Beverly Hills, California; swimming pools, movie stars, and homes as amazing as the movies that are made in the city below. Building a home in this storied city takes a special kind of style, finish and level of panache that must meet and ultimately exceed the wants and needs of a very discerning client. And what is that client looking for? As Anthony Chase, System Designer for the West LA Magnolia Design Center told us, “For this level of home, people pay attention to two things: the kitchen and the home automation system.” And for the latter, Magnolia gave this home everything it needed and more.
“It’s up to us to make sure that, at the end of the day, everything works flawlessly.”Anthony Chase, Magnolia System Designer. West L.A.
Staging a house for the big show
As a custom home, built for immediate sale, it was imperative that Magnolia not only created a home entertainment system that would appeal to a high-end customer, but would also be easy and functional for the realtor who needed to show off this amazing home. With the right audio, video, home automation and lighting solutions, Magnolia was able to ensure that anyone who walked through this home would see it in its best light (literally).
To accommodate this, Magnolia put a lot of architectural lighting in each room to create layering. Because as Anthony told us, “Just offering ‘on’ and ‘off’ is boring, it doesn’t show off the décor correctly. Being able to have different lighting scenes in different rooms allows us to make each room look its best. So we worked alongside the realtors to set the lighting just how they wanted it. We created scenes for daytime and nighttime viewings. At the end of the day, the realtors love it because they don’t have to go around and adjust every light each time they have a showing, they just hit one button and the house is ready to go. And when they leave, it’s just one button press to turn everything off.”
Because the house would be sold with all of this integrated technology included, it was important Magnolia kept an eye toward what might be next. So they outfitted select rooms with additional wiring options for future homeowners to add their own flare if they wanted. They even wired the home office for surround sound, so every future home entertainment desire could be met.
Each room is outfitted with a fob on the wall that senses the temperature and sets the HVAC system to adjust the temperature in that room throughout the day to meet the homeowner’s needs.
For audio, Magnolia created 12 total audio zones, with two separate zones outside and wiring for a 13th zone in the garage. Because of the open space of the main room/kitchen, three zones of audio where created to allow for different volumes of traffic during parties. As Anthony told us, “when you have people over, sometimes the kitchen is louder, sometimes the family room is louder, and you want to be able to adjust the audio in those areas independently to provide the right volume.” A custom audio solution indeed.
For video, the latest 4K Ultra HD TVs were installed in nearly every room. The theater/family room is designed in a style that Anthony calls a hybrid room. “There are so many windows in the room that we put a TV in there for daytime viewing, and a projector screen when you want to watch movies at night.” To provide the perfect darkness for movies, Magnolia used full blackout shades so they can get the ultimate resolution from the Epson projector on the 130" Screen Innovations screen that drops from the ceiling. To provide ease of use, the two screens mirror one another, meaning the content comes from a single source. Once the projector screen drops down, the content that was on the TV instantly plays from the projector, so there is no break in the action.
The house is also set up with video matrixing. So instead of having a cable box for each TV, all the TVs run to three main cable boxes. Two of the boxes are dedicated to the homeowners, and the third for guests or kids. Now, if someone is in the bedroom, they can connect to their specific cable box that’s programmed with their favorite channels and recorded shows, while others can use their own cable box with their content on the other TVs throughout the house.
A clean look to a city view
“The home builder was looking for something that was very high- end and very easy to control,” Anthony told us. “It was important to reflect this idea in every aspect of the home.” Nowhere was this more important than with the treatment of light and the window blinds. With countless windows that show off the amazing views of the LA skyline, it was important to get the treatment of these blinds just right, whether they were open or closed. So Magnolia worked with Lutron to install solar shades that would not only protect the home’s interior from damaging UV rays when closed, but disappear into the ceiling when open. To ensure the builder was getting exactly what he wanted, Anthony took him to the Lutron Experience Center in Irvine, California to see the products in action.
To continue this high-end appeal, Anthony and team removed most of the light switches from the walls and instead brought them all together into Control4 multi-use touch panels that could control the entire house. And with Control4’s simple tablet and smartphone app, future homeowners can control everything in the house from their smart device, anywhere there’s a Wi-Fi signal.
When you head outside, the pool, grill and patio take your breath away. And with the city below—you feel like you’re on top of the world. It was important to not take away from any of this beauty. So Magnolia installed two Sonance SR1 speaker systems. These speakers dot the outside of the yard and bring the music in toward the house. As Anthony told us, “They give you a blanket of music. They bring the music in and keep the noise away from the neighbors. It’s great because you can keep the volume lower, and everyone can still enjoy it.”
Selling a dream
Success for this home came down to one question, would it sell? After all, that was the goal in putting in all this cool gear. And as we landed at LAX to take photos of this home, we learned it had sold in an incredibly short period of time. This is, without a doubt, in no short thanks to the home entertainment system Magnolia installed. Because, as we’re learning more and more, incorporating the right smart home technology into high-end homes is no longer a nice to have, but a must-have. That means not only having the finest TVs and audio systems, but the perfect home automation system as well.
As Magnolia continues to work with builders, architects and, of course, homeowners to deliver the latest intuitive technology into homes, these homes are becoming more and more customized to the homeowners’ entertainment needs, making these custom homes, truly customizable.
The team that brought it all together Left to right:
Installer: Adalberto Burgos Sr.
Project Manager Benjamin Aragon
System Designer: Anthony Chase
Programmer: Bernardo Salcedo
Lead Installer: Vanna Sim
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