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Guitar Collector Builds a Rock Star-Infused Basement Lounge with ELAN g! Control

Guitar aficionado Jack Jackson and his wife Kathleen know how to throw a party–just ask the 80-plus people who attended their 2013 New Year’s bash, held in the new ultra-trendy basement lounge in their Hunterdon County, NJ, home.

From left, 360 Media Innovations co-owner Chima Gale, homeowner Jack Jackson, and 360 Media Innovations co-owner Abiose Gale. Guitar aficionado Jack Jackson and his wife Kathleen know how to throw a party–just ask the 80-plus people who attended their 2013 New Year’s bash, held in the new ultra-trendy basement lounge in their Hunterdon County, NJ, home. The Jackson’s “basement” can go toe-to-toe with any posh Manhattan nightclub thanks to its custom built bar, LED lighting accents, lounge area with a wraparound leather sofa, electric fireplace, 120-bottle wine cellar, “pillar of fire” column with drink rests, a smoke machine, and laser lights. But according to Jackson, the icing on this mini nightclub’s cake is something that’s vital for a long night of partying–the room’s lighting, three TVs and two zones of audio are all super easy to control right from an iPad through the ELAN g! entertainment and control system.

Local custom integrator, 360 Media Innovations, installed the ELAN g! system, in-ceiling speakers, wall-mounted TVs, and integrated lighting.

“We were used to going out to bars and clubs, but we love to entertain at home, too,” said Jack Jackson. “We’ve spent lots of time in Las Vegas, New York City, South Beach, you name it. So we used ideas from those places in the design of our new underground entertaining oasis, like the TVs in the bar area, the LED light strips underneath the marble bar, the pillar drink rests, and the extra bar space on a separate wall. All the little accents make this a space most people don’t expect to see in a home.”

After a brief addiction to the videogame Rock Band, Jackson developed a strong desire to learn how to play a real guitar. In just a few months that desire turned into an entirely new pursuit–he outfitted a home workshop and began building his own custom guitars. From carving and painting the bodies to researching the right electronics and neck stocks to get the sound he wanted, this unexpected hobby taught him how to make something that is truly greater than the sum of its parts, a lesson he utilized when designing the new lounge.

The custom remodeler that built the lounge, helped design the space and suggested the materials, Joseph Pastore, had previously worked with Jackson to design his music studio and home gym, which are both located adjacent to the new lounge. To ensure all the electronics worked correctly and would make throwing parties easier than ever, Jackson hired 360 Media Innovations. This was 360 Media’s second job with Jackson, having wired and installed several in-wall speakers in the music studio.

“Jack and Kathleen were involved in the design and build process of the basement from start to finish,” said Chima Gale, owner of 360, “but they trusted us to deliver the audio and video portions without him lifting a finger. We had an initial consultation to discuss what they wanted, and then we made it happen. We gave them confidence that they would receive the perfect system for their space that would be easy to operate and easy to expand in the future, and ELAN g! is our go-to for easy, expandable home control.

An ELAN g! system lets the Jackson family and guests control their basement lounge’s lights, TVs, and music from an iPad Mini or an iPhone. According to Kathleen Jackson, to maintain the feel of a real bar, eliminating wall clutter was a must-have feature. The g! system lets them control the lounge’s lights, TVs and music from an iPad Mini or an iPhone. The custom integrators were able to move all the light switches into a separate room on a single large master control panel, so the Jacksons never have to use the individual light switches. Instead, they use the iPad Mini or two multi-button keypads located in the stairwell and behind the bar to activate pre-programmed lighting scenes such as Lounge or Party that turn on or dim specific lighting fixtures throughout the room.

“Every design aspect resulted from a carefully considered decision,” she explained, “including removing the light switches and using in-ceiling speakers. And along with the appearance, the ease of operation had to be absolutely seamless.

To give the Jacksons complete control, 360 Media programmed the ELAN g! system so all three TVs can display the same video or show different channels, just like a commercial bar, and the speakers in the bar can play different audio than the speakers in the lounge. That way they can have a sporting event on the main TV with high-quality audio, and still have music playing by the bar.

“At our 2013 New Years party everyone was trying to be the DJ, using the iPad Mini to change the music through the g! system,” Kathleen continued. “When our first guests arrived, we showed them how to use it for 30 seconds, and that’s all it took for everyone to be able to use it all night. Plus the guys from 360 Media set up eight different lighting scenes for us, so there’s a special setting to bring up the bar lights, or for when we move the couches and have a dance floor, or for when we aren’t using the bar at all and are sitting in the lounge area. It’s so easy!”

Gale explained why. “Our job as integrators is to make it easy for our clients to see the benefits of the products and services we offer,” he said, “and when we have clients like Jack and Kathleen who know exactly what they want, it makes our jobs that much easier.”