The Smart Way to Build a Smart Home
showcasing effective and efficient integration of technology and design.
By George McClure
AS OUR NAME IMPLIES, at Technology Designer our whole raison d’être is the effective and efficient integration of technology and design. To that end, we always recommend that architects, builders and interior designers partner with a smart home technology expert as early in the process as possible. Here’s a case study that illustrates some of the benefits of this approach.
Ted and Melissa bush were living in Texas when they decided to move to Colorado Springs to be closer to their son, who plays football at the Air Force Academy. Their new home was built by All About Home Design. All About Home Design builds completely custom, one-of-a-kind luxury homes that perfectly fit every client’s wants and needs.
All About Home Design’s Scott Maynes has been an industry innovator in the home building industry for 35 years. After spending decades building homes and commercial structures in California, Scott decided to move to Colorado Springs and join forces with his sister, Karen Jones, and create a premier home building and design company. In 2014, their first year in business together, they designed and built a custom home which won six HBA awards at the Colorado Springs Parade of Homes, and they’ve won numerous Parade of Homes awards since.
Scott’s uncompromising eye for detail, quality, and creativity, plus his experience in land development and building across multiple geographic areas, has given him the ability to build just about any home on any lot. He loves a challenging build and will do whatever it takes to make a client’s dream home become a reality.
All About Home Design has a local showroom with plenty of samples to help potential homeowners make design selections. Their friendly staff meets with clients to learn all about what they want in their dream home. Most AAHD homes are designed and built in just nine to twelve months, allowing customers to have their new home without waiting forever. AAHD can even get started on the design process before closing on the land. And for peace of mind, AAHD homes come standard with the best warranty in the industry, covering homeowners for one full year after move in.
“I came up for a visit during construction,” Ted Bush says, “and ended up touring some of the houses in the past Parade of Homes. I met Jason Kawakami from ListenUp during one of those visits, so we just struck up a working relationship, and he’s been helping us ever since.”
ListenUp was founded in 1972 to provide the very best in sound reproduction. Over the years that goal has expanded to include categories such as 4K Ultra HD video and advanced automation and control of all other electronics. Today, ListenUp has showrooms in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs and Albuquerque plus Commercial and Custom Divisions and an E-commerce Store that brings the company’s 48-plus year history of superior service to online customers.
Ted Bush continues, “We came up here to visit a lot, given our son’s in the Air Force Academy, so we were able to stop by the store as well. When the project actually started, Jason’s brother, Brian, ended up being the installer. And Brian is fantastic, too. He’s the nicest guy in the world, very attentive and always makes sure that we understand all the different technology. They’ve both been fantastic to work with.”
“We’ve become All About Home Design’s tech partner,” says Jason, “so we were involved pretty early in the project, just after the house was framed. As is the case with all the builders we work with, we like to help design and implement the electronic infrastructure so that the system goes the way it's supposed to. That’s what builders like about working with us — they can kind of hand clients over and then they don't really have to be too involved with the electronics stuff. They just trust us to take care of it all.”
For some builders and developers, ListenUp offers pre-selected packages of audio/video, automation and control products, but for most, such as the home featured here, the system is customized from the ground up. “We have our choice from several different control companies,” says Jason, “and the Bushes decided to go with Savant for their control interface because they found its app to be more intuitive and easier to use.”
Savant’s premium home automation systems offer personalization features that make the difference between a smart home and a Savant Home. With Savant’s award-winning apps, all of a dwelling’s advanced technologies await at the homeowner’s command. Select any room from a smart phone or tablet for remarkably easy and intuitive control and whole-house automation – from lighting, security, entertainment, climate control and much more.
Music and other programming is available throughout the home via the Savant distributed audio system and Bowers & Wilkins in-ceiling speakers in almost every room. This Savant IP Audio solution is fully customizable and allows for distribution of any audio source or input to any output or speaker over the network, without having to run costly speaker wire or lossy analog audio back to a centralized rack. Traditional audio distribution uses multiple analog-to-digital conversions and long analog wire runs, greatly reducing audio quality. Savant IP Audio stays digital from source to very near the speaker, maximizing sound quality.
The great room on the main floor features a Samsung The Frame 65-inch 4K TV, which displays the homeowner’s choice of digital artwork when not in TV mode. In the study, a 49-inch Sony 4K is attached to a cantilever mount which allows it to be pulled out and around for the best possible viewing angle form multiple locations within the room. The exercise room also has a 49-inch Sony on a cantilever mount, so the Bushes can adjust it depending on which machine they’re using. Sony 65-inch 4K TVs grace both the master bedroom and the bunk room.
“We knew our son would be bringing over his football buddies a lot,” says Ted, “so we designed the bunk room where they’d have a comfortable place to sleep. They really love having a nice TV in there.”
The rec room boasts the most sophisticated audio/video setup in the home, with an 85-inch Sony 4K LED Smart TV, nine in-ceiling speakers from the advanced Sonus faber Palladio collection, and a 15-inch REL subwoofer for accurate and visceral deep bass. An Arcam surround receiver provides processing for today’s 3D audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X as well as power for seven speakers and an Arcam amp handles power for the other speakers.
Bowers & Wilkins Marine Series outdoor speakers are mounted by the deck and patio, so the family can enjoy their favorite tunes, ballgames, podcasts and more outside, too.
With a microphone and speaker built in plus a wide-angle HD camera with infrared light and night vision, the Savant Door Station is a luxury IP door intercom that provides reliable access control, communication and video surveillance in a compact form factor. The Bushes can see who’s at the door and either let them in or decline entry with the touch of an app on their smart phones and tablets. There are also surveillance cameras in other strategic locations around the property for the ultimate in peace of mind.
The Lutron lighting system lets the homeowners automate and control all the lights and even create preprogrammed scenes for various scenarios. ListenUp integrated the Lutron system with Savant so everything can still be controlled by one app.
A robust network is the electronic backbone of today’s home systems, so ListenUp always creates the most reliable setup possible. In this case, ListenUp installed an advanced Luxul router and switches to provide network connectivity, plus multiple Ruckus wireless access points. And, of course, they set up the client’s Wi-Fi network and trained them how to use the system.
enoying it all
When asked his favorite thing about the system, Ted Bush replies, “I think just the usability — it’s user friendly for always setting the scenes of the lighting and the music through the Savant system. It’s really, really been fun to use. And, of course, we love the 85-inch TV with the surround sound down in the basement. It’s been neat to have a lot of movie-watching nights with a bunch of people. Our son and his football buddies are over here quite a bit, and we enjoy hosting them — although there’s a substantial investment in food each month [laughs]. Our daughter and son-in-law are moving to Colorado soon from Orlando, so we look forward to having them over a lot, too. All the products that we bought from ListenUp just made the house go from an A to an A++ — it’s just been wonderful.”
All About Home Design
Premier home building and design company in Colorado Springs.
ListenUp Audio | Video | Control
Established in 1972, with four showrooms in Colorado and New Mexico.
Savant Smart Home Control
Premium home automation systems.