Installations: Let Us Entertain You Page 2
"With a project of this size, many areas of the home develop and evolve as the house is being built," says Tom Ramirez, one of our installers. "With Phil's home, we had to think ahead about how each room was going to be used and then pre-wire each space with enough flexibility to allow us to accommodate any scenario he might want. Steady communication with Phil and the builder really helped here."
The importance of having a close working relationship with the builder can't be overstated on any project, but it's especially important on large-scale jobs like this one. With so much going on at any time, being able to reach out to Rod and Sandy was crucial to the project's success, since they helped to coordinate all aspects of the job. For instance, Phil wanted speakers in a specific location in his living room that required HVAC vents to be relocated, lighting centered, and the concrete walls chiseled out to accommodate the depth of the in-wall speakers. The pre-wire, which we began in December 2005, took nearly 150 man-hours. By the time we finished, we'd run nearly 4 miles of cabling!
One aspect of the job that worried me until the end was the outdoor audio. Phil was planning a large swimming pool with a swim-in grotto and a waterfall, as well as a detached cabana. But we didn't have any site plans for the pool, so we had to prepare for any number of possibilities. Says Phil: "We've done some outdoor entertainment areas like this in developments I've been involved with, so I wanted to replicate the experience on a smaller scale. All of the rocks and stones are from mountains in Tennessee, not Styrofoam replicas." Again, coordinating everything with Rod made this possible, since he worked with the pool contractor to get conduit in place for our wiring and kept us in the loop as to when the concrete was being poured.
The trim-out began in August 2006. This is always exciting because it's when the house starts to take shape. By now, the large staircase was in, the painting was mostly done, the cabinetry was being installed, the trim carpenters were at work, and the pool was being formed. During this phase, we installed our in-wall and ceiling speakers - more than 25 pairs! We also installed wall plates in each room for the TV/video/phone/data drops and prepped the wiring for the in-wall touchpanel controls.
Installer Marc Aiello handled much of the trim-out at the home run. "One of my biggest challenges was just dealing with all of the wiring," says Marc. "Between the two 36-inch structured wiring panels and the audio/video home runs, the amount of wire was daunting. Just separating, shortening, and re-labeling the cables was a huge job, and it took several days to get everything prepped and punched in for the install. With a big project like this, sometimes it's hard to keep everything straight in your head. You need to just take it one wire at a time. When it's finished, it's something you're proud to have been a part of."