The Best Integrated Home in the WORLD: technical case study

Based in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, Edge Cottage is anything but a cottage.  Spread over two floors and a delightful mix of old and new, featuring stunning Zinc and Oak cladding details as well as corner to corner Sky-Frame opening system – this is truly a family home to behold. 

Designed inside and out by Llama Group and Janey Butler Interiors it is presented beautifully; with the real secret being what lies beneath.  This isn’t just the Best Integrated Home in EMEA, this is the Best Integrated Home… in the World.  The property bristles with technology that you don’t necessarily see, but makes the owner’s life both more fun, and more convenient.  Control through Ultamation’s award winning graphical user interface, and driven by Ultamation’s sophisticated programming framework – the result of many years of effort and experience – and installed with care and attention to every detail by Intuitive Homes.

The lighting has a morning scene, which starts to wake up the house 20 minutes before the alarm goes off, by gradually fading the lights up and raising the blinds.  In the evening it responds to the time of sunset, runs a check on any lights that are on and adjusts them within the house by subtly adjusting them to a more comfortable evening level.  Bedtime buttons turn off lights in the rest of the house leaving just the bedrooms/ensuites, which are also triggered by the alarm being part set.  As you would expect there are other aspects of the house which automatically trigger events e.g. no activity in the cloakroom for 30 minutes will turn the lights off.  The sleep timer, available wherever there is TV or audio,  fades the lights and volume over the last 10 minutes and eventually turns them off so you can drift off, safe in the knowledge that you won’t wake up to an early morning shopping channel deal.

Entertaining is where the discrete technology really gets an opportunity to flex its muscle.   We devised a new room linking feature where the user can toggle rooms in and out of the group, and also make individual volume control adjustments meaning it’s easy to adjust when the two sides of the building are opened up.  The client was very impressed at how we were able to implement his exact requirements into an easy to use addition to the User Interface which, of course, now means that every future client also benefits from this easy-to-use, whole-house dashboard control.  As they entertain frequently we implemented our ‘follow me’ feature on the Crestron TSW touchpanels so that they can start their evening in the kitchen dining area and then move to the entertainment building and have their music or background video follow them. We accomplished this by utilizing Crestron’s Bluetooth PinPoint beacons and the Bluetooth integration on the iPhones’ Crestron App.

As we find is often the case in projects of this type, in the formal lounge the client wanted the ability to watch TV if desired but also didn’t want it to spoil the delicate Janey Butler aestehtics so we installed a lift-and-swivel Future Automation mechanism that raises the TV out of a built in bookcase and rotates it to the pre-defined viewing angle – all just by turning the television on.  Of course, the TV can turn to the ideal angle to suit where you’re sitting.

The client was delighted with the results “Our home has undergone extensive remodelling and with addition of the new wing, which brings contemporary design into juxtaposition with the original architecture so we needed to bring the technology into the modern era too. We’re not technophiles, so it was important that the final product should enhance our lifestyles, rather than get in the way, and the guys have given us just that. We can watch any type of TV in any room, pause in one place and resume in another, and having the house and gardens filled with music when we, or the children, are entertaining which creates a perfect party atmosphere. I’m sure there’s a lot going on behind the scenes but, for us, there’s nothing complicated either – the wall panels give us immediate access to everything from security to heating to lighting to entertainment and the system adapts to outside events – so when someone comes to the gate, the panel is already showing the camera and all of the intercom and gate controls. We were surprised by how the handheld remotes give us so much control across the system and that the remote adapts to whatever we’re doing – watching TV one minute, adjusting the lights the next, and checking the cameras another. The whole process has been effortless with the guys making sound recommendations, and even when things have gone wrong, which I know they always do in complex project like this, it’s the way that they deal with the problem that’s really impressed us. They even have a box that tells them when there might be an issue before we find out! That’s great service.”

All photography provided courtesy of LLama Group and Janey Butler Interiors.