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Solutions: ClearSphere completes award-winning Crestron residential install

It’s always good to get repeat business. For one custom installer, the second project from the client was bigger and wider-ranging – and also went on to win a Crestron Integration Award. Tom Bradbury reports.

Tucked away beyond the Surrey woodlands is a beautiful home that demonstrates how technology and interior design can complement each other to create the perfect living environment. Crestron systems seamlessly tie the home technology together, while interior designer Louise Bradley was tasked with transforming the space. Bradley worked in tandem with custom installation company ClearSphere.

This was the second project that the London-based integrator had worked on for this client family, but it was a much bigger and more complicated undertaking this time around.

In some ways, the brief was simple: ‘everything was to be integrated – both inside and out’. This short but all-encompassing description included designing and installing a total home lifestyle technology solution to cover control and operation of all the AV systems, a home cinema, internal and external lighting, curtains and blinds, underfloor heating, air-conditioning, extract and ventilation, the temperature and operation of the swimming pool, water features, intercom facilities, CCTV, door-entry and intruder alarm systems. On top of this, the clients themselves are tech-savvy and wanted to be able to control and monitor everything – and so intuitive user-friendly controls were to be installed too.

To provide this, ClearSphere designed a system that makes use of Crestron’s ‘Smart Graphics’ interface, on a combination of Crestron TSW touchscreens and iPads. Control is available on a room-by-room basis or by using the floorplan overview feature. The overview allows AV, heating and lighting to be monitored and controlled across the entire property from a single page.

The home also features a state-of-the-art multi-room audio system integrated to allow 16 zones around the home. Playing from a range of sources, the system includes Apple AirPorts for playing music direct from Apple devices, a media server and FM/ DAB radio. Amplification in the house is via two Sonnex amps, paired with in-wall and in-ceiling speakers from Bowers & Wilkins.

An additional feature in the home is the state-of-the-art cinema room. The entire home cinema system is controlled by a Crestron MLX-3 remote. The hidden DigitalMedia 8×8 matrix switcher in the cinema room supplies video to six televisions throughout the property as well as the cinema system, allowing for connection to two Kaleidescape movie players and disk vaults, two Sky Boxes, a Blu-ray player and two Apple TVs. A DigitalMedia feed is also sent to the Crestron system, allowing video sources to play on the touchscreens. This allows the homeowner to browse and preview channels via the touchscreens before deciding which channel to send to any of the TV screens.

The Crestron centralised lighting control operates the lighting for the entire property with 132 light circuits and 45 CNX keypads, all connected to the one system. The lights can be controlled from the keypads or remotely using the Crestron app installed on the customer’s smartphone and tablet. Crestron low-energy LED light fixtures provide energy efficiencies across the property.

The home also features a full Crestron Building Management System. This features 24 floor heating and radiator zones, which are controlled via the Crestron system, allowing for personal preference settings to be set for each room and space. The air conditioning similarly integrates with the Crestron system for full control of 12 zones; the bathroom fans can also be switched on and off via the system. The heating and air conditioning systems work together to ensure the home is kept at the optimal temperature for comfortable living, while minimising energy consumption.

“We first used ClearSphere to install a Crestron system in our London home in 2008,” comments the property’s owner. “We loved the system and found ClearSphere easy to work with, so using them for the new house was the logical decision. We couldn’t be more pleased with the system, it works really well and does everything ClearSphere said it would and more. The look and feel of the remotes and touchscreens is a big improvement on the old house and we really feel we’ve got the system we wanted. ClearSphere did a first-rate job and stood head-and shoulders above all our other contractors. I would happily recommend ClearSphere and Crestron to others.”

This project won the Best Integrated Home category in the recent Crestron Integration Awards. The judges’ comments included “a jaw-dropping project on every level”, “custom install as it should be!” and “stunning installation”.