How They Did It: Personalized Luxury

| Apr 20, 2015

This 12,000-sq.-ft. residence was the family’s first custom luxury home, and it was to feature a dedicated home theater along with multiple other entertaining and living spaces.

CEDIA member Cantara of Costa Mesa, California, created an expansive control solution along with a showpiece home theater, earning the Level V Bronze Technical Design award for Integrated Home in CEDIA’s 2014 Electronic Lifestyles® Awards competition.


Along with the theater, priorities included house-wide music, an amazing game/lounge room, large pool and backyard areas, and a showcase garage. For the home theater, the client also requested a live performance stage for the two children and their friends to be able to put on puppet shows, karaoke, and other performances. They required the system to be intuitive, so Cantara chose AMX for its programming flexibility and customizability.


The AV centerpiece of the home is the home theater, featuring a live stage and professional lighting system. Equipment includes a DPI 3D Titan projector, Stewart Filmscreen 185” diagonal 2.35:1 native masking screen, and a large-scale speaker system from Genelec which follows the design guidelines for the room size.

The professional stage lighting system includes multiple layers of light, a hazing system, and the ability to recall over 50 different scenes. Audio and video calibrations exceeding industry standards were performed in partnership with the respective manufacturers.

Throughout the house, a total of 10 Triad subwoofers support 79 total Sonance VP series speakers to provide a seamless atmosphere of music in every space of the home. Outdoor spaces feature Sonance’s SLS outdoor audio system in three independent audio zones along with three outdoor TVs.

Each audio zone was calibrated both in the built-in AMX EQ and in the turn-on volume throughout the house. Each zone turns on to 68dB for the perfect background volume level and least amount of daily user intervention to set levels. All the client has to do for hearing music in 1 to 30 zones is press a maximum of 4 buttons on a touch panel. Cantara even created custom curated Pandora music channels for the clients, such as “Her House Tour” (French Provencal music), “His Garage Tour” (classic rock and R&B), and “Alone Together” (‘40s, ‘50s and early ‘60s jazz).

The video distribution system consists of an 8x16 AMX HDMI matrix switcher connected to 13 displays. Custom-programmed buttons in the lower game room automatically turn on the three 80” Sharp LED displays to three preset sports channels and turn on Pandora music throughout the entertaining level. The system also controls all 10 HVAC zones, the Jandy pool and spa system, doors and gates, security, cameras, outdoor heaters, and Vantage-controlled indoor and outdoor lighting.


One specific challenge was in integrating the Daikon-based HVAC zones into the AMX control system. This allowed the client to control all HVAC zones using the same interface as if they were all from the same manufacturer. Since the Daikon systems don’t communicate via IP, RS-232/485 or BACnet, Cantara searched across the world until they found a firm in Australia that makes a custom AMX interface that effectively “hacks” the Daikon protocol and allows third-party systems to communicate and control.


This project represents a true integrated home. Other than Vantage keypads, the owners and guests do not interact with any subsystem devices and instead control everything via AMX. Cantara also created six custom-programmed scenes that were carefully scripted with input from the clients. These scenes transform the entire home with a single button press; for example, “Elegant Evening” turns fireplaces on, tunes the Pandora streaming audio to Romantic Jazz, sets Vantage lighting to an elegant house-wide lighting scene, turns pool lights on, and turns TVs off.


Cantara collaborated extensively with the interior designer and general contractor to make the technology both visually and atmospherically in-tune with the house. Their 24” x 36” drawings span over 25 pages, covering TV pocket dimensions, every system schematic, multiple pages of theater layouts, and lighting analysis, which are then updated at the end of the project to As-Built condition, and are finally archived to support many years of after care.

Finally, as part of every project, Cantara undergoes a final phase called “Personalizations” in which they work with the client to finesse the control system to truly be personalized to their family’s habits and lifestyle.


Home Technology Professional
Costa Mesa, California

David Pierce Hohmann
Costa Mesa, California

Glass Construction
Irvine, California

Interior Designer
Bliss Design Firm
Corona Del Mar, California

Specialty Consultant
Red Fish Illuminations
Newnan, GeorgiaThis 12,000-sq.-ft. residence was the family’s first custom luxury home, and it was to feature a dedicated home theater along with multiple other entertaining and living spaces.