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Something Old, Lots of New

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Home of the Year installation
Home of the Year installation
Home of the Year installation
Home of the Year installation
Home of the Year installation
Home of the Year installation
Home of the Year installation
Home of the Year installation

It looks like an old-world mansion, but with 25,000 square feet of fun.

We usually have a Home of the Year category for Fun Rooms, which we’ll feature in a future issue. This home, though, could have a fun category all to itself.

Home of the Year pool table

There are fun rooms peppered throughout this 25,000-square-foot Atlanta area mansion, from the wood-paneled home theater with its 127-inch screen to a cavernous music room with the owner’s guitar collection. There’s also an indoor putting green, a kids’ game room and a family style “keeping room” off the kitchen with a soaring cathedral ceiling. The 60-inch Pioneer plasma TV over the fireplace in this room actually looks small.

Just call this house a cathedral to fun. There are more than 200 devices being controlled by a Crestron home management system, via 72 wall-mounted keypads and five wireless touchpanel controllers, as well as iPad and iPhone control options. The house boasts 32 separate audio zones and 16 video zones—in addition to 144 lighting zones, 13 heating and ventilation zones, and 65 security zones with 28 surveillance cameras.

No Band-Aid Network

How do you make sure WiFi-based Crestron touchpanels and iPads can control everything in a 25,000-square-foot steel-framed house? In this case, electronics installation company Atlanta Home Theater of Roswell, Ga., set up a commercial-grade networking system with Cisco routers and switches and lots of hospital-grade wireless access points. The extensive computer network also allows the family to use a network printer and to have automatic backups from their Apple computers to an Apple Time Machine.

There’s a temperature-controlled pool with underwater speakers; a climate-controlled wine cellar with an electronic eSommelier system that utilizes barcode scanning to keep track of the extensive inventory; and five separate surround-sound systems for the theater, keeping room, master bedroom, kids’ playroom and outdoor family room on the terrace.

Devising a control system for a home this size wasn’t the main challenge for systems electronics integration company Atlanta Home Theater of Roswell, Ga. The company has a template it draws on from president Scott Ross’ own Crestron system. One of the challenges in a house like this, though, was to make the extensive system easy to operate.

To do that, those 72 Crestron wall-mounted keypads offer only a few control options per room. “Our philosophy is to use the minimum amount of buttons on keypads. We’ll only [provide] three or four buttons for local lighting scenes,” Ross says. If audio is available in the room, one button usually calls up the most popular music source. In this case, the owner can cycle through four XM Satellite Radio stations by pressing the same button. The stations cycle from mellow Spa and Chill channels to Pop and Rock. (More detailed controls, such as for individual lights, are available via the Crestron touchpanels.)

A total of 61 B&W speakers deliver beautiful music throughout the house, with a 7.1-channel array in the home theater. Ross and his company performed some disappearing magic there, by mounting the front speakers on doors that lead to another room and building subwoofers into a platform that holds the back row of seats. The source components are housed in a rack in the adjacent arcade, and are used to distribute music and video throughout the house.

The room that presented the biggest challenge, Ross says, was the exercise room. The wall cavity between it and the adjacent room for the air conditioning equipment had been filled with spray foam insulation, which Atlanta Home Theater had to drill through to make vital audio and video connections.


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