For Tom Taylor, a veteran high-end residential architect, a certain level of sophisticated yet simple home automation was a must-have for his new home and rental property at the Amangani Resort in Jackson Hole, WY. To achieve this, he hired Connecticut—based C&T Systems to install an ELAN g! Entertainment and Control System that makes it easy to control the home’s lighting, heating, audio/video, pool, spa, security and surveillance systems.
According to Andrew Spalla, C&T’s director of engineering, every step in the project was carefully considered and the design was fully orchestrated before installation began, ensuring a smooth process and a perfect result.
“We agreed that for the home to be comfortable for the Taylors while also being simple and luxurious for guests, it needed to provide controls that are intuitive and can be operated by anybody with zero training,” he said. “And it was important to minimize the visual impact of the control system keypads while keeping the operation simple for lighting, music and AV.”
All the lighting controls throughout the house are intuitive, from LED light strips and recessed lights that have pre-set ‘high’ and ‘low’ dimming levels to motorized window shades that can be raised or lowered through the ELAN g! mobile app or an ELAN HR2 remote. Each room has a lighting keypad that includes buttons for ‘high’, ‘low’ and ‘off’, plus up and down arrows for diming that allow guests to set their perfect lighting level. The system is intelligently designed to fit each space in the home, so that the ‘high’ level is brighter in the kitchen than the ‘high’ level in the master bedroom, and that certain light fixtures automatically adjust brightness at night and in the daytime. In addition there are select scenario buttons that set scenes throughout the house for things like entertaining.
The owners have special settings for themselves that use the intelligently hidden LED light strips to accentuate the grain of the redwood walls, stone fireplaces and the texture of the semi-transparent Lutron window shades that block sunlight but allow the views of the mountains to show through.
The shades are an important component, giving the Taylors and their guests control over sun glare when enjoying TV or a movie. A simple tap on an ELAN keypad, HR2 remote or the g! app on an iPad or iPhone lowers the shades and then fires up the home theater or living room entertainment area.
“When designing this home and the electronics systems, aesthetics always came first,” Spalla added. “We used Sunfire speakers in the home theater to provide true theater quality sound, and we replaced the spa system’s ugly controller with an attractive keypad that matches the home’s décor and design. By combining all the home’s functions into the g! system, we eliminated a lot of standard wall clutter, like light switches, thermostats and a spa control dial. Now it’s all controlled from a single light keypad in each room, or from an iPad or iPhone. We also kept the system as hidden as we could, using Niles and SpeakerCraft speakers that mount flush into the ceiling and can be painted. Unless someone points them out to you, you’d never even know they were there.”
The Lutron lighting keypads can be specially programmed, such as the one located near the doorway to the outdoor seating area; it features a special ‘Spa’ button that tells the ELAN g! system to turn on the patio lights and hot tub jets, while automatically turning on the outdoor audio system and playing selections from the owner’s playlist or streaming sources such as Pandora. Spalla and Taylor chose Niles speakers for the outdoor area because they are extremely weather-resistant and provide superior sound quality. Other rooms use multi-function buttons as well, such as the bedrooms where a ‘Suite Off’ button switches off any lights, TV and music that are currently on in the room.
Managing the entire home’s bevy of electronic systems requires a true touchscreen experience, which Spalla delivered with a 10-inch in-wall ELAN TS10 touch panel in the kitchen. Through the TS10 the Taylors and guests can manage, monitor and control everything in the home, from the audio, video, security systems and surveillance cameras to the snow and ice melting system. All of this control is also available on the ELAN g! mobile app, which the owners and guests use on their iPads or iPhones to adjust heating, lighting, windows shades, audio and video without getting off the couch, or even when away from the house.
Setting up for a movie night is simple using the ELAN HR2 remote or an iPad, which allows the viewer to turn on the home theater or living room media system, choose their favorite program or movie, turn down the lights, turn up the volume and set the heat to their ideal level. And several of the home’s TVs are recessed into the wall, creating another super-custom touch that makes the architecture and design the main attraction.