It’s a party piece!

At the end of last summer, a UK-based integrator was called upon to create a unique space for a fun-loving couple in Kent who wanted a multifunctional entertainment space. Amy Wallington takes a look at how it went.

If the last couple of years has taught us anything, it’s to make the most of what we have got and enjoy time spent with family and friends. That’s why a new trend has emerged which is seeing people spending more time at home and investing more money in entertainment spaces.

According to the ‘State of the Smart Home’ EMEA survey conducted by HiddenWires at the end of last year and the more recent ‘UK Integrated Home Market Analysis’ study from CEDIA, the residential technology and home automation market is experiencing widespread growth which is partly being driven by home entertainment.

A couple in Kent is one of many who has followed this trend, commissioning integrator, DPP Smart Homes, with the challenge of transforming two unused rooms in their new house into one big, multifunctional entertainment space that could be used for various occasions with family and friends.

As self-confessed ‘non-techies’, the party-loving homeowners knew that they wanted a space which would “pack some serious party punch whilst maintaining high cinematic performance”. However, the couple didn’t know what technology was available to achieve the room they had envisioned.

Dominic Parete, director of DPP Smart Homes says: “The client had a bit of an idea of what they wanted it to look like and the layout, but being self-professed non-techie people, they didn’t know what technology was available. They had very little experience with cinema technology and the only experience they did have was a bad one.”

Blank canvas

As this was a new home for the couple, the two rooms were completely empty, giving the integrators a blank canvas to work with, something that was a first for them. While presented with a wealth of potential, it also came with its challenges. The two rooms had to become one and DPP were responsible for the layout and design of the room, as well as the technology integration.

To give the client an idea of what was possible in this room within their budget and requirements, Parete took them to AWE’s showroom in Epsom, UK. It gave them the opportunity to discover home automation and entertainment technology.  

“To experience the different technologies first-hand, in a real-life setting, can accelerate decision-making and instil excitement for the result.”

Before visiting the AWE showroom, the client didn’t know what a control system was. When visiting, he was introduced to URC and was able to play around with the touchscreen control solutions to get a better understanding of what it was and how easy it is to use. Simplicity was key for the client, being a non-technical person.

The visit also allowed the client to demo a range of different speaker options for his party room and gave him an idea of how his room would sound and look.

Being a multifunctional room, the space had to cater for parties, a games area, a bar and a home cinema. The client’s only previous experience of a home cinema was with a disappointing projector so was very wary of what AWE had to show him in this area. However, when the homeowners were given the home cinema demo using a Sony VPL-VW590ES 4K projector, the couple were sold.

“Bringing our clients to the AWE showroom is usually where the process really takes off,” explains Parete. “To experience the different technologies first-hand, in a real-life setting, can accelerate decision-making and instil excitement for the result.”

Room for all occasions

It was crucial that the elements of this room could be adaptable to different situations, to set the right mood and scene for different types of gatherings. Using the URC MRX-8 Total Control Advanced Network System Controller, the client has full control over the AV in the room as well as other technology including lighting and automatic blinds. Able to control up to 32 audio/video zones or areas in a home and expandable via LAN allowing for a vast number of connected technologies, it provides the homeowner with a flexible and futureproof solution.

While keeping in mind the multifunctional design, the integrator hid as much technology as possible. “We were responsible for the cinema and sound elements, wall columns, and coffered ceiling with baffled walls,” Parete reports. “We had very little say in the bar and games area as these were more the client’s elements.

“The side columns feature LEDs around them which gave us a great opportunity to hide the speakers and acoustic treatment while creating an attractive aesthetic design, enabling us to create something different for their party scene.”

This resulted in one half of the room dedicated to cinema while the other half of the room features a fully stocked bar and games area. A Sony 4K HDR LED TV is installed in the games area complemented by Definitive Technology speakers hidden in the walls and ceiling which can be used separately or in combination with the cinema.

“The integrated controls allow the customer to have total control by one device, rather than lots of separate remotes.”

LED lighting strips and blinds are used to transform the room depending on how they are using it. Scenes have been programmed to easily set up the room for different moods and situations. Using either the 10” in-wall touchscreen controller, the touchscreen LCD remote control with voice control, or a smartphone, the homeowners can control all functionalities in the room, including both the main lighting and the LED strips, blinds, audio and the projector. This gives the couple centralised control using one device of their choice to control everything in the room rather than several controllers dedicated to different things.

“The integrated controls allow the customer to have total control from one device, rather than lots of separate remotes,” clarifies Parete. “The homeowner now has a great room to experience with their friends and family, providing a brilliant cinematic experience with great sound for parties.”

Programmed scenes allow the couple to transform the room at the touch of a button, with ‘Party Time’ for example triggering the LED strip lighting, which runs the length of the bar, the wall columns and coffered ceiling, to go into a colour changing rotation. It will also activate the sound systems at both ends of the room to play music, the automated QMotion blinds will close, and the main lights will dim to enhance the party atmosphere.

The ’Movie Time’ scene will dim the lights while the backlit projector screen is activated to maximise the projector quality.

Usually something that clients want hidden away, this homeowner wanted the rack to be a feature of the room, displaying the well-organised SANUS AV rack in full view next to the bar.  

Bringing the party

This £62K room installation, which took place last September, exceeded the homeowner’s expectations.

Parete concludes: “The client has been blown away by the finished project, they love it. It’s even better than they expected. In fact, the DPP team were invited back for a party recently! Experiencing everything as a guest was brilliant. This party room is going to be hard to beat!”

 

Tech Spec

Combination of 18mm and 43mm Adhesive Back Sound Absorption

Cinema Build Systems 3m Wide Screen

Cinema Build Systems Coffered Profiles

Cinema Build Systems LED Lighting

Cinema Build Systems Space Frame

Definitive Technology DI8R Round 8” In-Wall / In-Ceiling Loudspeakers

Definitive Technology IWSub10/10 Fully Enclosed In-Wall Rectangular Subwoofers

Definitive Technology UIWRCSII Reference In-Ceiling / In-Wall Bipolar Rectangular Loudspeakers

Definitive Technology UIWRLSII In-Wall Reference Line Source Rectangular Speakers

Denon HEOS Amplifier

Kinetik KISP-AFH2 Acoustic Fire Hoods for 200mm Speakers

Marantz SR8015(BLK) 11.2ch 8K AV Receiver

Monitor Audio C280 In-Ceiling Speakers with BluCube Firehoods

Monitor Audio Vecta Outdoor Speakers

PlayStation 5 Games Console

QMotion Blinds

Rako Lighting Control

Roku Media Streamer

Sanus VLF613B2 Super Slim Full-Motion Mount for 40”-80” TV

Sanus VMPR1B Universal Projector Ceiling Mount

Sky Q Box

Sony KD50X85JU 50” 4K HDR LED TV

Sony VPL-VW590ES 4K Projector

SVS 1000 Pro Subwoofer

SVS 2000 Pro Subwoofer

TP Link 16-Port PoE Switch

Unifi AC-LR Wi-Fi Access Point

URC MRX-8 total Control Advanced Network System Controller

URC TKP-9600 10” In-Wall Touchscreen Controller

URC TRC-1480 2.4” Touchscreen LCD Remote Controller