Westchester Home Blends Technology and Art

January 8, 2015

The Osbee team wall-mounted seven of these touchscreens (four are wireless) and two audio keypads.
There’s a life-giving energy in sunlight. It’s something we all can feel, and something the designers of a beautiful contemporary home in Westchester, NY, wanted to capture. With walls of windows, they were able to bring the power of the sun, as well as the home’s beautifully landscaped grounds into its spacious interiors, providing an ideal setting for the owners’ extensive art collection.

“The opulence of this stunning home was dimmed by its old-school lighting control, its clutter of switches, thermostats and video gear, and its lack of cohesive controls,” said Dave Raines, president of Harrison, NY-based Osbee Industries. “It was time for a complete transformation to make the home systems as exceptional as the art collection and designer spaces.”

According to Raines, the problem with the home was not a lack of technology, but rather a lack of vision on the original integrator’s part. He and the Osbee team met with the homeowners, then focused their efforts in three areas.
1. Replacing the original lighting and shading control systems.
2. Removing all the local audio and video components and replaced them with a centralized network.
3. Giving the homeowners simplified, automated operation of all of the home systems.

Replacing the Lighting Control System

In a house this large (8,000 square feet), it’s crucial that all of the home systems be as easy to use and as automated as possible. Yet the original lighting control was a mixture of traditional on/off switches and a dated centralized system that covered only part of the house. That was a major problem. For example, it takes 10 loads of lighting to showcase just the areas of the living room and each piece of artwork displayed there–with 178 total lighting loads in the house. Before guests would arrive, the owners would have to run from room to room, flipping individual switches to set things up the way they wanted. Even turning lights off at the end of the night was a daunting task.

Osbee engineers redesigned the entire lighting system using Crestron infiNET EX wireless dimmers and a centralized Crestron control system. Today the homeowners can choose from a number of pre-programmed scenes to adjust the lights for a given room, for multiple rooms, and for the house as a whole.

Raines says the team chose infiNET technology because its wireless control modules required no new wiring in those areas where they would not add lighting fixtures. This approach saved the homeowners labor and material costs on installation and will help minimize energy costs down the road. The home now includes 50 Crestron Cameo lighting keypads, 24 dimming modules, and 48 inwall wireless dimmers, as well as 11 new Crestron touchscreens located in various rooms of the house.

The new system also integrates 30 new Crestron motorized shades, controllable from the lighting keypads, as well as the touchscreens.
The new system also integrates 30 new Crestron motorized shades, controllable from the lighting keypads, as well as the touchscreens. Raines says the inconvenience of the old shading system was one of the biggest annoyances cited by the homeowners. After the team installed the new lights and shades, an Osbee technician walked through the house with the homeowners to make sure each light and each shade was programmed to their exact wishes– making sure the lighting, shading and lighting/shading presets would work for their lifestyle.

“Our goal was to make this as simple as possible,” Raines said. “They don’t have a lot of extra controls to worry about. If they walk into the living room they can press one button. The lights are on, the scene is set, and it’s beautiful.” In the same way, if they are waiting for guests to arrive, they can access a “party” button from the touch screens and know that the lighting and shading for the entire house will be perfect.

Centralizing the Network

Raines says the homeowners were also annoyed with their original AV systems. First, they felt the video and audio gear and its remote controls cluttered the house. Then too, it could be hard to find audio or video media, and it was difficult or impossible to play the music or video they wanted in more than one room at a time.

To address these problems, the Osbee team installed a Crestron DigitalMedia network that allows any family member to access any movie, video, or collection of music in any or all parts of the house. DigitalMedia uses a high-bandwidth IP network to carry high-definition audio and video throughout the home, while meeting all digital TV requirements.

Today there are nine centralized HD video sources, two centralized audio sources, plus five Crestron docking stations for the iPod in various rooms of the house. There are 19 indoor audio zones and five outside, enabling the family to play music in different areas of the property–or send any combination of audio sources to any combination of zones.

DM distributes HD video to the dedicated home theater, a projection-based golf simulator, a 65- inch mirror TV in the living room, and flat-panel televisions throughout the house.

In an additional effort to remove clutter and improve the comfort and convenience of living in the home, the Osbee team also replaced 14 unsightly wall-mounted thermostats with nine invisible Crestron temperature/humidity sensors.

The Osbee team installed a Crestron DigitalMedia network that allows any family member to access any movie, video, or collection of music in any or all parts of the house.
Automating Control

The 11 touchscreens that the Osbee team installed not only control lighting and shading but also the audio and video, the heating and air conditioning, and the security and surveillance systems. Each screen is highly intuitive. Users work from a floor plan of the house, touching the rooms they want to send music or video to or adjust the lighting or temperature.

The team wall-mounted seven of these touchscreens (four are wireless) and two audio keypads. Six additional ML-600 remote controls, which look and act much like a TV remote, control temperature, lighting, and shading as well as the video and audio systems.

The security system includes 10 CCTV cameras connected to the DigitalMedia network. With the touch of a button, family members can view images from the cameras on any video display or Crestron touch screen.

As they do with the lighting and shading, the Crestron controls automate related functions in the security, climate and entertainment systems. Press ‘play’ in the theater, for example, and the projector turns on and the lights dim. Press an ‘all off’ button at the end of the day and the system turns lights off throughout the house, makes sure the doors are locked, and activates the security system.

“The home is spectacular through and through,” Raines said. “Its beauty is now more than skin deep, as its automated systems simplify the use of the house and help the homeowners thoroughly enjoy its bright rooms and spectacular artwork.”

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