High Tech Meets Fine Design

When movie fans hear the name Sidney Poitier, they probably think of the classic gentleman, his mellifluous voice, and Oscar-winning acting artistry. Then there is Poitier’s wife, Joanna, who is an artist in her own right. With her palette of gold and bronze leaf ceilings, flame stitch fabric, floral themes, her inte
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When movie fans hear the name Sidney Poitier, they probably think of the classic gentleman, his mellifluous voice, and Oscar-winning acting artistry.

Then there is Poitier’s wife, Joanna, who is an artist in her own right. With her palette of gold and bronze leaf ceilings, flame stitch fabric, floral themes, her interior design style is evocative, detailed, and alive.


The Signals AV design team, from left, Todd DeAngelis, Marie Howe, and Jesse Howe. For a slideshow of the project, click here.


Joanna Poitier is the owner of the Los Angeles-based interior design firm J.S.P. Interiors Inc. A recent project in Beverly Hills epitomizes her design flair and its perfect pairing with entertainment technology provided by Signals AV.

Part of the Family
Poitier’s love of her clients made this project even more rewarding. “I was very blessed to work with such lovely clients,” she beamed. “When you love something like a house, and when you love the people you are working with, you want to create a space that grows as they grow.”

She wanted to create a living, breathing home environment--space not just to spend time in, she says, but to treasure.

This 20,000-square foot, eight-bedroom home was a total retrofit project with no major construction. An abundance of rich woods, fireplaces, open flow of rooms, and grand windows provided the canvas for Poitier. Room to room, floor to floor, the theme is openness.

The design, she said, emphasizes “flow and fluidity.” The window treatments of stylized vines and ripe fruits fall like silk whispers to the floor. A creative combination of textiles helped the larger rooms and foyer coalesce. Stylized motifs extend to the kitchen, gym, sauna, pool areas, and patios.

Invisible Technology
This marriage of practical and oneiric defines this house, Joanna’s signature style, and the technological expertise of Signals AV.

Todd DeAngelis is the founder and president of Signals AV, a premier integration firm also based in Los Angeles. He has worked with numerous designers and appreciated Poitier’s unique visual philosophy.

“She had a vision for this home,” he said.

To integrate surround speakers, plasma screens, and projectors into this artful space, invisibility was key. Motorized lifts raise and lower the plasma screens and projectors in the bedroom, family room, and theater.

The high ceilings of the great room provided a challenge to the Signals AV crew. They wanted to improve the acoustics of the large room but keep the technology supremely stealthy. DeAngelis said that architectural speakers from SpeakerCraft were the perfect solutions for high-impact surround sound that complemented the décor.

“SpeakerCraft’s TIME speakers motor down from the ceiling,” he enthused. “We just love the product. Instead of a speaker with internal pivoting baffle, the whole speaker recesses and rotates.” One button operation activates the SpeakerCraft TIME to drop down silently, in concert with the projector and screen.

The dedicated home theater is located in the home’s basement, complete with tiered theater seating, latest Blu-ray player, high-definition projector, and host of other AV treats. Thanks to a Kaleidescape Movie Player system and a whole-house Crestron control and automation system, with the touch of one button the homeowners can enjoy the movie, TV show, or music of their choice in the theater and virtually every room of the home.

At the heart of the whole-house audio-video distribution and automation system are the Crestron Pro2 Control System, Kaleidescape KPLAYER-5000 Movie Player, and Kaleidescape DVD Server. Crestron also provided a thermostat, the CHV-TSTATW, and solutions for power conditioning via the Crestron CEN-UPS1250 power conditioner and battery back-up.

In the upstairs hall the team installed a Crestron TPS6L in-wall color video touchscreen. The office includes a Sharp LC52D92U 52-inch 1080P HDTV LCD display supported by an Omnimount UCLXP articulating wall-mount bracket. Bringing music to life are Sonance Symphony S623TR recessed in-wall/ceiling speakers.

Signals AV even outfitted the sauna and pool areas with AV; the Sonance Extreme XTSSTR in-wall system is totally weatherproof and is controlled by the Niles in-wall volume adjustment. DeAngelis said they kept everything tidy with Middle Atlantic custom racks and accessories, including the Middle Atlantic Slim 5 Castors 5WL 3, BL-1 Rack Spacer 26, and DIRECTV HR21-700 custom rack Shelf 6.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall
In Los Angeles, entertainment technology is de rigueur, but Poitier says that she prefers AV equipment that harmonizes with the décor, not detracts from it.

The master bedroom is another example of this; it is elegantly decorated yet modernized by sleek technology. The four-poster bed conjures the star quality of classic Hollywood. Loveseats and high-backed chairs transform the bedroom into a multi-purposed relaxation station. Dueling plasma TVs (one pops up on motorized lift, and one is integrated into the gilded Ceura Mirror) let the clients enjoy the latest high-def movie wherever they choose. When the TVs are off, they literally disappear.

DeAngelis also enjoyed working with the clients: “They’re probably the best customers that anyone can wish for. They made it so easy.”

The technology integration took approximately nine months, and the family is delighted with their gear. From the wireless networking and CCTV systems, to music in the breakfast nook, it’s a Florentine garden of high-def delight.

Margot Douaihy is the contributing editor of Residential Systems magazine.

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