Bespoke technology defines luxury family retreat in Northwood, London
Nestled in the small residential area of Northwood in London sits a purpose-built smart home with technology shaped around every aspect of family life. HiddenWires takes a look inside to explore the £400,000 AV installation.
The home of Kajal Patel is unquestionably stunning – modern, airy, with no expense spared when it comes to interior design but most importantly, technology. With 12 years’ experience in the residential industry, London-based installer Pro Install AV were well placed to deliver on the client’s expectation for a discreet AV installation that could cater to the needs of every family member across the large property.
“We needed to install a system that would support everything, from Mum catching up on her boxsets whilst Dad watches the big game, to their daughter being able to practice dance moves to a Spotify playlist as their son plays the latest Call of Duty release,” explains Sajid Qureshi, director at Pro Install AV. The integrator secured the project after it was put out to tender by the property developer as part of a larger development. “We submitted a tender and were successful in winning the project on the basis of an approach to meeting the brief which proved be both time and cost efficient whilst guaranteeing exceptional value for the end client,” adds Qureshi. After several months of careful planning and designing the project, the work on the on-site installation began – taking 4 months from start to finish, completed both on time and on budget.
The ultimate home cinema
“The one major challenge we faced with this project was to come up with dual-purpose media room,” says Qureshi. The client request that one of the rooms in the home be transformed into a bar-cum-lounge area where the client and guests could socialise, but also incorporate a plethora of audio and visual entertainment options. In the space, it was vital the AV installation could support both a multiplex-quality cinema experience whether having guests over for a movie night or the homeowner was just wanted to watch the latest sports in peace.
“We were tasked with installing features that could allow the homeowner to transform this room into a complete home cinema when required.” To deliver this the Pro AV team opted for a 3-metre automated Projecta screen which descends effortlessly from a bookcase-style room feature incorporating built-in Sonance subwoofers and in-wall speakers. This meant the speakers and other hardware could remain concealed when the room only needed to be in a bar/lounge set-up. The cinema system is completed with a JVC DLA-X9000 projector which descends with the screen via an automated lift, all of which is managed via Crestron.
The cinema was connected to a multitude of sources (including streaming services, an in-house media server, consoles, and Sky HD), meaning every member of the family can enjoy the movies, shows, and entertainment they like.
The bespoke touch was not just reserved for communal spaces in the home, with other challenges including the creation of a floor-to-ceiling mirror covering the television in the master bedroom. To deliver this feat, the Pro AV team worked with the team at Future Automation to create a unique solution.
Delivering a 19-room audio solution
Whilst the cinema room was to be at the heart of the property’s entertainment offerings, the family also wanted the freedom to enjoy quality audio performance wherever they be in the home. Sticking with Sonance – in part, for its easy integration into a variety of walls and ceilings – Pro Install AV opted to deploy Visual Performance Series VP66R speakers around the home. “We chose the VP66R’s for their highly flexible positioning, sleek design, and performance,” notes Qureshi. A total of 60 (30 pairs) of speakers are connected to accompanying AV systems in the home to deliver crisp and clear sound in the 19 rooms where the family spend most of their time, such as the lounge, pool area, and bedrooms.
"A significant part of the brief from the client was to ensure there was always a way to get the party started outside of the home, no matter what the occasion may be."
Quality indoor performance was not the only priority for a project of such as scale, and Pro AV worked hard to design a system that would accommodate the family’s outdoor-centric lifestyle in the summer months and suit both relaxation and entertaining across three large garden zones. “A significant part of the brief from the client was to ensure there was always a way to get the party started outside of the home, no matter what the occasion may be. To this end, we opted for an outdoor audio installation built once again around a Sonance,” says Qureshi. A powerful Sonance Sonarray subwoofer was placed below ground and connected to eight Sonarray SR1 speakers, each one discreetly hidden behind various garden features to ensure optimal sound quality without sacrificing the landscape design of the outdoor zones.
Whilst high performance outdoor and indoor audio and a flexible home cinema space were high on the agenda at the start of the project, Qureshi also notes that the project evolved over time based on Pro AV’s recommendations. “Though a fibre backbone wasn't included in the original brief, we discussed with our client the benefits of future-proofing broadband speeds to ensure reliable, high-performance access and lightning-fast download speeds,” explains the integrator.” Although unaware at first that both internet and audio could be delivered at high-quality in such a large outdoor space, following a demo, the client was fully onboard to expand the project brief. “Having this proved attractive to the homeowner and was added into the project, along with the extension of both broadband and HD audio into the garden zones.”
A Ruckus 802.11ac system was deployed to offer high-performance broadband across the property, comprised of ChannelFly channel management, a Zone Director 1200 controller, 7 R500 Access Points and 2 Outdoor Access Point T300s. To enhance performance further, TV points were installed throughout the property, along with a special data cab implemented in the garden connected to a Cleerline SSF fibre network which, when combined with the Ruckus Wireless solution, ensured that the smart home system is truly equipped to meet the demands of today's modern family.
"The work carried out goes far above and beyond my initial expectations and I couldn't be more delighted,” commented the client, Kajal Patel, following the project’s completion. "The finished installation shows that Sajid and his team really took the time to listen not just to the technical features I wanted, but to how I planned to use the property post-installation, and designed a system that really focused making the experience of both relaxing and entertaining as enjoyable and effortless as possible." He concludes: “The automated features remain a highlight for me, and there are few things I enjoy more than inviting guests over and surprising them by turning my bar area into a fully-functioning home cinema.”
BPT door entry system
Crestron wireless gateway, TSW-750 touchpanel, MTX-3 handheld remotes, AV3 3-Series processor & Crestron CP3 3-Series processors and Crestron SWAMP 8 x 8 & 24 x 8 multiroom audio system
JVC DLA-X55 projector
Lutron blind and curtain control
Projecta 131-in tab-tensioned in-ceiling screen
Ruckus WiFi networking
Samsung 75-in LED TV
Sire for Sonos integration bridge
Smart-e 16 x 16 HDBaseT matrix
Sonance Cinema series LCR2 & SUR-15 in-wall speakers and SUB10 bundle (1 x amplifier, 2 x SUB10 in-wall back boxes & 2 x SUB10 10-in) subwoofers
Oppo BDP-103EU Blu-ray player
Yamaha Aventage RX-2030 AV receiver