May 01, 2008
by Lisa Montgomery
Any kitchen that’s nearly 1,000 square feet demands attention. So it should come as no surprise that this enormous renovated space was selected as an award winner. However, there’s more than magnitude to this ultra-cool kitchen. A ton of technology was integrated into the room during its drastic makeover. Eight SpeakerCraft in-ceiling speakers, three Crestron keypads, and convenient access to a slew of audio and video components transformed a tiny, sparse 1700s farmhouse kitchen into a modern, multifunctional area where they family can cook and entertain to their heart’s content. “We had to engineer our wiring plan very carefully,” recalls E.J. Feulner of Elite Home Technologies, a division of HiFi House in Broomall, PA. “We had to run all the cabling through a small crawlspace and once all the walls were closed up, there was no way we would be able to run any more wire. We had to get everything right the first time.”
Thankfully, they did and with the technology that was implemented, the owners have a kitchen that’s become an integral part of their lifestyle. A 17-inch high-def Crestron touchpanel provides full control over the lighting, audio and video components, and other devices throughout the house. The touchpanel nestles comfortably on the counter beside an authentic stone pizza oven. From there, the owners can cue a particular lighting scene, call a certain song to the space, or turn the control screen into a full-fledged high-def TV where they can view a movie or a sporting event. All of the audio and video components are stowed away inside a closet, but thanks to the Crestron touchpanel, the owners have full access to them at their fingertips. They can select a song from a Kaleidescape music server, cable TV receiver or iPod. The music can be played in one or all three separate listening zones: his kitchen area, her kitchen area and the dining area. “Most of the time, they’ll play the same piece of music in every zone,” says Feulner, “but they can use the panel to set the volume differently for each area.” There’s plenty of variety when it comes to video, too. The 17-inch touchpanel can display an HD cable TV program, a movie stored on a Kaleidescape DVD server, or something spinning on a Sony DVD player or Pioneer Blu-ray player. If the owners can’t make up their minds, the panel can display two different high-definition video feeds at the same time. “They might use this feature to watch two sporting events simultaneously,” Feulner explains.
A 50-inch 1080p Pioneer Elite plasma TV in the adjoining family room can join in. A touch of a button at the panel instructs a Chief motorized bracket to pull the display from the wall and swivel it toward the kitchen. Another touch of a button can set the lights for a family movie night, complete with piping hot pizza and ice cold drinks.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.