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Kensington Home Technology: A remote control accessible from anywhere in the world

An exceptional smart system in a traditional London residence, delivered by Kensington Home Technology, met the high technical demands of the client, within a limited space, whilst retaining discreet integration in a classic property.

The comprehensive brief for this high-tech installation included full automation of all AV, lighting, HVAC, security, and environmental features of the home. The client wanted one-touch control from touchscreens in the various rooms as well as remote access through his iPhone and iPad. For complete peace of mind, he also requested an alert system to notify him of any potential problems.

London Mews Houses were originally built in the 19th century as stabling and staff quarters for the grand town houses. However, as they are located in some of the most desirable areas of London they are highly sought after. As they tend to be fairly small, one of the challenges of the project was that space was extremely limited, although one of the appealing features of a Mews House is that they generally have a garage.

Taking into consideration the amount of equipment needing to be integrated into one controller, the Kensington-based installer opted for a Crestron system. All the equipment had to be installed in the garage: comprising 4×2 Crestron CAEN enclosures. The extensive list of equipment, incorporated into the one system, includes: all home entertainment devices, lighting, electric awning, cellar door, patio heaters, towel rail, security shutters, curtains and blinds, smart glass, picture lift, CCTV, heated mirrors, steam pump and garage.

The AV element is housed on two racks, sited on a plinth, to maximise the available footprint and still leave room for the car. A side panel to the left of the racks houses the LCD screen which interrogates the DVR, along with an iPod dock. A Crestron Digital Matrix switch provides HD lossless multi-room signal distribution.

The automated system is accessed through a range of Crestron devices situated around the house including: handheld Wi-Fi touchscreens, with a 2.8” video touchscreen; 5.7” wireless and wall-mounted colour touchscreens; and a LCD handheld remote with a fully programmable text display. The user interface is programmed to meet the client’s specific needs and is intuitive and easy to use.

As space is also an issue within the rooms, all the TVs have cubby holes built below the TV recesses to house the cables and Crestron hardware. In the master bedroom, the TV doubles as a dressing mirror, through the use of an ad notam LCD screen. It can also be used to display the home iMac as a Mac keyboard has been installed with a USB dongle extended over Cat5. Similarly, careful thought has gone into the drawing room which has two functions; formal entertaining and as a home cinema. The client wanted a high-spec media system but for the technology to be ‘invisible’. The projector casing was recessed and 6 of the 7 speakers are ‘invisible’ speakers. The 7th speaker, which combines a speaker with a piece of art, has been made into a feature on the chimney breast; with the artwork commissioned by the client’s wife. On the rear wall, a picture lift has then been used to reveal the projector.

To create a real ‘show’ factor, a Harry potter type wand, linked to the Crestron system, controls the set-up for the home entertainment. A swoosh to the right and the curtains close, the fire turns off, the screen drops, the picture lift drops, projector turns on, smart glass goes opaque to the terrace above, lights dim and then the film starts. A swoosh to the left and the whole process reverses.

The automated system is set up to send alerts to the owner if any problems should arise, in particular for the sump pump and the security alarm. The lighting system consists of over 80 circuits. The Crestron controller has been programmed to allow the owner to pick different colours and choose colour changing speed to get the most out of the cutting edge lighting system, created by designer Lucy Martin. The resulting installation from Kensington gives the owner complete control over his home while he is at home or away, while the wand controller injects a piece of magic into a flawless system.


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