When the owners of this stunning family home in Hastings, UK embarked on a project to renovate and update the interior, they called on the help of Liam McLaughlin of smart home integration company Progressive Home Technology.
"The brief from the owners was straightforward," says Liam. "They asked us to kit out the home with the best multi-room sound system and multi-room movie system to suit their budget, all to be controlled with a central system."
This East Sussex smart home has four en-suite bedrooms, four reception rooms, two kitchens, a dining area, gym, cinema room and utility room. In terms of the smarts, the house blends high end custom kit with everyday tech like Amazon Alexa and Sky Q. Let's start with the centrepiece – the lounge.
The living room
With space to relax, dine and entertain, the home’s main living area is designed to make a statement. It includes floor-to-ceiling windows that span two sides of the space and fill the room with light, and it’s divided into four ‘zones’ including a main entertainment area with modular seating, a snug overlooking the garden and a dining space leading onto the kitchen.
Dividing the main living space with the snug is an aqua-coloured feature wall with an integrated 65-inch LG OLED TV, powered by a Lumagen RadiancePro 4K video processor and a Kaleidescape Premiere Movie player and server. It is this that provides high-quality Blu-ray video and audio here and to the other TVs throughout the house.
The bedrooms and bathrooms
In fact, within each bedroom you’ll find a TV that lifts out from the end of the bed and is hooked up to Sky Q and the Kaleidescape Movie server, which can store up to 800 imported Blu-ray discs (or 4,500 DVDs) and supports simultaneous Full HD playback on up to 15 screens.
This means that wherever you are watching TV in the house, you can access a library of DVD and Blu-ray movies and stream them directly from the server. Upstairs in one of the bathrooms, an Aquavision Bath TV is also hooked up to Sky Q and the Kaleidescape system, allowing the owners to relax in the bath while enjoying their favourite film.
Back to the living room and to give it a Friday-night-at-the-flicks feel, the LG TV is accompanied by a stylish range of audio equipment including two striking Meridian Audio DSP7200 rear speakers and two Meridian Audio DSW subwoofers. That's along with Meridian Audio’s 861V8 Surround Controller, adding a 7.2 channel THX Certified cinema sound that really comes into its own for action films and sports.
Finished in piano white, the Meridian rear speakers were chosen carefully to add personality to the room. Their cool finish balances beautifully with the modular cream leather sofas and crisp white flooring, and provides a striking contrast to the warm wood TV cabinet and coffee table with the aqua wall providing a refreshing pop of colour.
Opposite the main living room TV, a modular sofa suite provides ample space for the owners to sit back and relax. Here, a controller for the Meridian Audio Sooloos Digital Media system allows the family to listen to music from multiple sources within the home – room to room, in high-resolution audio quality. The touchscreen is nestled between to comfy, cinema-style sofa seats and controls both the owners' music library and streaming services.
With a passion for vinyl, it was key for the owners to integrate their existing AVID turntable – it plays via the Meridian speakers – but Grado GS1000 headphones mean they can always keep things old school.
The Meridian Audio media controls are complemented by a Control4 Home Automation system that gives the family instant access to controls via a wall-mounted touchscreen in the hall, or via an app on their smartphones and tablets.
Dynalite Lighting was fitted in this open-plan space to help define the areas and give the owners access to scene lighting. This means they can use Control4 to dim or turn lights on and off in particular areas – within the alcoves in the bookshelves, in the dresser, on the ceiling or to light up the garden dining area when the sun sets.
The main touchscreen panel for the Control4 system is fitted within the hall. Here the family can control all the gadgets within their home for audio, visual, security and lighting. So, for example, music or a movie can be turned on in any room in the house - lights can be switched on or off, inside and out of the house (including the colour changing lights on the stairwell). The owners can also view who is at the front gate and grant access, check their security cameras around the home and open and close the garage door remotely.
The hall is also home to the media rack cupboard, where a Meridian system, Kaleidescapes Blu-ray carousel and Furman Mains Conditioning (to protect against spikes and surges) are housed.
In the kitchen, the elegant aesthetic continues with a streamlined, contemporary-style room with lacquered white units and a crisp white Corian worksurface. This is brought to life with accents of vibrant, aqua blue in the acrylic breakfast chairs and glass splashback, as well as echoed on the second TV feature-wall.
There's also Alexa hands-free voice control via an Amazon Echo, which connects to Control4, so the family can turn on the TV, play music and set lighting scenes. (Ditto an Echo Dot in the bedroom.) This includes the eye-catching, colour-changing splashbacks and mood lighting under the kitchen island.