Dedicated Luxury Home Cinema Design and Construction Guide- Part 1

A dedicated cinema may seem like an inefficient use of space to some and they would rather make it into a multi-purpose media room; but to others it’s the crown jewel of their home. A place suited to make events that create lasting memories, from a genuine movie night in with the family, to watching the big game on a big screen with the best of friends. It’s a place that truly changes the experience, a place that allows you to suspend reality for those two hours and immerse yourself in the film the way the director intended.  

However, without proper planning, design, and execution, a cinema room could be disastrous to a home, disrupting the audio throughout the structure. Today we’ll go over general points and tips in creating a great cinema room. There is a lot that goes into a great cinema, so this article will be split into two parts.

Planning

Planning your cinema is key to a successful space. Every aspect of a cinema is harmonious and will feed into each other, so it’s important that every part is up to par and there are no bottlenecks.

Budget

With dedicated theater rooms, it’s important to start with a budget, or at least a range that that spans  +-20%. You need to start here because the cost of a cinema can vary drastically, mainly as a result of the wide range of products you are able to choose from. For example, an effective projector can cost as little as $5,000 dollars and go all the way to $100,000+. That’s why a full turn key cinema can go for as little as $35,000 and go as high as half a million. An accurate budget will let you choose the right products the first time. If you choose a high-end speaker system first, and run out of budget by the time you get to acoustic treatment, the cinema won’t be balanced, and you won’t have the best possible solution.  

Room

If this is a new build, or you have your choice of room to re-model, consider the following:

  • Shape- The room should be as rectangular as possible for good audio and video angles.
  • Size- This will be dependent on how many people you want to have in attendance at once, but at minimum you want a room about 20 feet long and 15 feet wide.
  • Location- If you have the option to choose where this room will go, place it as far as possible from sources of loud noises like appliances to ensure a low noise floor, and far from bedrooms for minimal disruption during evening viewings.
  • Décor- If you’re aiming for a more luxury cinema, consider adding an interior designer to the team, preferably with prior cinema experience. RSI will work closely with your designer and make sure décor does not inhibit the performance, and the electronics are blended into the décor.
Residential Systems Inc. Showroom Cinema in Denver, Colorado

Construction

Once you have your room picked out, it’s time to consider the construction aspect. There are three keys to having an acoustically sound room. Basically, you want to keep sound out, direct the right sound inside, and keep things from vibrating. Keeping sound out, and stopping vibrations are predominately accomplished during the construction phase.

Quiet Rock is only one part of the equation!

Many times, we are contacted after the room has been constructed. When we ask about the construction of the room the client gleefully tells us that quiet rock, a denser gypsum board, has been installed in the room. That helps, and we definitely recommend it to limit the sound transmission, but it’s not enough. You will still likely be able to hear the cinema 1-2 floors above.

The most effective way to stop sound transmission dead in its tracks is to “de-couple” the room. To accomplish this there are systems out there that act as spacers between the studs with padding. This space and padding joined with quiet rock will give sound a place to dissipate before traveling to other rooms.  

Tar that room up

The essence of sound and how it is made, is vibration. A specific vibration that our ears recognize as pristine audio, truly a magical act. However, when unwanted vibrations make it into the mix, it creates noise and disrupts the audio you want to hear.

Fixtures, seats, furniture, and then some can all introduce unwanted vibrations, especially when the bass hits hard. While sconces on the wall adds a nice look, it can introduce some nasty vibrations and making sure the screws are tight just won’t cut it. Make sure you surround fixtures and anything else that can vibrate with a tar sound deadening material like Dynamat.

Coming up next  

Stay tuned for part 2, where we discuss the different audio and video formats, acoustic treatment, and execution. In the meantime, give us a call if you have a room you’re thinking of turning into your dream cinema room!

WATCH IT WORK: How Personalized Lighting Can Improve Your Daily Life

Arguably the biggest breakthrough of our time in residential lighting, Personalized and Human Centric Lighting are changing the way we interact with our environment.

This revolutionary technology is so leading-edge that Residential Systems Inc is one of the only showrooms in the region to install a fully functioning system where we can showcase to clients how it works in real life.  

In this video, CEO Travis Leo explains how Personalized Lighting:

  • Allows homeowners to dynamically adjust light temperature, tone and color in any room
  • Promotes energized mornings and restful nights via human-centric circadian light patterns
  • Optimizes the appearance of artwork, paint colors and textures throughout a home
  • Accentuates architectural features and design elements
  • Sets the mood
  • Adds life and fun to a party

Want to know more? Tune into the video for a crash course, or stop by our showroom for a live demo and witness the difference intelligent lighting makes in a space.

 

 

The Latest Home Technology for Interior Design

Samsung Frame TV

Residential Systems Inc. turned 31 years old on June 1. While we’ve witnessed the world of home technology change dramatically over the last 30+ years, one thing has remained the same: Our dedication to bringing the most innovative technology and leading-edge integration techniques into your clients’ homes.

With products ranging from automated lighting and shades, to invisible speakers, TVs that virtually disappear, 4K projectors and screens, and endless ways to customize each, we understand that it can be difficult to sift through the options to find the ideal solution.

The good news? We stay on top of trends so you can focus on design.

Our goal is to eliminate confusion, and provide you with products that not only revolutionize your client’s experience within their homes, but also transform the way you customize your spaces.

Here are a few of our top home-tech picks that are bringing excitement and innovation to interior design in 2018.

Frame TV

The 4K revolution made Samsung’s Frame TV possible. With more than a billion shades of color and four times the resolution of HD, the 4K HDR Pro creates an almost lifelike picture.

This level of resolution not only provides the ultimate viewing experience, it also informs the dual nature of the technology, which can transform into a beautiful work of art with the click of a button. “Art Mode” provides homeowners with a way to effectively hide the TV when not in use by displaying an LED gallery-quality piece that’s indistinguishable from the real thing.

The artwork can then be complemented with a combination of frame material as well as matte layout and color, with thousands of options to choose from. Homeowners can also display their personal photos as art, switching them out at any given time.

The Frame TV changes the game for what you can do with design. No more “deciding what to do with the TV” or creating custom solutions to conceal it.

Interested in learning more? Contact us for additional details and a pricing sheet.

samsung frame tv


Lutron’s Palladiom Shades & Keypads

Made by the pioneers of automated window treatments, Lutron’s newest automated shade provides a silent and stylish application specifically crafted to complement interior design.

Unlike other Lutron products, Palladiom was made to be seen. Designed with an exposed roller, concealed wiring and clean lines, it seamlessly blends into architecture, making it the most elegant form of automated shade. And, with thousands of fabrics and dozens of metal and bracket finishes, Lutron’s customization options ensure each shade suits the space.

As with all Lutron products, Palladiom activates at the touch of a button. Plus, the system is fully compatible with the beautiful Palladiom keypad and thermostats, which were designed with high-style in mind—a true celebration of design.

RSI is one of only a handful of dealers in the country where you can test drive Palladiom shades. Contact us today to set up an appointment to see this elegant system in person.

lutron keypad


Personalized / Human-Centric Lighting

Experts agree that Personalized and Human Centric Lighting is the biggest breakthrough in residential lighting, and Residential Systems Inc. is one of the first to bring this technology to you. Here’s why we’re excited about this type of lighting for the interior design community:

interior lighting

Human-Centric Perspective

Like Night Shift on your iPhone, Human Centric Lighting automatically helps people tune into their circadian rhythm.

This technology, powered by what is called “tunable white light”, brings natural lighting indoors, stimulating the mind in daytime for greater productivity and dimming light at night for better sleep.

According to scientists around the world, this technology promotes better sleep, enhances performance, and overall, encourages a happier and healthier lifestyle.

human centric led bulbs

human centric lighting

Personalized Lighting

This lighting technology also revolutionizes the way your clients experience their home with light across the color spectrum.

While the Human-Centric experience is one aspect of “tunable white light” technology, we have discovered that homeowners also like some of the more dramatic lighting options ranging the full color spectrum from warm and cool to playful colors like red, blue, yellow, etc.

With warm and cool settings, paint, fabric and everything in between can be continuously illuminated with the correct light, no matter the time of day.

Art

A snowy landscape portrait illuminated with cool tones looks crisp and clear, whereas a colorful still life under the same light looks stale and flat.

Fabric

Showcase exquisite fabric and draperies the way they were meant to be seen at any time of day with strategically placed light fixtures. Cool tones look crisp under a cool light setting, while warm tones appear more vibrant under the perfect mix.

Events

Dinner parties, kids birthday parties, or everyday living room dance parties will never be the same with customized color experiences. The Personalized Lighting concept allows your client to change the tones in a room to match the mood. Spanning the spectrum, color options help create illuminated experiences that are personal and unique.

Interested in seeing this type of lighting in action? Our new showroom has a fully functional home theater room where you can live demo the systems for your clients.

Contact us today to set up an appointment to test drive this revolutionary technology that’s changing the way we live and work.

Top Streaming Services Reviewed: Netflix vs Hulu vs Youtube vs DirecTV Now (2018)

Netflix vs Hulu vs Youtube vs DirecTV— Which One is Best for You?

The quality and quantity of shows on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, has increased exponentially over the last few years.

This improvement of content has prompted many of our clients to consider “cutting the cord” and completely move away from traditional cable.

While there is an appeal to tossing your cable bill into the bin, the drawback is the overwhelming number of streaming options out there, which can make your decision confusing.

What to Consider When Cutting the Cord
First address your viewing preferences, such as how important watching live sports is to you; how often you watch movies; if you prefer to maintain your subscription to live local channels; or if you frequently use gaming systems.

If channel and service options aren’t complex enough, there are also multiple types of streaming devices to choose from— Amazon Fire, Nintendo Switch, Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One, Chromecast, Sony Smart TV, and more.

To further complicate things: Not all streaming services work on every device.

Which Device is Right for You?
With all this in mind, it may seem impossible to know which device one is right for you, your family, preferences, budget and habits.

The good news: We’ve done all the hard work for you.

We have worked with dozens of customers to help them make the switch. The most important advice we can offer is to completely understand your choices and costs before committing to anything.

As you consider options, use the chart below to help you compare some of the most common options for devices and streaming capabilities.

And, if you still feel uncertain about your options, our doors are always open to help you assess all the possibilities, and choose and integrate the streaming system that best suits you.

Ready to learn more? Contact us today to get started.

 

TV Streaming Services Comparison Guide

 

 

 

 

Smart Home Technology Trends for 2018

2017 was a whirlwind of technological advances, dramatically shifting the way we interact with technology in our day-to-day. For the smart home, the year has brought a series of evolutions resulting in smarter, stronger, and more useful devices. That means more processes, functions and systems can be automated within your home, streamlining and often simplifying your life.

2018 promises to be the year of higher quality products, and higher quality experiences.

 

Speaking Up

Long-time RSI team member, Skip White, believes 2018 will be a big year for what he calls “plug and play” technologies, meaning integrations that don’t require installment but do require professional integration to be used with your other smart tech systems.

2017 was a year of interaction, with the emergence of more sophisticated voice command programs like Siri, Alexa and Echo. This trend shows no signs of wavering in the new year, and estimates suggest that by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches and around 30 percent will involve no screen whatsoever. As a result, all kinds of home technology companies are integrating the likes of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant with their products.

alexa home automation

 

Form vs. Function: Design-Driven Upgrades

Traditionally, smart home technologies have been designed with function taking precedence over form. More recently, we’ve seen an inclination toward creating products that not only perform well but integrate beautifully into home design. RSI’s Systems Consultant Luke Vandewark has seen an upward trend in homeowners and business owners alike looking for tech integrations that are more stylish, and companies are taking note.

 

New Paradigm: Lutron Palladiom

Lutron’s recently released Palladiom line of automated shades have shattered the stereotype of automated window coverings. Previously, automated shades have been installed into recessed pockets or facia that conceal the motor and roller. However, due to demand for more contemporary applications, the Palladiom line of automated shades are specifically designed to be an exposed, elegant shade with sleek hardware and beautiful fabrics.

lutron palladiom shades

Vanishing Screens

Similarly, Samsung has unveiled a selection of framed televisions, designed to look like framed pictures rather than a bulky mounted TV. These sets can be easily disguised when not in use, making them an accessory instead of an obstacle. The Samsung interface also includes an extensive library of static image options, and gives users the option to purchase more imagery or upload their own. The televisions can be matted on a selection of Samsung-designed color options, ensuring that your set will match your interiors.

home theater installation

 

Scene-Based Living

One of home technology’s more sought after systems enhance what Vandewark refers to as “scene-based living.” These home technology upgrades create a “scene” through specially designed lighting, audio and visual systems.

Imagine waking up and pressing a button. The morning news turns on, climate controls adjust to 72 degrees, lights slowly brighten, the shades open, and your security system disarms so you can open the window and let in some fresh air.

Homeowners can create a customized home technology experience. In the kitchen, a homeowner can have bright lighting and upbeat jazz music for dinner prep, while dim lighting and quiet classical play in the home office. Lighting, climate, audio/video, home theater, security, networks – Smart Home automation allows you to control all of these systems with the press of a single button using your smartphone, tablet or remote control.

home automation

 

The Need for Bigger, Better Bandwidth

Advances in automation are exciting, but often homeowners forget about installing a robust WiFi system to keep everything running in top form. With the emergence of more advanced wireless home tech, users need stronger and more supportive networks. Your big-box home modem can’t support all home tech connections. Commercial-grade WiFi networks in both residential and commercial applications are necessary for all systems to operate at their highest capacity. Hire an integration company to do the work for you. This is not something an electrician or DIY enthusiast can take care of.

 

2018 Will Be the Year Of…

Vandewark and White both foresee an explosive upward trend in the use of home technology. While many tech trends fizzle over time, evolutions in the home automation industry promise to transform the way users interact with their homes. For that reason, Residential Systems Inc believes that home automation mega-trends will define 2018 and beyond with the continual creation of bigger, better, and smarter technologies.

A Smart Home is a Sellable Home

As technology continues to advance, real estate buyers and sellers are gravitating towards the modern conveniences of a smart home. Why? Technology upgrades are not just smart systems—they’re smart investments when buying or remodeling a home. Read on to learn how home technology systems can increase the value of a home, make that home more sellable, and open up insurance incentives available to those with home technology upgrades.

Home Tech Upgrades

smart home technology

According to CEPro.com, 64% of realtors say home buyers are more interested in high-tech amenities compared to just a few years ago. Smart homes sell faster than others, and with the number of smart homes on the rise it’s important to ensure your home can compete in the market.

Karen Bernardi with Coldwell Banker and owner of The Bernardi Group Residential Brokerage notes:

“In Boulder County we’re really seeing prices continue to climb. The luxury market especially has become much more competitive, especially in the $2 million plus market. As older homes are being purchased, expanded, in size, and completely redone, or scrapped completely and rebuilt the interior finishes are often a similar variation of a warm modern décor. We are seeing more and more the integration of tech features in these new homes as a way to both distinguish them from the competition, and make usability of the sophisticated new energy systems a lot simpler. Adding square footage or gourmet kitchens isn’t enough anymore for buyers in the luxury market when there are several options to choose from.”

Smart Home Renovations

smart home theater control 4

In a recent survey conducted by Houzz, almost half of renovating homeowners say they are incorporating smart home devices in their remodel projects, citing the want to increase comfort and safety of their homes/families as key motivating factors. Among some of the more popular smart home upgrades are security systems, home theaters, climate control systems, and lighting features. Click through for a glimpse of what technologies renovating homeowners are turning to and why.

So how might this affect home value?

“A 2015 survey by Better Homes and Gardens reported that 68% of Millennials surveyed think that smart home technology is a good investment for their homes, and a recent study of buyers’ trends by the National Association of Realtors found this demographic represents the largest share of potential homebuyers.” (Click through for the story.) As of 2016, 33% of Coldwell Banker agents agreed that houses with smart home features sell faster, up dramatically from previous years. If you’re considering putting your home on the market, smart home technologies might offer the ideal solution to make your home stand out in the crowd.

Insurance Incentives for Smarter Homes

automated home security

The home technology market continues to  evolve, and the home insurance industry is taking note. Some insurers are offering discounts and incentives to those with smart home upgrades. We encourage all of our clients to talk to their insurance company to see what discounts they might be eligible for. Click here to learn what kind of discounts might be available to you.

Whether you’re looking to sell, looking to buy, or looking to upgrade—smart home technologies offer solutions that will benefit your lifestyle and your wallet for years to come.

How To Hide Your TV

For decades, design savvy homeowners have been struggling with the best way to hide their TV. Remember your mom’s “entertainment center”?

These days we have ultra thin, ultra large, cutting edge video technologies plus devices that are designed to fit any space of your home—theater, shower, kitchen, backyard. The oversized “entertainment center” no longer makes sense. So how do you enjoy stunning picture quality and rapid streaming without compromising your style? Keep reading for a lineup of ideas and design inspiration.

Disguise Your TV

One of our favorite new technologies enables you to disguise your TV as artwork or a mirror. Choose from a wide variety of styles, frames, sizes, and image overlays (including custom) for a TV that transforms into an elegant design detail when off.

Seura Vanity

FrameMy TV

Take a look at our online FrameMy TV Configurator. It allows you to input your TV model, TV size, wall color, and preferred disguise—and then visualize what it will look like in your space. Try with different mirror styles, frames, artwork, or a personal image. The tool also includes estimated budget and allows you to save, print, and/or share your design. Click through to design your display.

Vanishing TV’s

New vanishing vanity TV mirrors by Seura enable you to watch the news while brushing your teeth, and then have the image disappear entirely when not in use.

Waterproof TV’s

The latest generation of waterproof TV’s can be installed beneath kitchen cabinets, framed by tile in the shower, or installed on your patio. Take your viewing experience into new places without making every room feel like a home theater.  
Seura Shower

Hide Your TV

If you don’t mind seeing the TV but don’t want it as a focal point, thoughtful design and professional installation can help soften the look of a screen. Consider tucking it into a bookshelf or placing it on a dark wall. Click through for more tips and ideas from Houzz: “How to Hide the TV, No Cabinet Required.”

Seura Art Tv

Installation

If you’re planning a new home, device installation can be seamlessly incorporated into the building process, giving you a wide array of options and simplifying the process. If you’re looking to upgrade your TV or better disguise the one you already own, professional system design, wiring and installation will ensure that you get the most out of your video technologies without making them the centerpiece of every room.

Smart Home Technology Trends for 2017

The adoption of smart home technologies continues to rise, with nearly half of renovating homeowners (45%) incorporating smart systems or devices during their renovation projects (Houzz). We’ve seen a substantial growth in demand for intelligent home security devices such as smart doorbell cameras (up 211% from last year according to Argus Insights); our clients are asking for these on almost every installation we do today. Security systems, entertainment, lighting and climate control technologies are also showing a rapid increase in market adoption. More good news: customer satisfaction ratings are remarkably high for these technologies.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 highlights from 2016, and (our predictions for) the top five trends of 2017. Scroll down for more details.

5 Highlights: Smart Home Technology in 2016

  • Connected thermostats add comfort while dramatically reducing energy consumption within the home. Perhaps that’s why they’ve become “the single most popular smart device in a renovated home,” according to Houzz. Good thing they made our list of Top 5 Tech Trends for 2016. Our pick: Control4
  • Lighting Design has never been so elegant nor so experience driven. Set scenes to come home to. Light pathways through your home at night. The options are endless. Our pick: Lutron
  • Voice controlled devices are the star child of 2016 and made our list of Smart Home Technologies in 2017. More details below. Our pick: Amazon Alexa
  • Advancements in whole home automation systems allow homeowners to adjust lighting, music and temperature; monitor security systems; and manage home entertainment systems from one easy-to-use application. Our pick: Savant or Control4

With all the innovation, one of the biggest challenges we see is the need for homeowners to learn about and find the right technologies for their home. We know it can be overwhelming and we’re here to help. Click through for our Home Technology Guide and our easy-to-use Client Checklist. Then, give us a call.

2017 Technology Trends

You can adjust the music, lower the lighting, lock the front door, and see what’s happening on your property…all from right here. Image from Lutron.

Top 5 Smart Home Technology Trends for 2017

There’s a lot of momentum for 2017 as new technologies continue to hit the market and more comprehensive integration capabilities are developed. Here are our top 5 trends to watch in 2017.

    1. Increased partnerships across technologies allow users to cherry-pick the products that work best for them, and integrate functionality across a user friendly network. Did you know that you can now ask Alexa to check if your dryer is finished due to a collaboration with GE? Our favorite: Sonos‘ integration with Lutron
    2. “According to new report from ABI Research:  “Voice controlled smart home devices, a device category that barely existed just two years ago, is expected to represent almost 30 percent of smart home device spending by 2021” (Security Info Watch). Hear Kevin Learmann, RSI’s VP of System Consulting, speak with Modern In Denver about his experience with Alexa.
    3. Smart home security systems are on the rise, with smart doorbell cameras and smart detectors leading the way in increased demand (according to Argus Insights, see chart below). And while peepholes have always been awkward, these technologies are solving more than the puzzle of what’s outside. Get notified about fire or gas problems. Monitor and control locks wherever you are. Or, if security from intruders is your goal, big data allows for a social element to your surveillance system: you might hold the keys to solving a crime! Our pick: Doorbird (which integrates well with Control4).
    4. This might be because we live in Colorado (where we get sun 300 days/year) but the smart home technologies for outdoor living have folks stepping up their back yards for year round entertainment. Our picks: Ruckus Wireless for outdoor network connection, Sonance for outdoor audio, and Seura for outdoor TV.
    5. New 4K and HDR televisions offer unbelievable picture quality, featuring 4 times more detail than standard high definition (to be exact). The result: stunning detail, vibrant colors, and a wholly renewed viewing experience. Our pick: the Sony 4K Ultra HD TV. 

 

Want to learn more? Have a different idea for home technology trends in 2017? Reach out or visit our website. We look forward to speaking with you.

5 Ways to Make Your House Smarter, Inside and Out

Smart home technology is changing the way people interact with their homes. From simple devices, to whole-home automation systems, the latest innovations promise to make everyday living easier, more comfortable and more efficient.

But what does a smart home actually look like? Let us take you on a quick tour.


The Kitchen

smarter home

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and the perfect place to kick off our technology tour. Sure, state-of-the-art appliances are a must, but the way to really turn your kitchen into a family haven is to add automated lighting and music to the mix.

With automation systems like Savant and Control4, you can create the perfect mood with one touch on a keypad.

Need to get the kids up and energized in the morning? Open the shades, turn up the lights, and cue top 40 music. Ready to kick back and relax with a glass of wine and your friends? Close the shades, dim the lights, and cue a little Adele in the background.

All with the touch of a single button.

Sounds fun right?


The Bathroom

 

smarter home

Suera

Forget the bluetooth speaker in the corner and the mini TV perched next to the bathroom sink. Today’s smart bathroom technology includes in-mirror TVs from Seura; you can catch up on the news while brushing your teeth. Want shower tunes? Hidden speakers from Sonance provide enveloping surround sound to wake up your body and mind. Time to wind down? Seura’s waterproof TVs allow you to watch your favorite movie while soaking in the tub. 

How’s that for stepping up your wash room time?


The Bedroom

We all know the value of a good night’s sleep. Smart bedroom technologies allow you to tuck in without the late night walk through. Today’s technology gives you the option of installing a “goodnight” button to dim the bedroom lights, automatically close the shades, arm the security system, and turn off any lighting or entertainment devices throughout the rest of the house.

If you are the type to hit your snooze button a few too many times in a row, you can pre-program your lights, shades and music to turn on at a certain time. Now no one has an excuse to be late for school (or work).


The Living Room

Make family movie night at home feel like a night out at the theater. Using Control4 or Savant controls for lighting and climate, transform your living room into a cool, dark, night-out experience. With the touch of a single button you can lower the lights, choose your favorite blockbuster, and adjust the temperature all from the comfort of your couch. Now kick back with some homemade, buttery popcorn and enjoy the magic of the movies right at home.


The Backyard

Make the outdoors as comfortable as the indoors. Recreate the stadium experience or an open-air theatre with a big screen outdoor TV from Seura. Touch a button on your smartphone to turn on your fire pit and enjoy the sunset. Or, program the outdoor lights to turn on as the sun dips behind the hills. Time to get the party going? An outdoor surround sound system will take your outdoor entertaining to a whole new level.

A smart home equals better living. And the best part? Each of these systems can be installed separately or easily integrated together throughout the home.

If you’re looking to turn your house into a smart home and don’t know where to start, check out our “Getting Started” checklist.

We also offer a free in-home consultation. Our team of experts can design a system that works for your lifestyle. Give us a call at (303) 277-9983.