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Whole house automation featuring the family room TV stays hidden in cabinet when not in use. When you turn the TV on, it comes out the top of the cabinet while at the same time the drapes closes over the windows. When you turn the system off, the drapes open and the TV goes down into the cabinet.
When you’re unsure about home technology, the best place to turn is to a home systems expert. The owners of this 3,200-square-foot Florida vacation home did just that, enlisting Hoppen Home Systems for professional advice and guidance on the types of smart electronic systems that would make the most sense for their new semi-permanent residence. “Their plan was to visit the house a week each month, then eventually retire there,” says Hoppen Home Systems president, Jason Hoppen. “A system that would allow them to monitor and control certain aspects of the vacation home from their full-time residence hundreds of miles away, therefore, was something we suggested highly.”
The ability to check the status of the home’s heating and cooling system and access video from surveillance cameras from their smartphones made perfect sense to the homeowners, too … as long as it was easy to do. As Hoppen and the homeowners chatted more about their home technology options, it was clear that the project would likely evolve into more than just security. After all, this would be a place where the homeowners would come to relax and unwind. A system that could also provide convenience, comfort and entertainment during their stay seemed worth exploring, too.
As Hoppen explained the homeowners, all of these tasks could be handled by a Control4 home automation system; just as importantly, the Control4 system would enable them to interact with their home’s lights, security cameras, thermostats, A/V equipment and more from a simple app on their smartphones, as well as from handheld remotes, keypads and touchpanels that would be installed inside the home. As is the case with many people new to home control technology, the homeowners asked Hoppen to implement a few basic features to start. Remote access to a dozen surveillance cameras, control over 10 or so light switches and access to centrally located rack of A/V gear from 15 different listening zones (including four zones outside by the swimming pool) and 10 TV locations were the initial requests. As the hardware was being installed and the Control4 software programmed, the homeowners’ couldn’t help imagine new ways to leverage their home’s new control system. Ten controllable light switches soon became 100, a gas fireplace was integrated, sensors were added to all of the home’s interior and exterior door so that lights would turn on and off automatically, and several “scenes” were created to streamline the process of controlling multiple devices to a single touch of a button.
The scenes, in particular, have made living in and enjoying the vacation home virtually effortless. A single command launched from a smartphone, for example, can prepare the lights, thermostats, audio, video and security system for their arrival and departure. One button on a keypad can shut off music, lights and arm the security system as the couple retires to their master suite for the night. At the same time, Control4 system turns on bedroom’s flat-panel TV to the owners’ favorite channel sets the lights perfectly for an evening in. “One button does it all,” says Hoppen. “It’s become the theme of this house, and one of the most valuable features of this vacation home.” The solution, therefore, was a home automation system that was simple to use, could be access and controlled fully from afar, and provided opportunities to implement additional features as the homeowners saw fit.
When cosmetics are key to the design of a home, the last thing you want is technology infringing on the fine finishes. But when you also love music, your home is going to need speakers—and lots of them. This was the conundrum the professional integrators at Hoppen Home Systems faced when engineering a sound system for Chuck and Becky's newly remodeled 7,500-square-foot home. “We needed to find a way to let the 40 pair of speakers planned for the home be heard but not seen,” says company president Jason Hoppen. “Plus, the homeowners, who entertain large groups of people frequently, requested that the audio be loud and powerful, which meant additional hardware to hide.”
Hoppen Home Systems had plenty of concealment solutions. In some of the rooms large speakers were installed flush with the new drywall and covered in skim coat and paint. “We made sure to locate these speakers where the homeowners wouldn’t be hanging artwork,” Hoppen says. In other places speakers were mounted in the ceiling a faux painted to match the surface, which in one room included a hand-painted mural. Even the barrel ceiling in the home theater couldn’t deter Hoppen from blending in the speakers of a full surround sound system. In this case, they had the speakers custom-colored by the manufacturer to match the grain of the wood.
Even though the speakers are visually discreet, there’s no denying their presence, as Hoppen used enough amplifiers to feed 120-watts to each pair. The homeowners control the volume, as well as select from a huge library of music, by using sleek wall-mounted Control4 touchscreens and keypads. All of the gear that makes the music magic happen, of course, is hidden as well, having been installed in a special equipment closet as the house was renovated. Through careful design and thoughtful integration, Hoppen was able to let the architectural beauty of the home shine, without sacrificing an ounce of audio performance.
Automating your home doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing exercise. Just ask John and Stacy. They’ve chosen to automate their Lithia, Florida home gradually, and are reaping the rewards of having the home systems integrators at Hoppen Home Systems, deliver each new feature in record time and with minimal disruption to their daily routines. It helped that the home was initially outfitted with a system that could be easily updated and expanded. With the core Control4 home automation hub in place, the homeowners were able to start with a familiar feature: whole-house audio. They had enjoyed having music throughout their previous home, so it was their top request of Hoppen when as they were building their home. To this they added basic lighting control in the kitchen and family room. Through a Control4 app on their smartphones, custom-engraved wall-mounted keypads, or touchpanel, John and Stacy can engage one of several lighting scenes to prepare their home for various activities and events. An “entertain” scene, for example, sets up the lights and music in these two rooms for an evening gathering of friends. Colored lighting recently joined this scene when John brought home a Philips Hue LED light bulb from a local home improvement store. After John installed it, Hoppen simply programmed the bulb into the Control4 automation software automation software program. This is just one of many additions the homeowners will likely incorporate. The wiring—and the Control4 system—are ready to handle the distribution of video to the home’s seven TVs and outdoor theater. More lighting could be integrated at any time. Even the thermostats and swimming pool system are possibilities, says Hoppen.
"Every aspect of my experience with Hoppen has been great. From the very beginning, they went out of there way to get to know me and what I wanted and made everything easy to understand and approachable. They were able to design a system easy for us to operate. They are very responsive and prompt. I can not say enough great things about these guys." ~John & Stacy
Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you can’t maintain full control over your home. The owners of this approximately 3,500-square-foot abode in Lutz, Fla., rely on the remote access capabilities of their Control4 automation system to quickly and easily check up on their homestead while they’re traveling on business, are away on vacation, or driving cross-country to deliver a their daughter’s car to her next drag racing competition.
Directly from the screen of their smartphones, they can scope out the situation, making sure that their beloved dogs and prized car collection are safe and sound. Surveillance cameras positioned inside each of the owners’ two garages offer visual reassurance, while a whole-house audio system delivers soothing music to their pets during their absence. In addition to being able to capture a real-time look at the happenings at home and select and control their whole-house music system, the owners can use the Control4 remote access features to also operate the lights and other A/V components.
The Control4 system is just as helpful to the owners when they’re home. Strolling their property with the same smartphones as they carried with them on the road, they can set up the swimming pool and back yard for a party, prepare the media room for movie night or convert the 6-bay garage into a A/V man cave. In an instant, landscape lighting around the pool springs to life, hidden speakers in the media room wrap moviegoers in full surround-sound and 30 sets of fluorescent lights and a 50-inch Samsung flat-panel TV pull everyone’s eye to the stunning collectible cars and high-def video.
And whether it’s time to hit the sack or get back on the road again, a tap of a Goodnight or Goodbye button, sweeps through the house, setting their home’s electronic systems perfects for a good night’s sleep or safe travels.
"I wanted you to know that we are very pleased with our new control 4 system. This is the first time using this unique program and everything has been working great! Thank you for giving us the attention to detail while building our home. Your team was very clean and courteous to our finished conditions.
I would like to also commend your group of guys Matt and Jean-Paul for their expertise in the installation and programming as well. If I had a question and could not figure something out on my end, because I forgot, they were at my house within the hour or sometimes even walked me through on the phone.
Being a Commercial contractor we do not have many opportunities to present this type of system to our commercial accounts. If I do elect to build another custom home or if I know of anyone, I will make sure you are recommended without hesitation.
I wish you guys the best, you deserve it!" ~Rick & Denise
Project: Repair existing equipment and create a multi-faceted home technology update.
We began by fixing a dead phone system, securing all A/V equipment from lighting strikes and repairing a 16-zone house audio system. Eventually, the family added single-button-operation universal remotes, thermal management, security cameras and lighting control. The home is now not only equipped with the latest in home entertainment, but also provides its owners with easily-controlled security and convenience features.