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Interview: The changing face of control

UK custom install company The Pleasure Home prides itself on bringing ‘style and pizzazz’ to its installations. Founder/director Paul Kasler speaks to David Davies about significant past projects, the company’s new Smart Wall AV product, and the prospects for a more Apple-centric CI market.

UK custom install company The Pleasure Home prides itself on bringing ‘style and pizzazz’ to its installations, most of which are in the £30K-plus price range. Founder/director Paul Kasler (pictured, left) speaks to David Davies about significant past projects, the company’s new control furniture product, and the future prospects for a more Apple-centric CI market.

The Pleasure Home was founded eight years ago. What would you say have been the most important milestones since then?

One of the most significant would be about 4-5 years ago when we started to become heavily involved with two high-end furniture design stores. That brought us into contact with more interior designers and architects. Subsequently, we did a few high profile projects and got more leads off the back of that.

More recently, we have begun to work with a super deluxe hotel group as the AV consultant for its new luxury suites, which is another interesting development and will open us up to the commercial market.

This year we have also started to produce a standard piece of AV furniture, Smart Wall AV Ultimate Home Entertainment Media Wall (pictured, right), that will form the basis of controlling an entire house. It’s a 4m wide piece of custom AV furniture that can control up to eight sources feeding up to eight rooms. A showpiece 60” 1080p HD TV is complemented by two other TVs in parallel, while a ducting fan system for cooling is built-in.

Effectively, it’s an off-the-shelf product that we have already made available to end-users and may also sell to dealers in the future. (More information on Smart Wall AV can be found here).

In terms of your installation services, what do you think is your main USP?

I hate to use the term ‘wow factor’, but we do approach things with a bit of style and pizzazz; we really try to finish off a project with something that the client can show off about. Most of the projects that we do are in the £30K-upwards bracket, and the high-end client tends to be amazingly insistent on perfection.

We do spend a lot of time on the fine details… The screws on any exposed mains wall sockets and RJ45 wall sockets have to be at 180 degrees, which shows quite how nutty we are!

Many integrators who have spoken to IE Residential recently have suggested that the high-end of the market has been relatively unaffected by recent economic events. Has that also been your experience?

Yes, we have stayed very busy. There was a bit of a dip between May and July, but [interest] picked up with a vengeance at the beginning of August.

In addition to Smart Wall AV, you have also developed a new interface for the iPad/iPhone. More generally, what impact do you think that Apple will have on CI over the next few years?

Our product is called iRemoteControl and was developed in-house by The Pleasure Home’s Software Development Team. There are a lot of dealers who don’t want to do development work themselves – they want to focus on system building – and this provides them with a very nice, straightforward interface. (More details on iRemoteControl here).

It should be noted that we are a very Apple-oriented business. We do think that [control via the iPad/iPhone] is the future, and that over the next year we will see even greater reason why these should be used as remote controls. It will also become clear what Apple really means to do with Apple TV; again, they have only just given us a taster of what that technology is going to be doing.