The Gary Sinise Foundation and ELAN Team Up on One-of-a-Kind Home for US Veteran
The Gary Sinise Foundation, founded by the well regarded Hollywood actor, was created to honour American veterans, first responders, their families and those in need.
Through the foundation’s R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) programme, one-of-a-kind smart homes adapted for severely wounded veterans are built and customised to make meeting the everyday needs of the homeowner, their family and their caregivers easier. It was through this programme that United States Marine Corps veteran Jason Ross, an EOD specialist who lost both of his legs and part of his pelvic bone when he stepped on an improvised explosive device during his second tour of duty in Afghanistan in March 2011, was honoured with a Fallbrook, California, home designed with his mobility and usability in mind.
“The goal was to give Jason accessibility to his entire house, making sure that there was plenty of room for him to move about in his Paramobile while allowing his service dogs to always travel by his side,” noted Judith Otter, Executive Director of the Gary Sinise Foundation.
The home, which Ross shares with his two daughters, was designed and built by MLA General Contractors with integration provided by eHome Lifestyle. Filled with a variety of distinct modifications to make Ross’s life as easy as possible, the team equipped the home with an ELAN entertainment and control system so Ross can operate the motorised shades, thermostat, security system, mulitroom audio, lighting and entertainment system through two ELAN gTP7 in-wall touch panels, an ELAN gHR200 remote, plus an app on his iPhone or iPad. Smooth flooring was also installed to allow Ross’s Paramobile to glide easily while eliminating steps and split levels throughout the entire home.
“Our goal was to make it as easy as possible for Jason to operate his entire house from one location,” System Designer at eHome Lifestyle Matt Kindle said. “It was important for us to provide Jason with this whole-home control through ELAN, so he doesn’t have to strap into his Paramobile to complete minuscule tasks like turning off lights, locking the door or changing the thermostat.”
The home comes outfitted with a 55-inch Sony LED TV in the master bedroom, keeping Ross entertained with a connected AppleTV, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, all controlled by ELAN and accessible through the ELAN interfaces. Q Motion motorised window shades were also incorporated into the bedroom to allow Ross to open and close the blinds with the touch of a button. “To make it even easier, we specially programmed a ‘goodnight’ button on Ross’ ELAN system,” Kindle added. “When this button is pushed, all of the lights and electronics turn off; the main doors lock; and the bedroom shades are lowered.”
ELAN recently released its 7.2 software upgrade, allowing Kindle and his team to install the new ELAN Intercom, further fulfilling Ross’ needs. This feature connects the home’s Holovision door station through the ELAN system, making it possible for Ross to ‘answer’ the door from the comfort of any room in the house. When the doorbell rings, Ross can see and speak with the guest, using the ELAN app on his iPad. If necessary, he can then unlock the Kwikset motorised door lock from the same application, allowing the guest into his home.
What’s more, ELAN Intercom also allows Ross to speak to his daughters or other visitors from room to room within the home. If Ross needs to contact someone across the house, he can see and speak to them through ELAN touch panels or the iPad app prior to moving from his location.
In the family room, Ross can enjoy the cinema experience with his family on a 65-inch Sony LED TV connected to a 5.1Sunfire Cinema Ribbon on-wall speaker system. For extra bass, a Sunfire 10-inch HRS subwoofer supplements any video being watched on AppleTV, DirectTV or BlueRay.
“We installed six zones of audio into the 3,000-square-foot home through a Niles Auriel multiroom audio controller,” Kindle said. “Installing MRA systems into R.I.S.E. homes is one of my favorite parts about these projects. The smiles and enthusiasm I receive from the veterans after explaining that they can listen to their favorite music anywhere in their homes is just as exciting for me as it is for them.”
This one-of-a-kind home caters specifically to Ross’s unique needs, creating an even greater sense of independence and a positive environment where he can raise his two daughters. “The subcontractors on this project did a fantastic job, going above and beyond to make this a special place for Jason and his family,” Otter concluded. “Smaller modifications were incorporated into the home, including closet access and a pull down cabinet system in the kitchen. Jason also required a trapeze system in his bedroom and bathroom to allow him to sit up in bed on his own and transfer from his bed to wheelchair and into the shower. These extraordinary modifications allow Jason to regain his independence.”