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Lighting Control Creates Convincing Mood

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When a Maryland couple set out to build a new home last year, there was one topic in particular upon which they couldn’t agree. He wanted a sophisticated control system for the house’s music and lighting. She thought such a thing was a bit over the top. But a little negotiation and a convincing installation by local custom retailer Gramophone left the pair equally enthusiastic about their new technology.

Initially, the plan was to create a home entertainment system for the great room and augment that with whole-house audio for this musicloving couple. Then, talk turned to “smart homes” and other control capabilities that could be added to the house. Interior and exterior lighting could be programmed with the music into “scenes” to meet various entertaining and everyday living needs. Or at the push of a button, every system in the house, including security and heating and cooling, could be made ready for the homeowners’ work-day absence or an extended vacation.

gramophone kitchen

“People often think of lighting control as just light switches — flick a switch and they come on,” observes Miles Baxter, the Gramophone salesperson who oversaw this project. “But with a well thought-out lighting design and lighting control system, you get a whole different ambience and feeling. At the touch of a button, you can change the entire feeling of a room or the whole house.”

What’s more, an integrated control system reduces wall clutter from switches and can make a home more energy efficient. Lights are automatically switched on or off depending on the season and time of day. The thermostat can be integrated into the main control system so whenever the homeowners leave the house, the temperature reacts accordingly. And if the idea of returning to a cold, dark house is unappealing, homeowners can access their control system via the Internet to warm things up before they arrive.

After these homeowners decided that an advanced control system was what they wanted, the system was designed, programmed and implemented by Gramophone. In-wall touch panels from Crestron Electronics provide access to all systems, and a wireless touch-panel tablet, also from Crestron, operates the surround-sound and video system in the great room.

home automation

With the house under control, now the couple could focus their attention on their main interest: music. A music server from Escient provides a central location for all their music, which can be played in every room, or just selected rooms, of the house. “We have given the clients greater control and access to their music, and they love that,” Baxter says.

The gentleman of the house speaks highly of his new ability to access his music by title, album, composer or genre via an interface on the 50-inch plasma display in his great room. Recently, he started dividing his collection into groups for holidays, and he even created a Broadway category for all his favorite show tunes. “He’s just like a kid with a new toy. He’s just having a great time putting all his music on the server,” Baxter adds.

Altogether, the homeowners invested more than $100,000 in this system, but both residents of this house believe it has increased the value of the home, while also making it more fun to live there. “There are all kinds of things the systems can do that they didn’t dream of,” Baxter says. “Overall, it improved the experience that they’re having in their new home.”


4 West Aylesbury Rd, Timonium, MD 21093
8880 McGaw Rd, Columbia, MD 21045
(410)308-1650 | (410)381-2100

Since 1976, Gramophone has been providing custom home theater and home entertainment solutions to homes throughout the Baltimore area. Gramophone is one of the nation’s most respected and preeminent installers of home theaters, media rooms, custom whole-house audio/video systems, smart home automation and control systems, and telecommunication and networking systems for homes and businesses.

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