Luxury Integrated Home: Inspiring, Intuitive and Welcoming

This multiple award-winning homes in Cheshire won no less than 6 awards at the CEDIA 2020 awards including the coveted title of ‘Global Best Integrated Home’ – essentially crowned as the best integrated home in the world in 2020.

This project also won:

  • Best Integrated Home Level 3 EMEA
  • Best Lighting EMEA
  • Best Dressed Rack EMEA
  • Best Documentation EMEA
  • Life Lived Best at Home awards EMEA

The impressive install includes a show-stopping integrated lighting system with over 250 circuits, motorised window treatments for large floor to ceiling glazing in most rooms, a high-performance AV system, a statement loudspeaker system for the main lounge, two focused media spaces, and intuitive yet discreet control. It also includes a virtual skylight to add the feeling of natural light into an area of the home that felt too dark – one of only two to be installed in UK  residences at the time of install.  A comprehensive cable infrastructure ensures the property is as future-ready as possible.

The property features a large number of motorised blind and curtain systems in all rooms. SONA worked hand-in-hand with the main contractor to develop an approach where all blinds were installed in recessed sections of the ceilings, with colour matched cover plates. Where the curtain tracks were fitted into plaster-in profiles, the track sits completely flush with the ceiling finish. Even though the blinds and curtains cover extremely large windows, you don’t notice the blinds or tracks themselves.

An amazing ‘dancing’ water feature on the main patio area is also controlled so the client can select feature sequences. The entire property features underfloor heating control, with towel radiator circuits in the en-suite bathrooms. To maintain the desired aesthetic throughout, we specified a system using in-floor and very discreet flush in-wall temperature sensors, reporting back to central thermostats and manifold controllers.

Setting the tone

The aim of every one of SONA’s projects is to enhance the living space. While tech adds value and convenience, we ultimately want to improve our clients’ lives – which is just what we managed to achieve with this luxury integrated home.

Having worked with this client on two previous homes, we had a clear vision of exactly what they’d need. We held preliminary meetings to discuss their goals, both in terms of aesthetic and performance.

The goals

Every client’s need is different. They may want better security, more intuitive tech, or simply a space to entertain. With this client, we identified five key needs:

  • A simple, discreet operating platform
  • A lighting system that was both open-plan and intimate
  • Floor to ceiling glazing with motorised window treatments
  • An artificial skylight
  • Full integration across all systems in and outdoors.

The house

We benefitted from a contemporary architectural design, featuring a coffered ceiling that could accommodate white and colour change lighting. We needed it to be open and airy, but also cosy when required. It was imperative that all systems were discreet and intuitive. We based our installation decisions on high-performance, non-intrusive technology.

Room by room: inside

Subtlety and convenience united every room. For example, we installed motorised blinds and curtain systems across the board, with some fitting windows over 5m in length. The blind and tracks are totally invisible, while 20mm flush in-wall temperature sensors facilitate underfloor heating throughout.

The house now features 23 audio zones, delivered through subtle in-ceiling speakers in every room but the snug. Likewise, in all rooms but the snug and study, custom mirror glass frames completely conceal television sets. In the snug, the set hides behind a distressed timber feature wall.

We installed coloured lighting in key rooms including the gym and pool, each controlled by one simple colour scroll option. The owners can now program a ‘good morning’ setting in the kitchen, which spurs the lighting and television set into action.

Relaxing and entertaining

Every room features a fibre-optic video system with 4K distribution and OLED displays. The study uses an interactive touchscreen for video calls.

We wanted our clients to relax and entertain with ease. In both the snug and master bedroom, we installed 5.1 surround systems to create a ‘media room’ effect, with cleverly concealed subwoofers that use sound correction technology. The snug now features a 77” television – a total transformation complemented by a set of custom metallic gold speakers.

In the pool and gym area, intuitive lighting keypads trigger audio video systems, helping to control televisions and lighting remotely.

Perfection, night and day

Winter days are made cosy thanks to towel radiator circuits in all ensuite bathrooms, while our clients will have no trouble waking up thanks to the ‘good morning’ setting. We installed coloured lighting to mimic the reds of the rising sun, which then fade out once again as the sun sets.

The real pièce de résistance, of course – and one of the only installations of its kind outside of London – is the master bedroom artificial skylight by Coelux. This recreates a clear blue Mediterranean sky with an uplifting sun/moonlight tint, creating the perfect scene whatever the weather. The skylight also offers an “infinite distance” effect – moving with you as you walk underneath.

Taking it outdoors

Security was absolutely imperative for a home of this value. While a separate supplier provided the CCTV security system, we integrated it into the home’s overall functionality. We installed magnetic sensors to provide open and closed feedback to the alarm system. Our client can leave the house safe in the knowledge that they’ll be informed if a window is left open.

For ultimate privacy, the property features two exterior intercom panels with audio and video. Guests can call on the keypad, and the client can answer through their mobile device or iPad.

Our comprehensive wireless network extended out into an innovative ‘garden room’. Users can customise a ‘glazed winter garden’ scene at the touch of a button, which is visible through glazed walls and can change colour. Even the outdoor dancing fountains can be programmed to play in time with music and lighting settings.

Bringing it all together

From relaxed master bedroom ambience to a thumping nightclub atmosphere, we managed to blend a number of scenarios in one fully integrated home.

With our client’s discerning functionality needs, it was up to us to provide non-intrusive, intuitive solutions. Every integrated system can be controlled through iPads, which are available on wall-mounted docking stations throughout the property.

Our client can program lighting, window treatments, heating, CCTV and audio-visual settings through one simple interface. They can even set up ‘party rooms’ remotely if they wish. For added convenience, we provided hand-held remotes. Every single piece of tech is hidden through clever integrations, be they coffered ceilings, built-in speakers or televisions masked behind walls.

Users can take full control of the entire property, or leave our installations on their automated settings. For example, the snug offers automated events that configure the best sound system based on the time of day, integrating fully with automated blinds.

This might all sound overwhelming, but thanks to a simple, visual control interface, there’s no need to read a manual. We can also offer tech support remotely, helping to protect the client’s privacy.

Congratulations to SONA for a stunning achievement at this year’s CEDIA Awards, which recognise the finest in the design and installation of home technology. Simon and the team should be extremely proud, scooping an unbelievable six awards, including a prestigious Global Award. Despite 2020 being a very different year for us all, SONA and its clients have much to celebrate!

Matt Nimmons, Managing Director, CEDIA

A total transformation

Working with a large space and high expectations, we were able to transform the property into a 21st Century haven. The client is thrilled with the result – a perfect utopia of relaxation, entertainment spaces, health and wellness, and productivity.

The home has won 6 awards at the 2020 CEDIA Awards and continues to take pride of place as one of our proudest projects, bagging us the Global Best Integrated Home award.