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Refined Electronic Systems

Media TechHome Makeover

ROOM SHORTCUTS | Living Room | Kitchen | Lanai | Home Office | Master Bedroom | Master Bath | Garage | Home Theater |

 

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to transform your home with a "media makeover"? Design Systems Ltd. is doing just that with a typical home, and this page of our site will document the whole process, from inception, planning, and design, through the various stages of implementation and installation, finishing with the beautiful and exciting results.

 

Just what is involved in fitting today's advanced, state-of-the-art electronic systems to an existing home? We will include lots of before-and-after images, with explanations and photos of all of the various aspects of the project.

Where Are We Starting? Where Are We Going?

A little over 15 years ago, the owners of this home decided they would enjoy having a large-screen television for movies, sports, and other TV programming. They also wanted a sound system that could provide music throughout most areas of the residence. The cost for adding the large-screen TV and music system had to fit within a moderate budget. In order to stay within the budget, the music distribution system would be designed as a 1-zone system, with all areas listening to the same music. The only exception to this was the Living Room, where TV sound would automatically play through the stereo speakers and subwoofer when the TV was turned on, overriding the central music in the Living Room.

 

By 2007, home electronic systems had advanced significantly. In order to upgrade performance and system capabilities with a high-definition home theater, improved surround sound, add multi-room high-speed computer networking, and incorporate sophisticated environmental control of lighting and air conditioning, a complete "media makeover" was in order.

 

Let's go through the home, room by room, to see what the 1990 challenges and solutions were, and compare them to the 2007 design goals, challenges, and, of course, the Design Systems Ltd. solutions:


Living Room

Virtual Tour This link will open a new window with panoramic Before and During views of the project home's Living Room.

 

Virtual Tour This link will open a new window with different Before and During views of the project home's Living Room.

 

1990 Living Room:

 

1990 Challenge: To add a large-screen TV into a compact living room arrangement while keeping the fireplace as a focal point, and without overpowering the room. Speakers would need to be integrated to provide TV sound and music without intruding into the room. This was also to be the location for the central music system to provide sound throughout major rooms of the home.

 

1990 Solution: A multi-level custom cabinet was designed to house a 35" CRT Television. A separate, coordinating cabinet was designed to house the A/V equipment to the left of the fireplace. To minimize the impact of the massive TV and enhance viewing, the cabinet was designed to position the TV at a 45-degree angle to the fireplace, facing the L-shaped sofa across the room. Mini-speakers were concealed behind vertical grill cloth sections to the left and right of the television. A subwoofer was located under an end table to provide full bass sound throughout the room. An AM/FM receiver, CD changer, auto-reverse cassette and turntable housed in the coordinating cabinet would provide sound sources for distribution throughout the house via an Elan music distribution amplifier. This amplifier was located in the cable TV/phone distribution closet in the garage. A front door intercom station was also integrated into the phone system via the Elan music distribution amplifier.

 

2007 Living Room Media Makeover:

 

2007 Entertainment Solution: Today's flat-panel technology allows a dramatic reduction in the bulk of having a big-screen picture in the Living Room. The display will be relocated to a niche in the low wall dividing the Living Room from the Dining Room. This makes for a much more flexible furniture arrangement that is less oriented around the TV. Two sofas now face each other for great conversation while entertaining instead of having the sofas facing the TV. The flat panel TV and the fireplace form dual focal points in the room design. Television and video programming will now be enjoyed on a 50" diagonal widescreen High-definition (HDTV) display equipped with an Oceanic Cable HDTV cable box/HDTV digital video recorder. Surround sound will be added using specially-engineered, great sounding flush-mounted speakers designed to allow ceiling installation. These high-performance speakers have flat, flush grills concealing angled speaker components that deliver sound staging which appears to emanate from the TV display and the surrounding walls. The audio/video equipment will be relocated to a closet added behind near the front door. This will provide more space for added equipment, yet remain unobtrusive.

 

2007 Lighting Control Solution: The addition of a central lighting control system, including a motorized shading system, will allow effortless and integrated control of all room lighting. Optimum settings for TV viewing, lighting for artwork, and general room lighting can be easily and repeatably accessed at the touch of a button. Significant is the integration of the window coverings into the lighting solution as controlling natural light is part of controlling and modulating light in the room.

 

2007 Air Conditioning Solution: Zoned air conditioning will be added for the Entertaining Areas, providing greater comfort. Relocating an air conditioning register will "clean-up" the appearance of the wall above a painting.

 

2007 Computer Network Solution: By adding an Ethernet/Phone/Cable TV/Fiberoptic wiring bundle, the high-speed computer network can interface with both sofa seating areas, as well as the A/V equipment components allowing A/V equipment utilizing the home Ethernet network or requiring web access to be connected at the highest speed connection.

 

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Kitchen

Virtual Tour This link will open a new window with panoramic Before and During views of the project home's Kitchen.

 

Virtual Tour This link will open a new window with panoramic Before and During views of the project home's Dining Room.

 

1990 Kitchen:

 

1990 Challenge: To add television viewing capability to the Kitchen and Dining Room areas.

 

1990 Solution: A 10-inch CRT-screen compact TV was installed on a double swivel mount that allowed easy viewing of TV while cooking in the Kitchen, or at the table in the Dining Room.

 

2007 Kitchen Media Makeover:

 

2007 Entertainment Solution: A new flat-panel display that takes less space while providing a larger picture will be installed. Internet browsing will be integrated into the entertainment display, allowing retrieval of recipes from the home file server or Food TV. Flush speakers will be added to allow listening to music in the Kitchen, while TV is being watched in the adjacent Living Room. An audio keypad will be installed to access to music source selection and control room volume.

 

2007 Lighting Control Solution: Central Lighting control will allow lighting moods to be set for cooking and entertaining with the simple push of a preset button. Motorized shading control will be integrated to allow natural light to be included in the various lighting scenes.

 

2007 Computer Network Solution: The Kitchen will receive the addition of an Ethernet/Phone/Cable TV/Fiberoptic wiring bundle to allow high-speed computer networking, as well as phone/intercom connections.

 

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Lanai

Virtual Tour This link will open a new window with a panoramic Before view of the project home's Lanai.

 

1990 Lanai:

 

1990 Challenge: To add music from the central music system to the outside entertaining area.

 

1990 Solution: White weather-resistant mini-box speakers were installed, housed under the Gazebo built-in seating.

 

2007 Lanai Media Makeover:

 

2007 Entertainment Solution: The music performance will be upgraded by adding keypad control of the music source selection and volume. This will allow independent music selection in this area.

 

2007 Computer Network Solution: Wireless Wifi high-speed computer networking will be added to allow working via a laptop while enjoying the soothing sound of music and the water feature.

 

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Home Office

2007 Home Office Media Makeover:

 

A Home Office was not part of the 1990 home, and will be a new feature for 2007. Two workstations with high-speed network connections will be added, including a networked printer and fax. This will allow any computer in the home to access centrally stored files and print to the color laser printer. Locating the home office next to the Dining Room allows kids to do homework on the Dining Table while parents are in the home office. Parental oversight of the web sites the kids are visiting is easy. Kids doing homework have easy access to print out documents via the networked home office printer. Doors to the Home Office can be easily closed to be out of sight when entertaining.

 

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Master Bedroom

Virtual Tour This link will open a new window with panoramic Before and During views of the project home's Master Bedroom.

 

1990 Master Bedroom:

 

1990 Challenge: To add distributed music from the central music system.

 

1990 Solution: Sonance flush-mounted speakers were added to this room. A volume control and infrared sensor were included to allow control of the central music system via a Denon system remote control.

 

2007 Master Bedroom Media Makeover:

 

2007 Entertainment Solution: A basic 42" flat-panel display will be installed, concealed by a painting that rolls up into the frame only when watching TV is desired. A modest surround-sound system with flush speakers allows retreating to the Master Suite for movies in bed! The new computer network (see below) will allow access to TV programs stored on the TIVO hard-drive video recorder in the Living Room. Entertainment options are completely out of sight, yet easily accessible when desired.

 

2007 Computer Network Solution: An Ethernet/Phone/Cable TV/Fiberoptic wiring bundle will be added to the Master Bedroom to allow high-speed computer networking, as well as phone/intercom connection.

 

2007 Lighting Control Solution: The new Central Lighting control will integrate motorized shading as part of the lighting scenes. A lighting button will allow ALL lights to be turned off before going to bed. Selected lights can be turned on before leaving the bed should a strange noise be heard in the middle of the night.

 

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Master Bath

Virtual Tour This link will open a new window with panoramic Before and During views of the project home's Master Bath.

 

1990 Master Bath:

 

1990 Challenge: To add music distribution from the central music system.

 

1990 Solution: Mini flush-mounted speakers were installed, along with a room volume control. The speakers were mounted in the wall above the mirror to provide the best stereo sound distribution in the room.

 

2007 Master Bath Media Makeover:

 

2007 Entertainment Solution: High-performance flush-mounted speakers will replace the 1990 speakers, and be moved to a ceiling position, allowing a new, full-height mirror. A new keypad control will be added in the Master Bath, allowing selection and control of music sources independently of the other rooms. A flat-panel TV with internet connection will make it easy to check the traffic or stock report, or to watch the morning news while getting ready in the morning.

 

2007 Lighting Control Solution: The new lighting control system will allow easy balancing of the lighting levels in the room, with one-touch pre-sets for everything from a romantic mood to getting ready in the morning.

 

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Garage

1990 Garage:

 

1990 Challenge: To add music distribution from the central music system.

 

1990 Solution: Mini box speakers were installed above a Garage storage cabinet, along with a room volume control located next to the garage light switch.

 

2007 Garage Media Makeover:

 

During this Makeover, the Garage will receive central lighting control and upgraded music performance that includes control of the central music system, allowing independent music selection in this room. The Garage will also be the location of the upgraded Communications Closet, incorporating the house-wide computer network, lighting control brain, phone/intercom system and home management system.

 

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Home Theater

Virtual Tour This link will open a new window with panoramic During views of the project home's new Home Theater.

 

2007 Home Theater Media Makeover:

 

This is a new room, added as part of the 2007 Media Makeover. The Home Theater will be a dedicated entertainment room for movie viewing, children's recitals, piano practice, virtual reality video gaming, and more. Special attention will be paid to sound isolation in this room so that one family member can watch a movie while another is sleeping in the next room.

 

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ROOM SHORTCUTS | Living Room | Kitchen | Lanai | Home Office | Master Bedroom | Master Bath | Garage | Home Theater |

Stay tuned for more updates!