With no experience in home automation, this couple chose what they wanted by visiting the integrator’s showroom. Amy Wallington finds out what they chose.
The smart home market is growing in the EMEA region, which was 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 was due to greater awareness of smart home technology. Additionally, 7,051 of the 8,012 people who took part said there had been a lot more interest in smart homes over the past five years than ever before.
Those stats ring true in this project; a couple in Amsterdam wanted to renovate their house and, although they had no experience with home automation, they were very interested in knowing what it would be possible to have in their home and what advantages 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 very nice showroom and there is a lot to see,” says Thijs Verduin, software engineer and programmer at Villa Elektra. “We took them around the showroom and showed them the kind of features and functions we could offer them. As we walked around, we got an idea of what they wanted in their home. As conversations progressed, we noticed that they were very enthusiastic about what we were able to do, and the more we talked, the more they wanted to have it installed in their home. The project really grew from there.
Although it is an existing property, the house has been completely stripped down and renovated, giving the builder a new backdrop.
Verduin continues: “All the cables have been torn out; it was totally empty. The builders installed completely new ceilings, new walls, new underfloor heating; everything was installed new. We had some difficulty getting the cables in the right places, but we worked with the builders and managed to get what we wanted.
At the beginning of 2021, the project lasted around six months. The customers opted for a home automation system that would allow them to use scenes to operate every room in the house. Most rooms had DALI lighting, in-ceiling speakers, light switches and/or an iPad on the wall to operate the room. They also wanted a home cinema in the basement complete with a bar.
“Throughout the conversations we noticed that they were very enthusiastic about what we were able to do.”
The property has total home automation with KNX smart home control and Basalte interfaces. In addition to the switches and iPads used throughout the house for control, they also have a Basalt Miro remote control to manage the rooms.
“When we started this project, Basalte had just released its Miro remote control”, explains Verduin. “It was the first project we did using it, and it was a bit of a challenge because it was a brand new product. But with the technical advice that came with the product, as well as the technical support from Basalte, we understood and obtained a very good result.
“I think we were one of the first companies to install a batch of remotes, which gave us the opportunity to play with it and see what it can do. It’s a really good remote to go with. work; it has great features!
The house is a multi-level building with multiple rooms, all of which now have AV and controlled technology of one sort or another. A kitchen, dining room and living room make up the ground floor, with plenty of built-in lighting, automated shading, air conditioning, underfloor heating and two controllable fireplaces in the living room.
Upstairs there is the master bedroom, bathroom and a small office, all with the same technology as downstairs in the main living areas. Throughout the house, users have multi-zone heating control via the KNX open-therm central heating boiler control. This also controls the air conditioning throughout the property. All automated curtains and blinds are controlled via KNX gateways, as are the two fireplaces in the living room.
“For them, using scenes and having the home automation system in general gives them a lot of comfort and ease.”
Down in the basement, the client wanted a bar and a home cinema area. This is the main room where the owners use the Basalte Miro remote control, as Verduin explains: “In the home theater room, they use the remote control to control the projector, the screen and the AV sources, as well as other functions such as lighting. , blinds, heating and air conditioning. The cinema itself is set up as a scene so the system turns on with just one click. The user only has to select the TV icon, for example, and the screen will lower and the projector will turn on. He will turn on the device needed to watch regular television, the amplifier will turn on, the curtains will close and the lights will go out.
The Miro remote is super user friendly and makes life so much easier. The homeowner can control a room, and the rest of the house if needed, from the comfort of their seat rather than having to get up to select a different option on the iPad that sits on the wall at the entrance to the home theater room.
In addition to multiple iPads and the Miro remote control, owners also have full control of the home on their smartphones. For even more comfort in the house, touch buttons have been installed in certain places for specific functions such as switching the lights on or off or opening and closing the blinds.
One of the reasons the Basalt system was chosen was its customization capabilities. “Each room has its own programmed scenes,” adds Verduin. “We programmed these initially, but owners can easily set them up themselves via the Basalt app so they don’t have to contact us if they want to change or add anything. One of the scenes they’ve created is when they walk into the living room and choose “relaxation mode”, the fireplace comes on, the lights go down for a bit, and the blinds close.
“For them, using scenes and having the home automation system in general gives them a lot of comfort and ease,” he continues. “They both have busy lives running a big business, so when they get home they don’t want to have to think about what all the buttons in the house are for. Having just a few button functions that are clearly labeled and using Scenes that set up a room to the desired setting with the press of a button makes their life easier.
“We had some difficulty getting the cables in the right places, but we worked with the builders and managed to get what we wanted.”
The basement also includes a guest bedroom which has an iPad to manage the room. All house guests have full access to room control via the panels on the walls. The system is simple and easy to understand for customers who may not have used home automation before.
The limits are endless with technology in the home and what it can be programmed for. Most projects have an original gadget that can be very useful to the owner. In this case, the integrator was able to find a solution to prevent the bathroom mirrors from fogging up when using the shower or the bathtub.
“We created a nice feature involving the humidity of the air in the bathroom which ensured that the heating in the mirrors would turn on. We used JUNG switches which are able to measure the level of humidity in a room, and when it reaches a certain set point, it will turn on the heating in the mirrors to make sure they never fog up.
From never having experienced home automation and technology before having a fully smart home, customers are incredibly impressed with their new way of living. The integrators maintained good communication with the owners throughout the process to ensure that what they wanted was achieved. Working closely with the builders throughout also ensured a smooth process and eliminated any potential challenges.
“There was also an electrician on this project who we worked closely with,” says Verduin. “He had very little experience with home automation so we also provided a lot of support and he was really happy with the end result.”
A maintenance package has been taken out with the integrator to ensure the proper functioning of the system. They also have remote access via the Gira S1 so they can log into the system and troubleshoot without having to be on site.
Verduin says, “The maintenance package means we’ll visit the house to check the installation, make sure the amplifiers and everything are dust-free, and make sure everything is still working properly and there are no leaks. errors in the system. Of course, if something breaks down for any reason and they have to call us, we’ll come out and make sure everything is fixed if we can’t do it remotely.
When it comes to future upgrades, customers are more than happy with their first home automation system and how they use it. However, Verduin said they have asked about using voice control for certain parts of the system, which is what they are currently working on for them.
4K acoustic motorized home theater projection screen
Ceiling loudspeakers Basalt Cielo
Basalt KNX home server
Basalt KNX interface
Basalt KNX Multiroom M4 receivers
Basalt Miro remote controls
Bowers & Wilkins AM-1 Outdoor Speakers
Bowers & Wilkins ISW-3 Subwoofer
Denon AVC-X3700H Receiver
Gira presence detectors
Gira sensor push button 4 switches
Gira S1 KNX module
Gira KNX switches Touch sensor 4
Goelst Electric Curtain Tracks
Goelst Electric Roman Shades
Multi-room heating control with KNX OpenTherm central heating boiler control
Optoma UHZ65 4K Laser Projector