A stubborn hillside wasn’t about to stop the owners of this 4-acre property from transforming their backyard into a multilevel entertainment paradise. Luxury homebuilder Stewart Senter of Hempstead, NY, commenced with the renovation of the outdoor area by carving terraces into the slope and constructing elaborate stone caverns, stairways, patios and a swim-up bar. His partner, Howard Zebersky of Automatic Home Systems, wired the space for speakers, TVs, lighting and total home control. “The project was done during the winter, so we worked underneath a huge tarp that covered the area,” Zebersky recalls. “We trenched all the necessary cabling from the house to weather-protected termination points outside.” From those outdoor wiring hubs, Zebersky and his crew connected several Rockustics StoneHenge II rock speakers and Klipsch AW Series speakers, two 40-inch Samsung LCD TVs and Jandy Aqualink pool and spa controls.
The wiring can deliver multiple independent streams of audio to the area, including AM, FM and XM radio stations, and songs stored digitally on a ReQuest music server and an iPod. Video travels from a DirecTV satellite receiver to LCD TVs tucked into niches that Zebersky had carved into the rock formations at the swim up bar and at the dining area. An elaborate arrangement of fiber-optic and incandescent lighting designed by partner company How-Mat Integrated Systems of Oceanside, NY, showcases the beauty of the outdoor living space. The area was divided into separate zones via a Lutron Homeworks system to allow the homeowners to illuminate only certain portions at a time. For example, they could choose to activate only the fiber-optic candles in the dining area when entertaining a few friends, or have every fixture turn on, including the colored lights in the pool and 80-foot waterslide, for a huge bash. “The idea was to use the lighting to accent the area, not to completely illuminate it,” says Zebersky.
With so many audio, video and lighting options available to the homeowners, control quickly became the cornerstone of the project. “The owners wanted to be able to set up their ‘fun park’ from both inside and outside the house,” Zebersky explains. His team of installers and programmers, led by Robert Povonetti and Jerry Simpkins, accomplished this task by outfitting the residence with a Crestron total home technology solution. The system ties together the audio and video components, the Lutron lighting system and the Jandy Aqualink pool and spa controls so the owners can operate everything from touchpanels inside the house or from handheld remotes outside. Pressing one button on a touchpanel can set up the entire area for a party, says Zebersky. From there, users can select the type of music they want to hear, fine-tune the lighting arrangement, or adjust the settings of the hot tub, for example. An assortment of handheld remotes—some of them waterproof—give the owners on-the-go control of the environment from the bar and barbeque station, swimming pool and hot tub, or the cozy conversation spot near the fireplace.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.