4-Storey Complete Smart Home – Essex

This redeveloped 4-storey property in a suburb of Essex is packed with smart automation to manage the home. The client is in the building industry and appreciated the possibilities of how he could create his own smart home.

Project Hightlights

Upon arrival at the property, a visitor will see a Control4 intercom. Pressing the call button immediately rings through to touchscreens on multiple floors, and to the resident’s mobile devices – whether they are at home or on the other side of the world. The resident can then choose to view the video stream of the visitor standing at the door and communicate to them, and even has the option to open either the pedestrian gate, or the vehicle gate from within the intercom call.

This means they can accept deliveries without needing to be at home. External CCTV allows the family to monitor a delivery and then close the gates afterwards.

A good security system is crucial in a smart home. There are Dahua IP turret cameras carefully positioned around the property to ensure perfect coverage, and a couple of internal Dahua wedge cameras to keep an eye on the swimming pool.

The Control4 system also integrates beautifully with the Texecom alarm system, allowing us to utilise the alarm PIR sensors and contacts to trigger different events, such as lighting events. The sensors can also provide room occupancy information to automatically turn off the heating should an area be unoccupied for a long period of time.

The resident also has the peace of mind that when they leave the property and set the alarm, the automated lighting will enter an intelligent playback mode. This mimics the lighting habits of the homeowner and creates a random pattern of lighting modes, which is far more realistic than the classic ‘hallway lamp on a timer’ method of deterring intruders. The blinds and curtains will also operate whilst away, truly recreating that ‘at home’ look.

Control4 Touchscreen | Smart Home Essex
Entrance Hall | Smart Home Essex

Integrated Lighting with Multiple Scene Control

Due to the size of the property, it made sense to have smart lighting throughout to enable stunning lighting scenes to truly show the beauty of the building, both internally and externally.

An introduction to the Lighting Design Studio made the lighting design quite a feature of the property. We designed external and internal lighting concepts, layers of light and featured and accent lighting, all controlled from a KNX lighting system. Vitrum glass keypads were chosen for their function and style and allowed for multiple scene control.

Working very closely with the lighting designer and the client meant we could create an elegant and flexible lighting system that the property deserved.

Colour is a great way to add that wow factor to a lighting system and this was beautifully created for areas such as the gym, swimming pool, cinema and wine cellar using multi-colour LED strips. This ensures the areas are tailored to any mood the resident desires.

The external lighting is fully automated, with garden and car park lighting coming on at dusk and turning off at 11pm. This is great for presence simulation and one of those automated tasks keeping the home exterior well-lit. The integration between the access control system and the lighting is a great feature for someone arriving at the property, with the lights automatically switching off after half an hour.

Indoor & Outdoor Audio

In-ceiling speakers connected to several Control4 multi-zone amplifiers, allowing the client to listen to music throughout, including in the pool area, where moisture and humidity control was taken into consideration. Speakers and connectivity were installed into the summer house for additional coverage.

Outdoor garden speakers and an underground subwoofer were also installed and connected to the main control solution so that the homeowners could stream music directly from their wireless devices. Providing directional sound into the garden offers a phenomenal sound dispersion, allowing our clients to enjoy time relaxing with friends under their outdoor canopy without disturbing the neighbours.

Distributed Video

Due to the size of the property and the number of rooms, having a centrally-located distributed video system was high on the client’s wishlist. By fitting all the satellite and streaming boxes in the AV rack and using a 10×10 video matrix to send the video around the house, the rooms were kept clutter-free and had access to any video content, anywhere in the house.


Automatic Blinds

The home features Silent Gliss curtains and QMotion blinds integrated with Control4 that automatically close at dusk and reopen at dawn. The blinds can also be operated at any time from the Control4 remote or touchscreen.

Media Wall | Smart Home Essex
Home Cinema | Smart Home Essex

Cinema Room with Automated Lighting

The home features a dedicated home cinema room with acoustic panels and two rows of leather Italian recliner seats. It has been completed with a 4K JVC projector housed within a drop down ceiling lift to keep it hidden when not in use.

Due to the client’s love for film, we installed a 149” CinemaScope fixed frame perforated 4K screen, which delivers an edge to edge picture without black bars taking over the screen. A simple press of a button shifts the lens to a 16.9 format when enjoying general TV programs.

The audio system, driven by a powerful Arcam AVR, is a Dolby Atmos 7.2.1 surround sound system giving a spectacular cinema experience.

The Control4 touchscreen can be used to control the lighting and turn on the media sources. Pressing “play” on the remote not only starts the movie – it also changes the lighting scene, while the “pause” and “stop” buttons revert the lights to the “interval scene” setting – saving time and enhancing the home cinema experience.

Networking and Wi-Fi

Having a robust, secure and reliable home network is a vital part of any project, but especially this one, due to the client often working from home. Ensuring they have a safe and solid internet connection is critical to the running of their business. That is why we designed and built the system in such a way that network traffic is segregated so as not to slow down their conference calls, and also to ensure their internet demands don’t have a negative impact on the performance of the AV system.

Carefully placed WiFi access points throughout the property ensure the residents have a perfect internet connection for their wireless devices.

Saving Energy With Room-Specific Heating and Cooling

Heating and AC control was simply managed throughout the house via Heatmiser Neo and CoolMaster Net integration, with underfloor heating and cooling scheduled to control the different rooms individually. This allowed guest rooms and spaces that were not frequented often to remain cooler, whilst occupied spaces were pre-set and automated to turn off should any windows or doors be opened. 

The client knew they needed a smart home system that was reliable but that also created a wow factor. Putting their trust in us to deliver beyond their expectations gave us the creative freedom to build something truly spectacular. We decided that having Control4 as the overarching control system would enable us to deliver a pleasing and easy to use whole home automation system accessible from in-wall and tabletop touchscreens and smartphone and tablet apps, and through elegant remote controls that even their young children are comfortable using. Using Control4 has given us the flexibility to integrate all the technologies into one simple to use interface.

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Cinema Room showing screen, lighting and seating
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