Installations: Let Us Entertain You Page 5

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The outdoor audio came off without a hitch. We installed a pair of Sonance Mariner speakers inside the swimming pool's grotto along with a recessed volume control, making for a very cool experience in the private, swim-in seating area. To make sure that parties never lacked for sound, we ringed the pool with six Niles rock speakers and installed more speakers under the porches and cabana.

Because the Pates are frequently away, they wanted a surveillance system that could record for long stretches of time. We selected a DVR system with 1 terabyte of storage and a CD burner to archive any suspicious activity. The system features eight cameras that cover the property from front and back and can be viewed on any TV or touchpanel control in the home. Phil can also log into the recording system remotely over the Internet. For added protection, the cameras and DVR run off a Monster Cable uninterruptible power supply.

The one thing Phil balked at was installing an automated lighting system. But Rod, Sandy, and I were able to convince him to automate at least some switches, and we elected to go with Lutron's RadioRA system. This was perfect for Phil because it enabled him to try automated lighting on a small scale, with the option to add more zones later. Now that the system is in, the Pates love it and have already automated several more lighting zones.

"There's a learning curve to living in a home like this," Phil explains. "We have so many technologies that we've never lived with before, like the automated lighting. In the first 3 to 6 months, you don't know how you're going to live in the home and use it. But in a house our size, it could take 5 to 10 minutes to cut the lights on or off. To have a one-touch button in our bedroom, it's just so convenient. Also, our pool cabana is 100 feet from the back door, so I can cut those lights on or off for parties without having to walk outside."

Another feature the Pates enjoy is the lighting system's astronomic time clock. We programmed this to turn the outside lights on and off at preset times, ensuring that the house is well lit for guests but not burning electricity throughout the night. Of course, all of the lighting is accessible from the Elan Via touchpanel controllers as well.

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