Integrator Uses Crafty Design to Camouflage Tech in Architect’s Lakefront Smart Home

Integration company Lelch Audio Video was tasked with preserving the design of famed architect Charles Stinson’s Lake Minnetonka home while also upgrading the property with the latest in smart home tech.

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Integrator Uses Crafty Design to Camouflage Tech in Architect’s Lakefront Smart Home
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One of the oldest waterfront sites on Lake Minnetonka boasts this striking home Lelch Audio Video had the opportunity to work on for the client, renowned architect Charles Stinson. He wanted a versatile space that kept a small footprint and expansive views, so guests could connect more with the natural surroundings than its architecture or technology components.

With that directive, Lelch Audio Video incorporated technology that optimized unobtrusiveness while still providing practical functionality and stylish aesthetics for the client.

“Due to the home’s tight spaces and the client’s design-focused priorities, we faced a few unique challenges ensuring our technology systems camouflaged with the rest of the home’s interiors,” says Alex Lelchuk, founder, Lelch Audio Video. “All these challenges required extensive project management, oversight, and communication both in person as well as via email, text and Slack.”

The Lelch team designed and installed a Control4 system encompassing security, shading, and HVAC — whose sensors were well concealed — as well as a Lutron lighting system that the client could control through square Euro spec Palladiom Lutron keypads and a central kitchen iPad housed inside a white LuxePort base station.

Lighting cans were placed within the tight radius of the drywalls and coordinated with the builder to ensure the drywall went up properly over the cans to maintain the look client wanted, Lelchuk says.

“The Lutron lighting system combined with DMF Lighting fixtures deliver a perfect blend of technology and functionality,” he notes. “The client is able to only use lights as needed with custom scenes that dim lights during different times of the day to accommodate their needs while only going up to 80% in the evening to conserve energy and set the right mood.”

Glass Exterior Walls Cause Tricky Audio Problems

Calibrating the surround sound in the home took some doing, as the glass exterior walls of the home caused issues with subwoofer quality and placement.

A Control4 video distribution system links Roku Ultra and Apple TV sources to four displays: a Sony TV in the great room inside of a Leon Media Décor Moving Art Screen, Samsung Frame TV in the sunroom, and two Samsung TVs for the gym and guest room. The great room has a 5.1 surround-sound system and the sunroom a 3.1 surround system, Lelchuk says.

“We had to add a Leon Media Décor Art Screen system over a fireplace with a really low profile, leaving us less than a quarter of an inch to fit the display,” he mentions of that installation obstacle.

“The glass exterior walls posed another problem when calibrating the surround sound in the main room, particularly when it came to the subwoofer. To optimize audio quality, we went with a low-profile Millenia subwoofer from Paradigm and in-wall and in-ceiling speakers from Sonance.”

Sonance architectural speakers were also employed for distributed audio, as Lelch Audio Video installed them in the square grille aesthetic to match the DMF lights in the kitchen and concealed them behind Snap-Tex acoustical panels everywhere else.