Home Entertainment


Mountain Masterpiece

July 25, 2008 By Brooke Lange

Click the images below for bigger versions:
Telluride home cinema
Telluride game room
Telluride master bedroom
Telluride master bedroom with TV Lift up
Telluride guest room
Telluride guest room with TV lift up
Telluride gear room
Telluride bowling alley
Telluride bowling alley lit
Telluride wine room
Telluride kids room
Telluride Great Room
Telluride gallery

A capacious mountain getaway, designed for family and business retreats, is sprinkled with technological treats that are easy to use.

There’s a certain ruggedness—a rough-and-tumble way of life—in Colorado that’s as irresistible to the locals who run the ski mountains as it is to the well-heeled who build vacation homes from the ground up.

While the Mountain West’s second-home residents may be in hot pursuit of that iconic Ralph Lauren lifestyle, most of them can’t live without the technological creature comforts of home—big-screen plasma TVs, distributed audio indoors and out, top-notch security systems, elaborate game rooms and, of course, comfy full-fledged home theaters.

Telluride home cinema

Such is the case of this three-story mountain retreat—27,000 square feet of luxurious living space that’s wired with fine-tuned, easy-to-use technology. “Sometimes people overcomplicate things,” says custom installer Robert Bliss of Bliss Home Theaters and Automation, Inc. in Westlake Village, Calif. “The key was keeping the system simple so that anyone could come in and use the house without having extensive lessons on how to use it.”

Say you wander into the grand, Victorian-style home theater masterminded by interior designer Jill Cole and her team at Martinez Curtis and Associates in Marina del Ray, Calif. After running your hand along the top of one of the customized velvet theater chairs by Fortress, you take a seat in front of the coffee table and press “start theater” on the Crestron touch screen. Like magic, the Henna-red theater curtains part to reveal the 15-foot THX four-way masking screen, and the E-Cinema projector by Digital Projection fires up. “This is probably the highest-performing theater we’ve ever done,” Bliss says.

In addition, the theater is designed as a room within a room, and was extended 12 feet in length to accommodate the required seating, sight lines and the custom Krell audio system, which was personally designed by Krell’s owner, Dan D’Agostino. “He did a fantastic job—I have yet to hear anything better… and if someone said they wanted a better projector, it can’t be had,” Bliss says, adding that there are only two residential installations of the E-Cinema in the United States. This projector is also used at the Motion Picture Academy in Los Angeles.

While technology reigns supreme in this vacation home, so do the breathtaking mountain views—which the interior designer did not want to compromise in any way. “In the majority of rooms, there are spectacular views,” says Cole, adding that the client’s wife wanted a castle-like décor instead of the predictable log-and-antler motif. Cole and her team infused the interiors with lots of rich, decorative millwork in a variety of woods—from cherry to maple and walnut—a soothing-and-subtle color palette, and bold-yet-comfortable furniture.

“Technology is important to this homeowner, but it was also important to make the home look like someone’s house and not a rocket ship,” she says.

So that the owners and their guests can enjoy a movie or a TV show in their private quarters without the interference of the glaring sun, Cole designed and installed elaborate drapery systems.

Telluride master bedroom

In the vaulted-ceiling master suite, clerestory windows allow the view to be enjoyed continually—even when the draperies are drawn. “It was challenging to figure out a way to integrate a good place for the TV, the fireplace, the view, and the bed,” Cole says. While the design team considered installing a ceiling-suspended drop-down TV at one point, they decided upon a custom-carved cabinet that makes the 50-inch Marantz and its 5.1 surround-sound system vanish when it’s not in use. When the TV is in use, it rotates on the custom-designed, motorized Microcosman lift so the program at hand can be enjoyed bedside.

Each of the home’s nine bedrooms enjoy a similar TV setup with surround sound, as well as a simple-to-use two-button light switch and a Crestron touch screen. “People are very used to light switches,” Bliss says. “It’s not intuitive for them to go to a touch panel.” Press one of two buttons on any of the specially designed switches to turn the lights on or off. Guests can access any of the home’s music sources from the switches as well, from XM satellite radio to MP3s and CDs. Or consult the room’s Crestron touch screen to access the time, increase the bedside table’s lighting level from 20 percent to 94 percent, or adjust the room’s temperature.

Telluride guest room with TV lift up

Despite the luxurious bedroom settings, guests won’t feel the need to hole up in their bedrooms—regardless of the views, and the primo TV-viewing accommodations. Instead, they’ll find themselves drawn to the lower level—a full floor of the house that’s focused on fun, and includes an easy-to-operate home theater, a black-light bowling alley, a wine cellar and tasting suite, and a game room complete with a foosball table, a pool table, a 65-inch Sharp LCD TV, a pinball arcade, a professional shuffleboard table and an Xbox 360. “There are lots of places to play,” Cole says. “This house is about playing.” Since Colorado’s mountain areas can be difficult to reach by plane and car, the owners oftentimes host large groups of people for numerous days. Therefore, the house is equipped to entertain guests for longer periods of time—not just weekends.

Let’s say the homeowner is hosting 30 clients on a blustery, snowy weekend and the electricity goes out. “The way these homes become reliable is the way we work on them properly,” says Bliss of the technological work he and his brother, George, conduct. In this home, the strip lighting along the baseboards will illuminate immediately if the home’s electricity goes out. “Even if there’s a fire, these paths will light up to lead you to the nearest exit,” Bliss says. “The system can actually save a life.”

In addition, the home is equipped with several tons HVAC equipment and a backup power system. “For us, this kind of setup is standard,” Bliss continues. “The home is fully backed up with enough generator power that it could fully support itself.” Most electrical back-up systems, Bliss adds, support the core of the home—not the full home. “This generator is so large that it can create electricity and feed the electric grid … the owner can get rebates from the electric company.”

Other energy-saving technologies include the motion detectors that are wired into the lighting system. “If the system doesn’t detect anyone in the room, it will cut the lights off,” Bliss says. From a human energy savings standpoint, every lighting element, automated blind and speaker—both indoors and out—and all of the interior and exterior gas fireplaces, spas, and the snow melt system leading to the outdoor hot tub, can be controlled while the homeowner lounges in bed. Tracking down a loved one via the home’s elaborate intercom system also saves the homeowner from a lot of needless running around.

“The most robust thing the Crestron program does is the two-way intercom,” Bliss adds. Guest can converse via the Crestrom intercom system, and can actually view each other via the touch screen’s video window. With 14 touch panels in the home, you can have seven conversations going on at once.

“Anybody can buy a bunch of touch panels, a bunch of equipment and install it,” Bliss continues. But our team has the know-how to make a system of this scale really work.”


Wow, this is truly a "no expense spared" kind of place. What does it cost per day to rent I wonder? 10k, 20k? I'll have to save my shekels a while before making any plans. :)

"That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun." -Solomon

But it will be the best bowling of your life!

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