outdoor living, letting owners enjoy the entire space. As you work your way through the home’s multiple levels and rooms, you frequently move outside and back in, surrounded by water, pools, and beautiful views. Here is a view back toward the house from the walking path shown above.

Photo credit “Blue Heron”

At night, this waterfall overflowing from the pool can display images from a concealed projector, adding another exciting visual element.

Photo credit Tom Barnett.

Because of Vegas’ year-round nice weather, many people enjoy outdoor living, and the home is built to allow maximum enjoyment of the outdoor spaces in various settings. Here is a multi-TV area in one outdoor space gathered around a fire pit.

Photo credit “Blue Heron”

This outdoor relaxation space features an area you can swim up to, chill out, and catch a movie on another projector controlled by the Crestron system.

Photo credit Tom Barnett.

Here’s an overhead shot of the pool area looking out on the golf course.

Photo credit Blue Heron.
There is even a secondary, outdoor master bedroom area for the nights when you want to sleep under the stars, or have just visited too many of the homes many bars and drinking areas.

Photo credit Blue Heron.

If the Vegas sun should become too brutal during the summer months, the Crestron system can seal the home off from the outside with numerous sliding doors, helping to insulate the occupants from the cruel, desert sun. It can also automatically turn on the home’s misting system to help keep things cool as you walk in and out of the home.

 Photo credit Blue Heron.

And what luxury home could be complete without a wine cellar? Here I pose with Sound & Vision’s, Darryl Wilkinson, as we plot which one of us will try and stuff the magnum of luxury cabernet into a backpack…

 Photo credit  Tom Barnett.

The home features a total of 16 video zones, 24 audio zones, and 120 lighting zones. In-wall control is provided by one V24, one V12, and 10 TSW-750 Crestron touchscreens, in addition to full iOS and Android control. The home’s AV system is housed in dual Middle Atlantic racks in a sealed equipment room.

Part of the success of the project involved the early and constant interaction and communication between the builder, architect, interior designer, and integrator. This ensured all systems were designed to work together and, as Simmons noted, “We left each meeting knowing we were all on the same page.”

The home has an added benefit and opportunity for Crestron dealers as it is available as a marquee display for them to come out with potential clients and demonstrate and present Crestron technologies in a real-world setting.

“Our team designed and programmed the home automation solution so our dealers around the country had a completely Crestron-controlled home to showcase for their customers,” added Chad Hollander, Crestron Las Vegas branch manager.

With the home’s close proximity to McCarran International Airport, groups can easily fly in, rent a car, tour the home, grab lunch, and then fly back in a single day. 

If you are a Crestron dealer interested in visiting the home, contact your rep or Crestron’s Tom Barnett ( to arrange it.


Photo GalleriesMore Galleries >
Richard Glikes

Richard Glikes: “The Azione conference is a  ‘Keep it real’ event and prior to the start of each conference we say to check you...

Savant and SAV

Mike Kavanaugh, Savant, and Cory Reistad, SAV Inc.    

Connect and Kevro

Dan Kuronya, Connect Consulting and Alan Hook, KEVRO Intl. (Monitor Audio)  

Tim Costello

Tim Costello: “Cognitive control: Aging in place cognitive systems will be huge. Sensor arrays for passive monitoring are right in the integ...

DC Home and Leon

Nick Mark, DC Home Systems and Noah Kaplan, Leon Speakers    

DPI and Starr Systems

Michael Bridwell, Digital Projection and Sean Weiner, Starr Systems    

CEDIA and Friends

Cris Pyle, CEDIA; Tony Curtis, Current Home Technologies; Alex Camara, AudioControl; Vin Bruno, CEDIA

D-Tools and Fusion

Sean Carlin and Tim Bigoness of D-Tools with Monika Hill, Fusion Media Systems   

Keith Haas

Keith Haas, Integra: “The new DRC-R1 is the best pre-amp we have ever brought to the industry regardless of price.”

OneVision and CANTARA

Joey Kolchinsky of OneVision and Jason Voorhees CANTARA Design, share ideas on, “providing human support and not just tech support to enhanc...

Veridic Vistas

More than 230 Azione members gathered for the “Veridic Vistas in Vegas” conference.    

Melissa Morman

Melissa Morman, client experience officer BHI/BDX: “ Women make more than 80 percent of all consumer decisions and they outspend men 2:1....

SI and Electronic Home

Russell Warnhoff, Screen Innovations, and Randy Massey, Electronic Home