Celebrity House

Toronto-Area Home’s Styling, Tech Appointments Earn It Screen Time
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It’s a rare feat: rising up from winning a reality competition show, to appearing in a Netflix-exclusive series, to starring in a Hollywood blockbuster film with big-name celebrities. Such a meteoric ascension is all but impossible for most actors. But it’s a little easier if you’re a house–and a really cool-looking, tech-filled one, at that.

Such has been the case for 44 Belvedere, a modernist 10,000-square-foot, glass-sheathed abode in Oakville, Ontario, constructed from 2009 to 2011 and outfitted with technology by local integration firm Evolve. According to Manuel Furtado, the firm’s owner, designing the lighting, AV, and control systems proved challenging, due to the home’s distinct aesthetics.

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This 10,000-square-foot home in Oakville, Ontario features 12 zones of video, 10 zones of audio, an 11-seat home theater, home gym,and sophisticated lighting, shading, and HVAC system, all managed through its Control4 system.

“Everything was a roadblock in that place,” he said. “There was no room for wiring. As soon as I looked at the job, I said ‘This is five times more than any job I’ve ever done.’ You couldn’t run any wires down the back of the house; couldn’t run any wires down the front of the house. Even on the sides of the house–like the north side of the house, it’s all steel-beam and concrete construction; you couldn’t run anything down that way either. There were very limited locations for wire.”

Another issue was finding a way to incorporate blinds to shade the home’s massive floor-to-ceiling windows–the home’s skeleton was initially to feature pockets for blinds, but they were later removed. “We definitely had to have some kind of shading incorporated into the project, and we had to come up with an alternate solution to implement it and hide it in a way that was pleasing to the client and wouldn’t end up being intrusive,” Furtado said.

Eventually, Furtado and his team came up with a solution requiring minimal wiring, utilizing wireless lighting fixtures and MechoShade systems, with everything tied into a Control4 automation system. The Control4 system is at the heart of everything: the HVAC and climate control, audio and media distribution to the home’s 12 video and 10 audio zones, and of course, automation and control.

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With lots of glass, concrete, and steel, integrator Evolve had to get creative when wiring the home, including installed wireless lighting fixtures.

“The client wanted to create a space that was designed for entertainment,” Furtado said. “It’s not a kid-friendly house–with all of the concrete and glass–it’s more for an upper-scale type of couple or individual who wanted to have a really cool house, get a sense of being somewhere else, even though it’s in Canada.

For entertainment, the home features numerous Samsung and Panasonic flat panels, and Canadian-made Paradigm speakers throughout, including a 9.1 system composed of Paradigm Reference speakers in the theater. For the 11-seat theater, which features a JVC projector and 133-inch Screen Innovations screen, Evolve engineered an interesting appointment.

“As you’re going into the theater, there’s a stage that you go up to, and it’s wrapped in mirrors,” Furtado said. “Behind the mirrors, we have digital signage that’s actually digital movie posters. A lot of people like to give you that movie effect, with movie posters all along the entrance to their theaters. We wanted the same idea, but in keeping with the house, we wanted it to be ultra-clean, minimalistic, and what we did was made it more new age.”

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With the digital signage, the Evolve team can easily change the images on the posters at any time to fit the entertainment going on inside.

When the original homeowner decided to put the house on the market after living there two years, all of the technology and entertainment systems were a selling point, but one of the things that really sealed the deal with the eventual buyer was the Control4 system, which he found to be a major improvement on the experience of his previous home’s control setup.

“When they came in to put the offer on the house here, the client asked me to meet with him one day to walk him through and answer any questions he may have, because he is a little bit more technical,” Furtado said. “And we went through things, and when I demonstrated how to use the system, his wife’s first reaction was, ‘Oh my God, this is so much easier to use.’”

According to Furtado, this couple first saw the home on TV, when it won a reality competition show, Four Houses Canada, on the HGTV Canada network. They then looked it up on the internet, and when it went on sale, ended up buying it. Since then, it’s also gone on to appear in a music video, the Netflix original horror series Hemlock Grove, and will be in an upcoming “blockbuster Hollywood film with a couple celebrities” that Furtado said he can’t name yet. “It’s a really popular house,” he said. “That house has given me a lot of recognition, no question about it.”

Matt Pruznick is associate editor of Residential Systems and Systems Contractor News. Follow him on Twitter @Pruznick.

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