Archive for 'lighting control royal palm beach'

Shade Control: A Critical Component to Home Automation

We’ve had a lot of experience over the years installing and maintaining home automation systems. And while lighting control has been a fundamental component to every home system practically since the concept was invented, we’ve noticed more and more customers taking advantage of the possibilities that present themselves when your home automation system incorporates shade control into the whole-house package.

546_NewYork_1.jpgWhat an automated lighting control system is during the night time, a comprehensive shade control system can be during daylight hours. For most people, the control they have over lighting in their home takes place mostly at night, when lights can be adjusted for particular moods or settings. And home automation systems, pardon the pun, truly shine in this regard; lighting control systems can raise and dim lights throughout the house in response to direct control from a homeowner, or as part of a scheduled program that can be adjusted to fit your routine.

But during the day, the same sorts of convenience and benefit can be derived simply by bringing whole-house control to the blinds and drapes, and adjusting how much sunlight is cast across different rooms at different times of day. Shade control can effectively control mood and ambiance in a home, using the available light to its fullest potential — and blocking it off when it’s too much for the particular application, such as when you want to watch television or a movie during the day.

Perhaps most interestingly, shade control can be utilized to take advantage of passive solar gain, and incorporated into a home automation system as part of the environmental controls. When the timing is right, the heating system can be augmented by letting natural light spill into an area, improving the efficiency of the system dramatically by using a free, renewable natural resource: the sun!

kalomirakisOne of the most well-known names in luxury home theater design is Theo Kalomirakis. He’s an influential leader in this industry.  His designs take a home theater beyond being merely a room with a big screen and lots of speakers, into a place with its own personality with lighting control and home automation.  The homeowners will have a total sensory experience from the moment they cross the threshold of their home theater room.

Kalomirakis-designed home theaters have won recognition from Electronic House Home of the Year Awards. Kalomirakis recently gave a presentation at Crestron’s Design Showroom in New York City.  He talked about common mistakes people make when building a home theater, the importance of home automation and how he approaches his designs with lighting control.

Q: Are there any frequent mistakes that people make when planning or building their home theaters?

A: It’s become like a little cottage industry for me, talking about the mistakes people make that started by mistakes I made. You don’t learn unless you make mistakes.

Mistake number 1: You get into a home where a designer is involved, and they have put the home theater seats on cement. This is not good for sound. If you don’t have carpeting on the floor the bass doesn’t hit you in the heart. It’s just like having a violin having its cavity filled with cement.

Mistake number 2, Risers: People think that if you separate the seats in your home theater by one step you’re going to see over other people’s heads. But it doesn’t work that way. If you have a screen that’s all the way to the floor, you’re going to have to do a lot more than one step. You’re going to have to do sightline risers, and this is something Home Theater Designers usually don’t know when designing a home theater room.

Mistake number 3: People think that if you put acoustical treatments on the wall, it seals the home theater from the rest of the house.  You have to be prepared to do both room isolation and room acoustics as they are two totally different things. These are the technical mistakes that I see people do. I’ve seen a lot of architectural mistakes, as well as made them myself in the past.  Hopefully I don’t make them anymore.

Q: What are some of the different enhancements that you can bring to a home theater that clients may not have thought of themselves?

A: I want to understand the design that goes into the rest of the house so that the home theater is not an ugly stepchild of the rest of the house. I believe that the home theater should follow the design direction of the home, but bring it to a new level without making it totally isolated.  I wouldn’t put an art deco home theater in the middle of a classical house.

What I think I bring to my clients is to educate them to actually justify the cost. I try to prevent them from making mistakes. I want them to be able to live in a home theater room that is heightening the experience without being so aesthetically different from what they have in the rest of the house.

You have to interview them. You have to learn what they like. Some people may not like the red curtain that seems to hang in every home theater room.  They may want something more neutral. You have to listen to them and be an interpreter of their dreams. I’m trying to tune into what they want and direct them into realizing their dreams without imposing myself on what they want to do.

Q: What can home automation bring to the experience of a home theater?

A: Everything. Without home automation you get a bunch of electronics that don’t communicate with each other.  There is nothing more frustrating for a client than having to hit ten remote controls to turn the lights down, open the curtain, or start the system. Home Automation is probably the most vital aspect for enjoying your home theater.

In my mind the most unique thing you can do is through lighting control. You can set up the levels of the home theater room so it’s lit up architecturally, not generically. In the home theater, lighting has to create drama. Home Automation allows you to create presets in the lighting control that gives the client the ability to see a variety of things.  Such as the slight illumination of the speaker grills when you watch a movie, or not seeing them at all, or having the step lights shown.

Q: At what point in the consultation does home automation customization enter the conversation with a client?

A: At the end of the project.  It’s very important that you separate all the lighting control sources in circuits. Step lights on one circuit, column lights on another, and curtain lights on yet another. So you can play with different levels, bringing certain lights up and down to the client’s desire. I don’t do that by myself. Each client will have different aesthetic preferences, so I sit down with them and ask them what levels they like their lights at and then have the Lighting Control Integrator hit the lighting control button and show them.

Q: Have you noticed any trends or shifts in what people are asking for lately?

A: There is more and more focus on multipurpose home theater rooms and less on dedicated home theaters because people are misinformed. Younger people, especially in the 20s and 30s, are used to experiencing media on tablets and iPhones. So for them a dedicated home theater room is not as important.  I see a trend toward not having a home theater in the center of the house. In my opinion you have to have both. You have to be able to watch your movies on a tablet while on a trip, but you don’t want to watch a movie on a tablet at home. And you don’t want to watch an epic movie on just a 50 or 60-inch TV. You want to be engrossed in the experience with home automation and lighting control in your home theater room.

Q: Do you have any advice for a reader who is interested in having a home theater installed but doesn’t know where to start?

A: Talk to their Home Theater and Home Automation designer. Designers are getting more perceptive about home theaters. Have someone take you by the hand and guide you through the process, show you what’s available with regards to lighting control and home automation for your home theater room.

SmartHomeIf you’re looking for a way to connect the technologies in your Smart home, our Home Automation package is your answer. This package features all the products in the Home Security and Energy Management packages plus a lot more Home Automation.
  • Go!Control Touch-screen Panel with Remote Internet and Smart Phone Access
  • Window and Door Sensors
  • Glass Break and Motion Detectors
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
  • Smart Thermostat and Energy-Efficient Bulbs
  • Small Appliance and Lighting Controls
  • Video Surveillance
  • Automatic Door Locks

Lock your doors, turn off lights, adjust your thermostat, arm your Smart Home system, and much, much more. No matter where you are in the world, you can manage your entire Home Automation system through any of your devices such as your smartphone, computer, or tablet.

From premier security to heating and cooling your Smart Home, to access control and video surveillance, our Home Automation package meets all your needs in your Smart Home while helping you prepare for a smarter future.  For more information on Smart Phone Home Automation and many other services, contact us today!

 

Light Control in Home Theater Settings

lightingHome theater enthusiasts have long known that even the best displays on the market require careful control of room lighting for optimal performance. That’s why when we’re helping our customers design the ultimate home theater experience, we urge them to take extra time to consider light control options; it’s an often overlooked part of home theater design that can make an enormous difference when it’s time to watch a movie.

One of the benefits of whole-house home automation has always been having a finer degree of control over particular portions of your home “zones,” in the parlance of home automation professionals. This benefit is nowhere more apparent than in the case of homes that incorporate a dedicated home theater, where the typically-controlled elements of home automation are part and parcel to improving the movie-watching experience.

Light control is practically the heart and soul of home automation, and in a home theater setting those capabilities truly shine. For a system robust enough to control every light in a home, adjusting them for optimal comfort and safety throughout changing conditions over the course of days and nights, it becomes a trivially simple matter to have lights dim when a movie begins in a house’s home theater room, and fully automatically – perhaps even dimming just slightly during the opening credits and going to full black once the film begins.

Then, at the end of a movie, home automation systems can be programmed to raise the lights gradually as the credits roll, allowing movie viewers the opportunity to adjust their eyes slowly to a brightening room, rather than all at once. For longer films that seem to be increasingly popular among home theater viewers, this sort of gentle nudge back into the real world is much more pleasant.

For more information on home theater light control and our many other services, contact us today!