Home Entertainment


California Dreamin'

December 18, 2009 By Brooke Lange

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California Dreamin
The 73-inch Mitsubishi TV stands tall in the family/media room. The upholstered seating is from A. Rudin; two tray tables, from de Benidictis, can be moved as the room’s needs change.
California Dreamin
California Dreamin
The home office, above, is warmed with mahogany woodworking and quarter-sawn oak flooring. The desk, crafted by Gigi Ronchietto, pairs with a chair from Presidio Interiors.
The master bath, middle, has a waterproof 23-inch Sunbrite TV. The tub is wrapped in Lagos Azul limestone
A subwoofer in a custom enclosure.
California Dreamin
California Dreamin equipment rack
California Dreamin equipment rack

She loves technology, he fears it. While their new home is loaded with the latest-and-greatest gear, it's built to please both personalities.

Designer Sandra Canada explains how she made two clients happy in one house.


California Dreamin

Home Entertainment: This house appears to be a classic case of “now you see it, now you don’t” in terms of concealing the audiovisual treats—from really big TVs to speakers. It’s clear you had to “treat” numerous TVs. Just how many televisions did you have to hide?
Sandra Canada: Seven, maybe eight. The televisions are hidden so well that I’ve possibly forgotten them!

Have any of your clients asked you to conceal audiovisual technology to this extent?
Absolutely. Many of my projects involve this type of approach. I find the male gender prefers not only the latest-and-greatest equipment, but men often want to have it in full view. Most women want it out of sight when it’s not being used.

So you’re not the kind of interior designer who’s appalled by an exposed flat-screen TV?
No, I love flat-screens! What’s appalling are those 30-inch-deep dinosaurs that dominate the full room they occupy. I have 57-inch Sony flat-screen at home.

This home’s recurring design motif appears to be rich wood, which finds its way onto all of those lovely TV cabinets. Each custom piece appears to take on a similar design style.
We had two extraordinary furniture-makers fabricate each television cabinet. The skill in the custom detailing and finishing is amazing. Nothing looks new—each cabinet looks as if it has been lovingly cared for over many years. The television in the family room appears as if it is an old European library cabinet. That entire environment is designed around that cabinet. This particular custom cabinet also contains the largest television in the house [a 73-inch Mitsubishi].

The 73-inch Mitsubishi TV stands tall in the family/media room. The upholstered seating is from A. Rudin; two tray tables, from de Benidictis, can be moved as the room’s needs change.

You’re being a tad too modest. You designed the overall aesthetic of each cabinet, right?
I guess I might have been the driving force behind these pieces, but they wouldn’t have come together without everyone being on board. Charlie Starbuck of Starbuck Minikin is our genius cabinet- and furniture-maker. He’s worked on the most extraordinary estates in Santa Barbara. Don Nulty, the architect, was also very involved in all aspects of the cabinetry design, and the design of the house.

There’s a lot of math involved in these TV cabinets. How do you configure one perfectly?
First, the equipment is identified. Then we worked directly with [custom installer] DSI Entertainment Systems Inc., and the cabinet-maker to assure that every technical requirement was met before the piece was manufactured.

Let’s move on to the TV cabinets in the kitchen, family/media room, the bedroom … those follow suit in slightly different ways?
Given that there are many areas in the house to enjoy television, the client was very specific about not having a TV in the master suite. But there is an enclosed television in a guest room. We thought it would be nice to create a quiet place to escape to if the husband or wife was not feeling well. Here, the television provides a great diversion. That custom TV cabinet and the one in the breakfast area of the kitchen have the ability to fully conceal the television screen when not in use. However, the large built-in cabinet in the family/media room leaves the television screen fully exposed at all times.

California Dreamin

That particular television treatment, as well as the ones you orchestrated in the master bath and the home office, obviously strays from your overall hide-the-TV design approach.
In some applications, being totally honest is the best solution. Both of these areas would have felt contrived if we tried to conceal the televisions. I also believe it’s more interesting to have variations in the overall design concept.

By “honest,” you mean that the televisions are out in the open and not concealed, right?
Yes, that’s exactly what I mean.


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