This luxury home in Jackson Hole combines custom architecture with hidden home control systems that pleases both the homeowners and vacation renters.
Designing a home automation system that homeowners love typically comes down to one thing: usability. If the system is easy to use, delivers all of the functions the owners desire, plus makes the daily home life easier — it’s a dream come true. Simplicity becomes an even bigger factor, however, when the home serves as a guest rental for much of the year.
According to Andrew Spalla, Director of Engineering for certified ELAN® Home Systems dealer C&T Systems (a division of C&T Electric Corp. in Vernon, Conn.), every step in the project was carefully considered and the design was fully orchestrated before installation began, ensuring a smooth process and a perfect result.
“We agreed that for the home to be comfortable for the owners while also being simple and luxurious for guests, it needed to provide controls that are intuitive and can be operated by anybody with zero training,” he explains. “It was important to minimize the visual impact of the control system keypads while keeping the operation simple for lighting, music, and AV.”
All of the lighting controls throughout the house are intuitive – from LED light strips and recessed lights with pre-set “high” and “low” dimming levels to motorized window shades that can be raised or lowered through the ELAN g! mobile app or an ELAN HR2 remote. Each room is equipped with a lighting keypad that has buttons for “high,” “low,” and “off” plus up and down arrows for dimming that allow guests to set their perfect lighting level. The system is intelligently designed to fit each space in the home, so that the “high” level is brighter in the kitchen than the “high” level in the master bedroom. Similarly, certain lighting fixtures have been programmed to automatically adjust for brightness at night versus the daytime. In addition, there are select scenario buttons that set scenes throughout the house for applications such as entertaining.
The Taylor family, who own the home, have special settings for themselves that use the intelligently hidden LED light strips to accentuate the grain of the redwood walls, stone fireplaces, and the texture of the semi-transparent Lutron window shades that block sunlight yet allow the views of the mountains to show through. The shades are an important component, giving the Taylors and their guests control over sun glare while enjoying TV or a movie. A simple tap on an ELAN keypad, HR2 remote, or the g! app on an iPad or iPhone lowers the shades and then turns on the home theater or living room entertainment area.
“When designing this home and its electronics systems, aesthetics always came first,” Spalla remarks. “We used Sunfire speakers in the home theater to provide true theater quality sound, and we replaced the spa system’s ugly controller with an attractive keypad that matches the home’s décor and design. By combining all the home’s functions into the g! system, we eliminated a lot of standard wall clutter like light switches, thermostats, and a spa control dial,” he comments. “Now it’s all controlled from a single lighting keypad in each room, or from an iPad or iPhone. We also kept the system as hidden as we could, using Niles and SpeakerCraft speakers that mount flush into the ceiling and can be painted. Unless someone points them out to you, you’d never even know they were there.”
The Lutron lighting keypads can be specially programmed, such as the one located near the doorway to the outdoor seating area; it features a special “Spa” button that tells the ELAN g! system to turn on the patio lights and hot tub jets, while automatically turning on the outdoor audio system and playing selections from the owner’s playlist or streaming from sources such as Pandora. Spalla and the Taylors chose Niles speakers for the outdoor area because they are weather-resistant and provide superior sound quality. Other rooms use multi-function buttons as well, such as the bedrooms where a “Suite Off” button switches off any lights, TV, and music that are currently on in the room.
The keypads are easy to use for each room, but managing the entire home’s bevy of electronic systems requires a true touchscreen experience, which Spalla delivered with a 10-inch in-wall ELAN TS10 touch panel in the kitchen. Through the TS10, the Taylors and their guests, can manage, monitor, and control everything in the home — from the audio, video, security systems, and surveillance cameras to the snow and ice melting system. All of this control is also available on the ELAN g! mobile app, which the owners and guests use on their iPads or iPhones to adjust heating, lighting, windows shades, and AV without getting off the couch, or even while they are away from the house.
Setting up for a movie night is simple. Just use the ELAN HR2 remote or an iPad to turn on the home theater or living room media system, choose a favorite program or movie, turn down the lights, turn up the volume, and set the heat to the ideal level. Several of the home’s TVs are recessed into the wall, creating another super-custom touch that makes the architecture and design the main attraction.