Hiddenwires magazine

Hiddenwires magazine

With no home automation experience, this couple chose what they wanted from a tour of the integrator’s showroom. Amy Wallington finds out what they chose.

The smart home market is growing across the EMEA, as confirmed by the HiddenWires “State of the Smart Home Market” survey conducted late last year. In our report, it was stated that 71% of respondents said the growth is caused by increased awareness of smart home technology. Additionally, 7,051 of the 8,012 people who attended said there was far more interest in smart homes than ever in the past five years.

These statistics ring true in this project; a couple in Amsterdam wanted to renovate their home and, despite having no experience with home automation, they were very interested in finding out what could be possible in their home and what benefits it would bring them.

The integrators, Villa Elektra, welcomed the couple to their showroom in Leerdam to demonstrate the capabilities of home automation and technology. “We have a really nice showroom and there is a lot to see,” says Thijs Verduin, software engineer and programmer at Villa Elektra. “We walked them through the showroom and demonstrated what kind of features and functions we could offer them. As we walked around, we got an idea of ​​what they wanted in their home. During the conversations, we noticed that they were very enthusiastic about what we were capable of and the more we talked, the more they wanted them installed in their home. The project really developed from there ”.

A new start

Although it was an existing property, the house was completely stripped and remodeled, giving the integrator a new canvas to work on.

Verduin continues: “All the cables have been ripped; it was completely empty. The builders have inserted completely new ceilings, new walls, new underfloor heating; everything was installed new. We had some difficulties in placing the cables in the correct places, but we worked with the manufacturers and we were able to get what we wanted. “

Starting in early 2021, the project took about six months to complete. Customers decided on a home automation system that would allow them to use scenes to operate every room in the house. Most of the rooms featured DALI lighting, ceiling speakers, switches, and / or a wall-mounted iPad to operate the room. They also wanted a home cinema in the basement complemented by a bar.

“During the conversations, we noticed that they were very excited about what we were able to do.”

The structure has a total home automation with KNX smart home control and Basalte interfaces. In addition to switches and iPads used throughout the house for control, they also have a Basalte Miro Remote to manage rooms.

“When we were starting this project, Basalte had just released his Miro remote control,” explains Verduin. “This was the first project we did using it, and it was a bit of a challenge as it was a completely new product. But with the technical guide that came with the product, plus Basalte’s technical support, we figured it out and got a truly great result.

“I think we were one of the first companies to get started installing a batch of remotes, so it gave us the opportunity to play with it and see what it can do. It’s a really good remote to work with; it has some great features! “

Multilevel control

The house is a multi-level building with various rooms, all now equipped with AV and controlled technology of some kind. A kitchen, dining room, and living room make up the ground floor, featuring a large amount of built-in lighting, automated dimming, air conditioning, underfloor heating, and two controllable fireplaces in the living room.

Upstairs are the master bedroom, bathroom and a small office, all equipped with the same technologies as the lower floor in the main living areas. Throughout the house, users have multi-zone heating control through the KNX open-therm central heating boiler control. This also controls the air conditioning throughout the property. Any automated blinds and shutters are controlled via KNX gateway, as are the two fireplaces in the living room.

“For them, the use of scenes and the home automation system in general give them a lot of comfort and ease.”

Downstairs, in the basement, the client wanted a bar and home cinema space. This is the main room where homeowners use the Basalte Miro remote control, as Verduin explains: “In the home cinema room, they use the remote control to control the projector, screen and AV sources, as well as other functions such as lighting, curtains, heating and air conditioning. The cinema itself is set up as a scene so that the system turns on with a single click of the button. The user just needs to select the TV icon, for example, and the screen goes down and the projector turns on. It will turn on the device needed to watch normal TV, the amplifier will turn on, the curtains will close and the lights will go out. “

The Miro remote is super easy to use and makes life a lot easier. The homeowner can control one room, and the rest of the house if necessary, from the comfort of their seat instead of having to get up to select a different option on the iPad that is on the wall near the entrance to the home cinema room.

In addition to the multiple iPads and the Miro remote control, homeowners also have full control of the home over their smartphones. For even greater convenience in the home, touch buttons have been installed in some areas for specific functions such as turning lights on or off or opening and closing roller shutters.

One of the reasons the Basalte system was chosen was for its customization capabilities. “Each room has its own programmed scenes,” Verduin adds. “We planned them initially, but homeowners can easily set them up themselves via the Basalte app, so they don’t need to contact us if they want something changed or added. One of the scenes they’ve created is when they walk into the living room and choose. ‘ Relax Mode ‘, the fireplace will light up, the lights will dim slightly and the shutters will close.

“For them, the use of scenes and the home automation system in general give them a lot of comfort and ease”, he continues. “They both have busy lives running a large company, so when they get home they don’t want to think about what all the buttons in the house are for. Having just a few functions on the clearly labeled buttons and using scenes that set a room to the desired setting with just one touch of a button makes their life a lot easier.

“We had some difficulties in positioning the cables in the correct places, but we worked with the manufacturers and we were able to get what we wanted.”

The basement also features a guest bedroom which has an iPad to manage the room. All guests in the house have full access to control the room via the panels on the walls. The system is simple and easy to understand for guests who may not have used home automation before.

Hot technology

The limits are endless with the technology in the home and what it can be programmed for. Most projects feature a quirky gimmick that can be very helpful for the homeowner. In this case, the supplement was able to find a solution to prevent the bathroom mirrors from fogging up while using the shower or tub.

“We created a lovely feature involving the humidity in the air in the bathroom which ensured that the heating inside the mirrors turned on. We used JUNG switches that can measure the humidity level in a room and when it reaches a certain setpoint, it will activate the heating in the mirrors to make sure they never fog up. “

Experience

From never having experienced home automation and technology before having a fully smart home, customers are incredibly impressed with their new way of living. Supplements maintained good communication with homeowners throughout the process to ensure what they wanted was achieved. Working closely with the builders all the time also ensured a smooth process and eliminated any potential challenges.

“There was also an electrician on this project with whom we worked closely,” says Verduin. “He had very little experience with home automation, so we provided a lot of support there too and he was really happy with the final result.”

A maintenance package has been entered into with the integrator to keep the system running smoothly. They also have remote access via Gira S1 so you can log into the system and fix any problems without having to visit the site.

Verduin states: “The maintenance package means we will visit the house to check the installation, make sure the amplifiers and everything are free of dust and make sure everything is still running smoothly and there are no errors in the system. Of course, if anything it breaks down for any reason and they need to call us, we’ll go out and make sure it’s fixed if we can’t remotely.

In terms of further upgrades, customers are more than satisfied with their first home automation system and the way they are using it. However, Verduin said he asked to use voice control for parts of the system, which they are currently working on for them.

Technical specifications

4K acoustic motorized home theater projection screen

iPad from Apple

Basalte Cielo ceiling speakers

Basalte KNX home server

Basaltic KNX interface

Basalte KNX Multiroom M4 receivers

Basalte Mirò remote controls

Bowers & Wilkins AM-1 outdoor loudspeakers

Bowers & Wilkins ISW-3 subwoofer

DALI lighting

Denon AVC-X3700H receiver

Camino Dru

Gira presence detectors

Push button sensor Turn 4 switches

Gira S1 KNX module

Gira Tastesensor 4 KNX switches

Goelst electric curtain rails

Goelst electric Roman blinds

JUNG switches

Multi-room heating control with KNX OpenTherm central heating boiler control

Optoma UHZ65 4K laser projector

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