To make a house into a home is easy, but how do you make a home a work of art? Well, that’s a little trickier – but two Sarasota, Florida homeowners have achieved exactly that with a little help from SmartHouse Integration’s Mark van den Broek.
Located in the Sunshine State of the United States of America, Sarasota is home to impressive beaches and great weather all year round. This particular home was already well-suited for converting into a work of art itself, thanks to a comprehensive wine collection and a keen eye for modern design – but it needed a little something else.
To enhance the home’s art, architecture, and interior design with modern technology, they put their 17,000sq-ft home in the hands of SmartHouse Integration’s Mark van den Broek to install a complete home management infrastructure that fuses new-wave design with modern smart home functionality.
At the centre of it all is an ELAN Entertainment and Control System that serves as the home’s central hub to guarantee complete control and remote accessibility.
“Beyond installing the usual smart home functions, such as temperature, lighting, audio/video and security control, I was called upon to utilise lighting to emphasise and highlight the homeowner’s displayed art collection,” Mark notes. “This project showcases how technology integration truly merges with interior design.”
To serve as the backbone of the entire smart home infrastructure, Mark installed an ELAN System Controller, accessible through eight ELAN 7in in-wall touch panels, four smaller ELAN touch panels, and three ELAN HR2 remotes, all of which are positioned strategically throughout the home.
“Selecting a reliable smart home control system was essential to a project of this magnitude,” Mark emphasises. “None of the critical design or functionality elements would be possible without a reliable controller.”
When developing a design-centric home management system, Mark made lighting his number one priority. To sufficiently marry functionality and design, he integrated Lutron Homeworks Lighting & Shades with the ELAN Entertainment and Control System, guaranteeing that the lighting could function automatically, or be controlled by the homeowners from anywhere in the world.
“I used lighting as a design element in the same capacity that I use it as a functional element,” he says. “Throughout the home, the lighting evolves and changes to best enhance the art it emphasizes. Each application, depending on the exhibit it highlights or the room it illuminates, is specifically catered to that space.”
To emphasise the homeowners’ art collection, lights were strategically placed underneath or above them to enhance each piece. While art-enhancing light found in traditional galleries is usually stark white, Mark strived to stay away from harsh hues and rely on light more conducive to a residential setting. To do so, he played with the light’s consistency and power, automating them to fade and ramp up at specific times throughout the day. By doing this, he achieved an art gallery-like atmosphere. “When the sun begins to set, the lights slowly ramp up, incrementally highlighting the art as the sunlight continues to fade,” he notes. “It’s a truly stunning effect.”
One of the home’s most distinctive art pieces, the Orb – a kinetic aircraft aluminium sculpture designed by Chuck Hoberman – utilises light as part of its playful interaction of electrical engineering and design. Positioned from the ceiling of the home’s grand salon (or living area), the Orb shifts and expands, giving the illusion that the fixture is alive and breathing. To complement the shifting nature of the piece, Mark installed RGD LED controllable lighting in a circular configuration around the piece. Through ELAN, the homeowners can initiate the Orb’s movement or change the colour and frequency of the lighting. “The effect is quite hypnotic,” one homeowner notes. “The lighting is spectacular and sets the mood of the room. With the touch of a button, I can change the lighting or the speed of the Orb’s movement from anywhere in the home.”
As avid wine connoisseurs, the homeowners asked for a functional and well-lit wine cellar that was both fully automated and discretely located. Thus, Mark installed a network of security, lighting and temperature control elements, all of which are accessible to the homeowners through the ELAN app. When the wine cellar is opened with a password, white light illuminates the wine bottles’ labels. Additionally, temperature control guarantees that the room remains 56-59 degrees Fahrenheit; if it strays outside of that range, the homeowners will receive an email notification. “The wine cellar’s interplay of light, security and temperature control truly represents the marriage of design and function,” Mark adds. “This micro smart system- set within the confines of a much larger system- improves the user experience by giving very close attention to detail.”
To tie the home’s functional lighting in with modern décor, Mark worked closely with interior designer Pamela Hughes of Hughes Design Associates to ensure that certain accent areas were sufficiently highlighted. According to Pamela, the interplay of lighting and design is crucial for the home’s interior décor. “Beautifully designed lighting highlights my work,” she emphasises. “You could be the best interior designer in the world, but if the lighting isn’t good, the project will fall flat. I worked closely with SmartHouse Integration to ensure that all overhead lighting served as a design element in its own right.”
In a home of this magnitude, a modern and sophisticated security system is a must. Utilising infrared technology, Mark installed a laser beam-based security system. “We made sure to equip the home with an extremely advanced security and camera system,” he comments.
The homeowners also love to entertain. That’s why Mark designed and installed a whole home, multi-room, indoor/outdoor audio system with the audio power to potentially ‘blow the doors off the place’. With 18ft ceilings in the grand salon, Mark chose to forgo in-ceiling speakers to avoid the risk of sounding faint. Instead, he relied on two Sunfire Atmos Subwoofers to get the job done and achieve the powerhouse system he was looking for. “Even without in-ceiling speakers, small and compact Sunfire Atmos subwoofers propel sound to create an impactful and entertaining audio experience,” he explains. “They may be small, but they pack a lot of punch.”
To protect the home’s extensive smart home infrastructure from power surges, Mark installed four Panamax M4315 Pros with BlueBOLT remote energy management, as well as two Panamax MB850 and two Panamax MB1500 Uninterruptible Power Supply units. “BlueBOLT allows me to manage the home’s power as well as service the home remotely,” he adds. “For example, if the cable box isn’t working, I can reboot it from anywhere in the world with the touch of a button. This product is optimal for maintaining network health.”
Overall, the homeowners are thrilled with every element of the home’s technological design. “I have used smart home control systems before, and ELAN is by far the easiest and most reliable,” one homeowner concludes. “Between ELAN’s reliability and Mark van den Broek’s superb design skills, my home embodies the ultimate ‘wow’ factor while still maintaining a high degree of user-friendly efficiency.”