Cold Call, Hot Project

An Integrators Discovery of a New Home Builder Proves to be a Good Fit in Atlanta
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The original AMX control system (using NuVo as an audio switcher) was selected for its open architecture and touch screens. Adding onto the system with a B&K video switcher, Weart's team also introduced many more control points, more audio/video zones, and three extra rooms with surround sound.


Sometimes it pays to make a cold call.

While driving around suburban Atlanta last year, HomeWaves Inc. president Robert Rose took note of a sign promoting a home builder that his company had not worked with before. He soon made the call to Intown Builders, a presentation was made, and as a result, HomeWaves recently wrapped up a nearly $370,000 whole-house integration project.

According to HomeWaves design and engineering manager Adam Weart the new relationship proved to be a good match. The home integration firm is accustomed to working on large-scale projects, with the vast majority of their jobs falling in the six-figure range. From the beginning, the builder was willing to put more money toward custom integration in what started off as a spec house project. He was putting in touchscreens and distributed audioa lot more than most builders, Weart said. I think that helped him in selling the home, because it had the future owners thinking, This is a great builder.

The Fun Begins

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A hidden acoustical paneling door with a magnetic latch that can be "pushed and popped" hides the Middle Atlantic racks.Upon buying the house, the homeowner clients decided they wanted a full upgrade of the existing home automation features, including audio/video, HVAC, network, lighting integration, and security. Plus, they wanted to finish out the basement.

The homeowner, an executive with Home Depot, had a deeper understanding of technology than the average person, so he wanted the latest and greatest for a big house with a lot of displays in an easy-to-use package that could be managed with the press of a button. He didnt want to buy 20 different satellite receivers, so we got into video switching, Weart said. Also, we have between 20-30 distributed audio zones and wanted to make sure the touchscreens were easy enough to navigate.

The original AMX control system (using NuVo as an audio switcher) was selected for its open architecture and touchscreens. It was designed to be scalable, but the upgrade did present some challenges. Switching from the builders already installed system to what the homeowner wants gets you in a situation where there arent as many distributed audio zones, Weart explained. Obviously, we created a scalable situation, but you still have to go back and re-engineer a house youve already pre-wired.


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From left, HomeWaves president Robert Rose and design and engineering manager Adam Weart after winning the Most Monsterous Install of the Month award for Monster Power, back in 2005.


Adding on to the system with a B&K video switcher, Wearts team also introduced many more control points, more audio/video zones, and three extra rooms with surround sound.

The 12,500-square-foot home boasts 13 viewing areas, including the home theater. Using a Kaleidescape media server, the homeowner can pull up any audio/video source from anywhere in the home.

Technical Achievements
The homes study presented a unique situation in that it has three televisions and one surround sound system. The way its programmed is the system picks whatever TV you last selected and that is the TV with the sound, he explained. It is also connected to the owners computera Macand he can switch to the computer on the TV screen at any time.

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The 12,500-square-foot home boasts 13 viewing areas, including the home theater. The home theater has a Runco VX-1000D projector with a Stewart FireHawk G3 110-inch screen, an in-wall Paradigm speaker solution, Bay Audio in-wall subwoofer, and acoustical paneling. A hidden acoustical paneling door with a magnetic latch that can be pushed and popped hides the Middle Atlantic racks. Weve always used Middle Atlantic for its ease of use and clean, seamless feel, Weart said. They have a really attractive locking unit with a smoke-glass cover, but you can still get to the components.

The living room video display was designed to go flush against the wall, which meant that selecting the proper video mount would be critical. Weart selected Peerless flush-mounts for any area of the home where recesses could be cut because, he said, theyre sleek, clean, easy to install (the display on to the mounts and into the wall), and they dont take up a lot of space. When youre allotted five-inches of cavity space, you want to make sure you dont have the TV stick out an extra couple of inches, so they worked great for our installation, he said.

Weart also prefers Peerless solutions, because its articulating wall mount arms offer enough support to protect the display from accidents. The arms are not going to slip and lose their strength, like other brands that start to sag over the course of time, Weart said.


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Rounding out the home automation experience, the master bathroom features two 10-inch touchscreens--one at each vanity. Each has its own set of speakers so if the husband wants to hear the sports scores on ESPN radio, and the wife wants to watch the business news on CNBC while getting dressed, there's no fight over the remote.

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The remote controls for the three upstairs bedroom displays were not a priority, so Weart saved his client some money by going with a simple universal remotes with infrared RS232 converters for each of those displays.

Rounding out the home automation experience, the master bathroom features two 10-inch touchscreensone at each vanity. Each has its own set of speakers so if the husband wants to hear the sports scores on ESPN radio, and the wife wants to watch the business news on CNBC while getting dressed, theres no fight over the remote.

Brand Preferences
Runco is high-end and we put those in key locations based on how often theyd be used, Weart said. In addition to serving as the aforementioned projector is in the home theater, that premium video brand is located in the master bedroom, study, and bar area. Other displays throughout the home include LGs and Hitachis. According to Weart, he chose these brands because they all offer good picture quality and work well with Peerless mounts. The control system is designed so that all sources can be accessed at any display.

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The home's study presented a unique situation in that it has three televisions and one surround sound system.Weart turned to Vantage Controls for the homes lighting control system. They have controllers that never fail, and programming is relatively simple, he said. Using the lighting control system, the homeowners can now turn off and on all their lights from their bedroom, and they can also set lighting for specific experiences, such as entertaining.

The security system with DVR enables the homeowner to pull up all 14 cameras to monitor activity at any time, and also helps control entry at the front gate.

While HomeWaves focuses on home automation, its sister company, Light Logics, offers lighting design services on projects, including this one. Weart said that this arrangement enables his companies to focus on design early in a project, avoiding costly system readjustments later.

A lot of times a builder will bring in an electrician wholl want to put six sconces here and a chandelier there, Weart said. We just completely disagree with that mentality because well want to dim the lights and gray the walls and accent art work. We put a lot of thought into this, he said.

One of the key components to the success of this project was the relationship with the builder that enabled Weart and his team to overcome the challenges with which they were presented. There was a lot of coordinating with the builder. He was great. We found him to be very open-minded and communicated with us very well, he added.

Karen Sussman is a freelance writer in Carmel, Indiana.

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