The Game Changer

When your job is to protect the blind-side of your team’s franchise QB, you understand the value of someone watching your back. That’s why, once Baltimore’s left tackle Eugene Monroe met Magnolia Specialty Sales Manager Matthew Stevens, along with the rest of the Columbia, Maryland Design Center crew, he knew he had the right team around him. With an amazing game plan set, Magnolia and Eugene were able to build one amazing home entertainment system.

You can go big or go home, or you can go big at home

After Eugene was traded from Jacksonville to Baltimore, he and his family moved into a townhome. Wanting to bring some home entertainment gear to the space, Eugene turned to Magnolia, whom several other Baltimore players and coaches had already worked with.

“I linked up with Matt,” Eugene told us. “He helped me get my man cave situation hooked up. I didn’t need too much, just a few speakers, a receiver, a TV. I had my little space and I was happy.”

With a taste of what Magnolia could do, Eugene was ready to take a big bite out of the Magnolia capability with his new home. “Before I even purchased my current home, Matt came out and we looked at its potential to see what we could do with the space. The theater, structurally, was there, but the home was incomplete when I got it. So we looked at how we could design things and finish it up.”

“I was looking for state-of-the-art audio,” Eugene added. “I listen to music all the time, whether in the house, in the car, wherever—so I wanted my sound to be crisp. I like bass-heavy sound, but I wanted beautiful sound pared with that. For video—I wanted the best theater I could put in here without being ridiculous— I didn’t want to see my money on the screen.”

Project Manager Justin Winchester added, “We also wanted to make sure we could integrate everything into one home automation system so he could control everything from a single app.”

A big task for sure, and with adding control for lighting, window blinds, the thermostats, along with integrated whole home audio, Magnolia knew they had a significant project in front of them. “We wanted everything to go seamlessly, and we knew our team could handle it—but I still wanted to give Eugene the VIP treatment,” Matt told us. “So I partnered with Bryan Koutsky from Control4 and Mike Sonntag from Dana Innovations, the parent company of Sonance. We scheduled a meeting for them to fly out and go over what their companies could do for the Monroe family.”

“The Control4 system does everything, it’s effortless to use and all works seamlessly.”

Eugene added, “Matt’s connections with these companies allowed me to see some really great products, even some that weren’t on display at the Magnolia Design Center. He did a great job of talking me through it as well as bringing experts from those companies to the house to check it out and help me make solid decisions.”

From these conversations, the Monroes decked out the entire house with Sonance architectural speakers—with 15 zones of audio. In the theater, Magnolia installed Sonance LCR 2 architectural speakers on each side of the Stewart Filmscreen FireHawk® 150" screen, with LCR 2 architectural surrounds. For the heavy bass that Eugene demands, Magnolia chose the MartinLogan BalanceForce 212s, thumping the room like few other subs can. With the Control4 system, multiple tablets throughout the house control everything with one simple app, from the countless Lutron lights and window blinds, to every piece of electronics in the house. “The Control4 system does everything, it’s effortless to use and all works seamlessly,” Eugene told us. “And if someone comes to the house, I just give them the remote or have them download the app on their phone and they can control everything themselves.“

Take it outside

After experiencing what Magnolia could do inside his house, Eugene was ready to bring the entertainment outside. Once again, Matt called on Mike Sonntag to show what was possible. “From his first visit here, Mike had a good understanding of what the outdoor space needed,” Matt told us. “He brought the biggest SLS outdoor speaker system they have to show Eugene what was possible. The day of the demo, when Eugene came home from practice, he was simply amazed. Eugene and his wife took turns playing different music, cranking up the system to see what it could do. They loved it.”

In the end, the Monroes ended up purchasing three separate Sonance SLS outdoor speaker systems that can be played individually or paired together. In total, the outdoor system has six LS87 speakers, 18 LS67 speakers, two 15" subs and three 12" subs. Oh yes, he does love his bass. “When it’s all playing, it’s like an outdoor concert—and the cool part, you can control it all with your smartphone,” Justin said with a smile.

Protecting more than just their blind side

When you protect others for a living, you have great affinity to protect your family. For Eugene, the security cameras and integration of those cameras into the family’s Control4 system was key. Control4’s app allows the Monroes to have all of their 16 cameras tiled on the screen, or they can watch each camera individually on any smart device, as well as select TVs throughout the house. Now they have instant access to any camera, whenever and wherever they are. Eugene told us, “This is something my wife really loves, especially when I’m on the road. When you’re traveling as an athlete, everyone knows when you’re gone. So my wife likes that she can see every corner of the house through the feed on the TV in the kitchen, and she knows she’s safe. If the security sensors trigger when she’s asleep or when she’s gone, she can manually check the house as well. It offers a really nice sense of security, which is as important as actually being secure, because you want to feel like you have some level of safety.”

“Magnolia just made everything so easy for me.”

Getting in the game

One of the fun things about Eugene is that, for all of the technology Magnolia has integrated into his home, he really puts it all to good use. As a huge fan of video games, gadgets and controls are right in his wheelhouse, and it’s great to hear him talk about how his family uses everything.

“The stuff that’s been integrated into the Control4 app, we use it every day. From controlling the temp in the house to opening and closing the shades to checking the security cams whether we’re in the house or on the road. Plus all the entertainment stuff with the TVs, audio system and gaming. We throw a lot of parties, and when we have people over, it’s great because some people can be up in the family room watching whatever sports game is on, other people can be down in the basement at the bar watching something else, and the kids might be in the theater playing a video game or standing on the stage being crazy. With the Control4 app, we can make every area different so everyone in each separate room can do their own thing, or tie it all in together so everyone is part of the whole event. It’s a pretty cool experience.”

Real team players

“When you’re a professional athlete, or anyone with a high net worth, living in an area where incomes are higher, people tend to come to your place and prices tend to shoot up,” Eugene told us. “But Magnolia doesn’t operate that way, they’ve been honest, they treat everyone fairly. I can recommend them to all of my friends and other players because I know they’re going to get an honest deal, they’re going to get people they can trust being in their home and around their family, and they aren’t going to get cheated financially. People are concerned about being ripped off, and I can recommend them to anyone and know that’s not going to happen, I know they’re going to be well taken care of.”

Eugene continued, “Magnolia just made everything so easy for me. They not only made it more economical than if I went with another company, but they made the most sense overall. They were great people. Matt’s one of my best friends now. It was a fun experience being able to design it, choose the right gear and be involved in the whole thing.”

It’s kudos like these that mean everything to Magnolia. Justin Winchester summed it up nicely by saying, “It’s been a long job for us, but it’s been a great relationship. We’ve phased the project out to make sure every piece is built to what Eugene wants and that he can get the most out of it. Ultimately he’s really happy with it and, to us, that’s what really matters.”

The team behind the system Left to right:
Specialty Sales Manager: Matthew Stevens
Lead Installer: Adam Chen
Project Manager: Justin Winchester
System Designer: Javiel Morales
Lead Installer: Brian Parker

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