Palisades Paradise-Design over Technology

Homeowners love what technology provides but many prefer to keep its presence at a minimum. Such was the case in this beautiful Southern California home in the upscale Pacific Palisades area. "This project had a good sized budget of $100k to provide whole-house distribution of audio, video, phone and data," said Mark Schafer, President of Custom L.A. "Still we all encountered a few challenges such as the family room, where the client wanted a completely invisible Home Theater in a wide open space".

The client's request for a Home Theater that would be out of sight when not in use required a special lift and cabinet in the family room. Custom L.A. worked closely with the cabinetmaker, Design Support, Inc,, to create a contemporary piece of furniture that could house a large Samsung 63" flat panel TV, Artison Portrait LCR speakers, a Sunfire Super Junior 8" powered subwoofer, Marantz 5-disc CD changer and a Samsung Blu-ray player. The additional surround speakers were installed in the ceiling. The result is decidedly retro, harkening back to the days of console TVs where all the componentry was in a single decorative cabinet.

The master bedroom was also set up with a cabinet at the foot of the bed, designed to conceal a 40" LCD TV on a lift. A Marantz SR8002 with two zones and HD switching feed both the master bedroom and the main theater in the family room. The Marantz receiver along with an Apple TV, a dedicated DirecTV H21 Receiver (for XM Music), and a Parasound ZTuner for AM/ FM were placed in the main equipment rack located in the garage. The rest of the rooms in the house have dedicated DirecTV Receivers and distributed audio via a Sonance C4630 Audio System. The 4 sources include, an Apple TV, a 5 disc CD Player, XM radio, and AM/FM. The guest room has its own small system that includes an LG 32" TV/DVD combo and a DirecTV Receiver, which is connected to it's own auto switching amp.

Control of all the equipment is managed by an RTI control system. The family room was outfitted with a T4 Touchpanel that has a 6.4" screen and was programmed to operate both local and whole-house systems. Individual T2C handhelds (for local control) were placed in the master bedroom, the offices (his and hers), the sitting room, and the gym. Two RK3 in-wall Touchpanels (with 3.5" screens) were installed in the bar and kitchen. All the remotes are attached to a single RTI XP8 processor installed in the main rack along with the Sonance 6-zone whole-house audio system and a Vantage lighting system.

While technically a remodel, 70% of the house was reconstructed under the supervision of Bill Morris, the contractor, and designed by Steven Reiman Designs. The whole project took close to a year and a half to complete. From the beginning, it was a conscious design decision to have a fully integrated whole house AV system with a dedicated home theater space that was unobtrusive, yet complimentary to the total interior design scheme. So, in spite of all the electronics and capabilities of the electronics systems throughout the house, very little of it is actually visible at first glance.

"We were extremely lucky to work with people that had a great sense of design and shared our attention to detail," concluded Schafer. "Our systems are always designed with ease of use as a top priority and we're only satisfied when the customer loves it. The ability to install a system like this is a privilege "