Our brief was to provide clients who treasured their vast collection of audio and visual entertainment, with a state-of-the-art hardware system, without any compromise whatsoever. At the same time they required that their family house remained a home and not just a digital entertainment showroom. They requested minimal technological encroachments, no visible cabling or freestanding equipment plus they wanted it to be easily operated by their children.
We wanted to design and implement a multi-room entertainment system complete with automated lighting. It needed to be seamless and elegant in a century-old home, which like most period properties, had very little scope for cable runs and conduits. Our solution was to combine lighting aesthetics with purpose perfect technology, using a Rako lighting control system that was actually wireless, so great for those quirky period walls.
The room housing the cinema retained its lovely restful look with Westwood wallpaper and windows to the side and rear gardens, however at the touch of an RTI remote button (or iPad), a hidden projector screen dropped down from the ceiling, blackout blinds lowered to darken the windows, the lights dimmed and an in-wall mounted projector would come to life with pin-sharp depth of colour. The cinema surround system was hidden in a custom sideboard that delivered outstanding audio to the room, as well as to others via the CD and Blu-ray players, and the Skybox. There was also a Linn digital streaming player fed by a server housed elsewhere in the property, capable of storing thousands of albums and playing internet radio and podcasts.
Downstairs rooms were bedecked with downlights, pendants and low level lights – all programmed with dimmable, customised schemes. In the living room, an ingenious mirror TV (a ‘normal’ mirror that was also a 40” plasma) was teamed up with directional in-ceiling speakers to create that high-end yet discreet system as requested. The playroom had its own 5.1 Artcoustic surround sound system with an in-wall 46” plasma, where the children could use games consoles and watch TV without disturbing their parents. The kitchen also had an in-wall TV, with a piano-black frame designed to complement the black granite worktops and bespoke table.
The client was an audio enthusiast and it was clear from the initial consultations that a high-end audio system would be needed within the strict budget requirements. We had to adopt the previous lighting scheme with little changes available but still create a draw-dropping atmosphere within the home.
The Follow Up
The clients were thrilled with what we had achieved within their beautiful home, they were that impressed that 18 months after the original install they requested further upgrades to enhance the audio quality in key areas.