Blending Technology with Design
When a new 6,000-square-foot home was constructed in Texas’ historical Fort Worth community, the homeowners opted for a traditional exterior design that would blend in with the surrounding homes built in the 20s and 30s. Inside the brick walls, the house’s interior takes its inspiration from Steven Gambrel’s book “Time and Place.” Featuring reclaimed wood and beams from Texas and North Carolina, the two-story residence offers a rustic Italian aesthetic, complete with a basement wine cellar that holds over 1,000 bottles.
But while this design evokes the feeling of another time and place, the home is occupied by a modern family with high-tech needs. Dallas-based integrator Digital Habitats was charged with bringing the two worlds together.
For the design aspect of the home, Digital Habitats teamed up with lighting designer Acoustic Designs Group (ADG) and interior designer Meredith McBrearty. For the home’s technology, the company required a partner that could deliver the infrastructure, data network, lighting control, and AV systems needed to turn this traditional masterpiece into a deceptively smart home. The company selected Legrand | AV Residential Solutions and its Luxul, Middle Atlantic Products, Nuvo, On-Q, and Vantage Controls brands.
“We work with a lot of builders, and were first introduced to Legrand | AV by way of its structured wiring components,” said Gabe Rivera, partner at Digital Habitats. “Over time we started incorporating their other product lines as well, from Luxul networking solutions to Nuvo audio, Vantage lighting control, and Middle Atlantic racks. It’s incredibly convenient and time-saving to work with one company that touches so many aspects of a project such as this, from start to finish.”
To provide the family with concert-quality audio throughout the home, Digital Habitats installed a 24-zone streaming audio system —22 stereo zones and two surround sound zones — powered by Nuvo’s D2120 and D460 digital amplifiers and P300 Player wireless preamplifiers. As visible speakers and subwoofers would detract from the space’s rustic feel, in-wall products were used in the main rooms to keep the audio technology out of sight. The home features Urban Electric and Apparatus light fixtures, with lighting control delivered by Vantage’s InFusion Controller II, in combination with Standard and Universal Dimming modules.
The Nuvo and Vantage solutions integrate seamlessly with the home’s Control4 automation system, providing the family with control over both — in addition to HVAC, security systems, and more — from handheld remotes, wireless touchscreens, and the Control4 app on mobile devices. In addition, the homeowners wanted keypad control over their lighting, but didn’t like the idea of on-wall touchpanels, which would clash with the warm feel of the space.
Instead, Digital Habitats and ADG utilized Vantage’s EasyTouch II engraved keypads in 1-, 3-, 4-, and 5-button configurations. Blending in seamlessly with the home, the Ivory and Arctic White faceplates match the Ballet White Benjamin Moore paint used on most of the home’s walls. For the kids’ rooms, custom colors were selected for the EasyTouch II Decorator faceplates with TrimLine II designer trims.
“While the homeowners didn’t want technology in the forefront of their home, they didn’t want the walls cluttered with unsightly light switches either,” said Kevin Flower, Principal of Acoustic Designs Group. “Vantage’s EasyTouch II keypads offered the perfect solution. They lend an elegant design, while their customizable trims, buttons, and faceplates allow them to blend seamlessly into the background and provide convenient control access at the same time.”
The backbone of the family’s smart home is the network, which is powering every aspect of the space. With reliability and high performance being critical to enjoying their technology, Digital Habitats chose network components from Luxul.
At the heart of the system is the Epic 5 dual-WAN Gigabit router. As well as delivering gigabit WAN-to-LAN speeds for ultra-fast streaming and bandwidth-intensive applications, it features integrated Domotz technology for remote management and Router Limits content management. In addition, Luxul’s AMS-4424P AV series 26-port/24 POE+ Gigabit managed switch provides superior network performance and seamless scalability of up to 16 switches (384 ports).
To provide the family with an exceptional WiFi experience, Digital Habitats utilized Luxul XAP-1510 wireless access points (AP) inside the home, and the XAP-1440 for outdoor areas. The wireless APs were simple and fast to set-up using Luxul’s XWC-1000 wireless controller, which features Roam Assist™ technology for seamless WiFi roaming. Luxul’s PDU-2 and PDU-16 intelligent network power distribution units (PDU) allow Digital Habitats to easily monitor and manage connected devices.
Middle Atlantic and On-Q infrastructure products provide a solid foundation for the home’s technology. Components are housed in two 43RU Middle Atlantic Slim 5 series rack frame systems, each of which is equipped with a Select Series PDU featuring RackLink™ to ensure system reliability and uptime.
On-Q’s ENP3050 30-inch plastic enclosures are also being utilized, which feature a robust, wireless transparent ABS material to integrate wireless devices without interference.
“On view and behind the scenes, the Legrand | AV brands came together on this project to deliver a reliable smart home that our clients absolutely love,” added Rivera. “They are extremely satisfied with the investment they’ve made in their home’s technology, the positive impact it’s made in their lives, and how simple it is for them to control every aspect of their environment, whether they are home or away. And all of this was done while maintaining the cozy aesthetics of the space.”
Project Name: Rustic Italian Home
Project Location: Fort Worth, TX
Start Date: March 2017
Completion Date: May 2018
About the Dealer:
Gabe Rivera, Partner
Design Partners: Acoustic Designs Group (ADG) and interior designer Meredith McBrearty
Legrand | AV Residential Solutions Used
Middle Atlantic Products