We’ve all heard the stories about home automation and the ability to control your entire home from anywhere … right? However, when it comes to implementing in your new home, the awe and excitement are often overtaken by an overwhelming fear of how complex it may be. This modern new Victorian home for a self professed ‘non-tech savvy’ family showcases the outstanding simplicity of a truly automated, 21st century home.
For the post-retirement home-owners contemporary new home in Victoria, the design brief for the home automation experts employed in this project, Recluse AV, was SIMPLE – ‘keep it simple’. Having said that, says home automation expert Michael Staindl, ‘Their dream home was an exceptionally large home on a massive block, with many individual systems to control’… so not quite that simple it seems.
“Like the modern car, the simpler one wants it to be to the user, the more complexity there is required behind the scenes. Recluse AV set out to provide the many layers of functionality required by the clients in a residence of this substance, in a way that was simple and un-intimidating to the clients, ” said Michael. “We approached the task with a structured plan so that the system was very stable and reliable, and also easy to maintain or change when that’s required.”
The automation and electrical system of a home is integral to the home’s future technological adaptation and the owners changing needs, and yet is usually given minor attention at the design stage of a home.Interior designers, lighting designers and landscape architects are often called in to add the finishing touches to the home, but the aim of future-proofing a home with electrical and technological automation is something which needs attention and thought during the initial plan and design.
The striking five bedroom, five bathroom home also comprises a very spacious living / dining and kitchen area, along with a particularly well equipped alfresco are, a downstairs open theatre and rumpus room and a wine cellar and bar.
Both upstairs and downstairs flow seamlessly into the adjoining outside balcony and entertaining areas. Add a left servicing three levels, two double garages, various utility and storage rooms, a huge tank and plant room, and suspended pool to complete this ‘simple’ home!
There were two big challenges for Recluse AV with the completion of this job. “The first was the sheer size and intricacy of the systems required by the client. The second was the number of changes made along the way so that we had to remain versatile and flexible to continually adjust the design as the project progressed,” says Michael.
The setup of this contemporary home included:
- full intelligent lighting control throughout the home
- Control of security lighting with motion sensors
- Motorised control of air-conditioning, fireplace, blinds and ventilation louvres
- Clipsal’s smart DLT (Dynamic Labeling Technology) switches which indicate what is being controlled.
- Access control levels, providing tradespeople such as gardeners, cleaners and pool keepers with access only to specific areas of the property
- Six audio zones provide whole house entertainment
- Two home theatres allow separate entertainment for guests and owners
- Control of garden lighting and irrigation and also glass walls surrounding the pool
- The walk-in fridge is also temperature monitored
To integrate all the functionality required in this project, Recluse AV utilised the Crestron control system as the overarching user interface.
“This project was special for the number, complexity and variety of controlled systems, and the gratitude that we have had from the clients at completion of the project”, says Michael. “When a lady of a completely non-technological generation, who initially came to us terrified of facing what home automation might mean in her otherwise new ‘dream home’ thanked us for the simplicity and easy of use we have provided her in her new home, we know it’s a job well done.
The success of this project is that despite the complexity behind the scenes being enormous, with one of the most sophisticated control systems you’d find in a building, the client sees none of this. Instead they have a fully automated home that is simple and easy to use.