Home Theater

Before & After: Savant, Sonance and Lutron Take Old Stone House Into 21st Century

This old stone home time travels from 1938 to 2017 with its new Bowers & Wilkins 7.2-channel surround-sound system, Savant automation, Sonance speakers and 80 zones of Lutron lighting — taking the Gold for 2017 Home of the Year for Before & After.

Before & After: Savant, Sonance and Lutron Take Old Stone House Into 21st Century
Gold winner: 2017 Home of the Year Award for Before & After

Photos & Slideshow

Lisa Montgomery · August 23, 2017

Renovating a home is never easy. There’s always some unexpected challenge or setback no matter how meticulously or carefully you’ve planned. The integration team from MediaTech, of St. Charles, Ill., recognized right off the bat the complexities it would face as they infused an amazing array of smart home technologies into this 10,000-square-foot 1938 home. Constructed mainly of stone, lath and plaster, running the miles of necessary cabling to support a 12-zone whole-house music system, video distribution to 22 TVs, control of 80 zones of lighting, and a high-caliber home theater would deem this project one of MediaTech’s most difficult.

“We just had to force our wiring through the tough spots and find open avenues where we could,” says MediaTech co-owner and project manager Dan Daker.

Still, the decision to add new wiring for audio, video, home control, and networking begs the question: Why not just use wireless products and systems?

Daker’s reasoning is just as straightforward: The stone composition of the house would never allow the signals to pass. Commands from the owners’ iPads and iPhones would be literally stonewalled.

MediaTech took reliability a step further by deploying fiber optic cabling. Engineered to maintain signal integrity over long cabling runs, fiber optic cable was of particular importance for linking the home control and A/V equipment to the completely decked-out pool, which sits 2,000-feet away from the primary equipment rack in main house.

Before: This house was stuck in 1938

After: Completed renovated master bedroom, bar area and home theater

(See more photos)

The renovation spanned the entire home. Savant was selected as the home control system to tie together audio, video, lighting and surveillance cameras.

“The homeowner had been using it for years at his other home, so he was very familiar with the way the Savant system worked, and wanted that same ease-of-use for his newly renovated home,” Daker says.

Based on the assortment of entertainment options available to the homeowner, being able to access the content from anywhere and have it delivered to any of the dozens of Sonance speakers and Samsung TVs was imperative. MediaTech designed the Savant user interface to display photos of each room of the house.

The owner scrolls through the images, chooses a room, and taps whichever audio or video source he wants to enjoy. Just as easily he can tap the whole-house button to have his song or video of choice piped throughout the entire house.

Lighting is controlled in similar fashion, but with the added convenience of wall-mounted Lutron keypads. MediaTech customized the keypad of each room to engage preset lighting scenes.

For example, in the home theater a Movie button dims the lights. As the lights dim, the owner can grab a hand-held Savant remote or iPad to activate the Sony 4K projector and Bowers & Wilkins 7.2-channel surround-sound system.

Other scenes, such as Workout and Outdoor Party, arrange the lights specifically for those activities. There’s even a scene that caters to the owner’s two favorite things: the Chicago Cubs and classic rock. A tap of the Party button on the keypad in the lower-level rec room streams classic rock tunes from an Autonomic media server to Sonance speakers while the 55-inch 4K Samsung TV tunes to ESPN to catch a Cubs game.

The lighting scene that gets the most use and is a favorite of the homeowner’s is the simplest: All Off. Available on several keypads, this one button switches off every light on the property.

“The owner knew it would take too much time to turn off every light before bedtime in a house of this size, so the All Off lighting scene streamlines his time dramatically,” Daker says.

Equipment List

  • Savant automation
  • Sonance speakers
  • Bowers & Wilkins speakers
  • Sony 4K projector
  • Da-Lite projection screen
  • Samsung TVs
  • Access Networks wireless network


  About the Author

Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the CE Pro and Electronic House editorial teams for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor of Electronic House. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in addition electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home. Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what is on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Lisa at [email protected]

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  Article Topics


Home Theater · Speakers · Loudspeakers · Control & Automation · Automation · Lighting · News · Projects · Media · Slideshow · Bowers & Wilkins · Lutron · Samsung · Savant · Sonance · Sony · All Topics
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