How They Did It: The I's Have It

Ed Wenck | Feb 04, 2021


It’s quite an accomplishment to win more than one CEDIA Award for a single project.

It’s something else entirely to win six.

That’s precisely what the UK firm SONA managed to do with their project called “The I’s Have It,” which won Best Integrated Home, Level III (EMEA), Best Integrated Home (Global); and trophies for Best Lighting, Best Dressed Racks, Best Documentation, and Life Lived Best at Home in the EMEA region. (The home was also a finalist in the Technology Meets Design category.)

SONA founder Simon Fulstow explains that one attribute of the project’s success was the fact that the client was a repeat customer. It made the discovery process smooth: “They come to that meeting with a very clear idea of what it is they're trying to achieve, which makes our life actually a whole lot easier.”

Lights and Shades

The final result includes an integrated lighting system with over 250 circuits. Fulstow says, “This client was keen to push each of the individual technologies as far as he could. So the lighting control system in this project was huge, and a lot of that came from our discussions. He’d respond to a suggestion: ‘if you're telling me it's possible, just what can we do with it?’ And as a result, we've got hundreds of actions happening off a single touch of a button in some cases.”

There’s a lot of work in the shades and blinds, here, too, says Fulstow. “I think every window in his property has motorized blinds and/or curtains. Although this was a new build project, we were brought in after the main structure was put up and a lot of the steel was in place, so we then had to work quite closely with the main contractors to try and integrate lines into window headers and window reveals.”


AV Solutions

The property is full of sound, says Fulstow. “I think there's 78 in-ceiling speakers -- something in that region.” Audio was a challenge in the spacious rooms in the home. “Regardless of the size or the quantity, we tried to take an approach of having a greater number of smaller speakers generally to give us a more consistent sound coverage across a room. It’s not a great space, acoustically, lots of glass, lots of hard floors, so it was important we had some control over the DSPs so that we were able to adjust those almost room by room.” A Crestron Sonic System was a big part of that solution. The home also features a set of “statement” speakers: a pair of top-of-the-line Meridian DSP8000s.

As for video, the heart of the system is “a modular 16x16 chassis with fiber output cards, so every TV has a fiber receiver behind it,” says Fulstow. “We actually used the PoE of the switches to power the fiber video receiver, so behind each TV there’s basically a PoE splitter that then powers the receiver, and that then gives us the ability should we need it to remotely reboot that receiver.” There’s no dedicated home cinema here, but several media rooms with 5.1 systems.


Dancing Water

Adding more visual delights, an amazing “dancing water” feature on the main patio area is controlled via sixteen outlets with custom programming, so the client can select feature sequences. There’s also a stunning artificial skylight with a massive infrastructure. “The box that powers it is three meters wide by four meters long by I think over a meter tall; it weighs a half a ton or a third of a ton, this thing,” says Fulstow. The entire property features underfloor heating control, with towel radiator circuits in the en-suite bathrooms. To maintain the desired aesthetic throughout, SONA provided a system using in-floor and discreet, flush, in-wall temperature sensors, all of which report back to central thermostats and manifold controllers.

While Fulstow knew that this project was special as the integration unfolded, the recognition it’s received – particularly that Global, “best-of-the-best award” – clearly had a profound impact on the entire company.

“I can't really put it into words, but it’s amazing, and I’m very, very proud of our team.”

For the complete equipment list for this project, check out their awards page at cediaawards.org.