How They Did It: The Disco House

Ed Wenck | Oct 31, 2019

The interior design of this London property — “The Disco House” — was inspired by the style of Italian socialite, Marella Agnelli of the Fiat empire, who loved to party. This is rather apt, as the home has given UK-based home technology integrator (and CEDIA Member of Excellence) Perfect Integration plenty of reasons to celebrate — they won two CEDIA EMEA Awards 2019 for their work on it: Integrated Home Level 1 and Technology Meets Design.

A speculative development, The Disco House was to be fully furnished and marketed as a turnkey property with a target sale price just shy of £10 million ($12.8 million USD). The systems had to be programmed so as to help show off both the interior design and the technology during viewings by estate agents and potential buyers.

One of the other key considerations was that the technology needed to be fully integrated and installed as discreetly as possible, but where it had to be seen, it was imperative that it complemented the interior of the home.

There were challenges to overcome — Perfect Integration was working pn a strict budget and their brief was to offer complete functionality from day one, but with an easy means of upgrading the technology should the buyer wish to personalize and expand the system at a later date.

Internal space was relatively limited, so the AV racks had to be installed in a cleverly hidden, ventilated cupboard on one of the half landings.

The house is very tall and part of a narrow-end terrace, which means that natural light is quite restricted, so lighting control — both artificial and natural — was a primary consideration, as was privacy. With this in mind, Perfect Integration chose and installed a Lutron HomeWorks QS lighting and shading control system, along with the latest Palladiom keypads.

The finish of each keypad was chosen to blend into (or complement) the wall that it was mounted on, and the number of buttons on each keypad were kept to a minimum to allow intuitive control of all the automated systems.

PIR sensors are used for motion sensing in key areas, while Lutron QS roller blinds were installed within hidden pockets, built into the top of the window reveals in the master bedroom, master en-suite, and snug/library.

A Creston control system is used to integrate the whole house, with one touchscreen on each floor, which acts as a video entry station and heating control point for that level. Supplementary control was provided via a whole house iPad/iPhone app.

Security is taken care of by an IP CCTV system, which was fitted to provide coverage of the front door and lightwell. It can be viewed on the touchscreens inside the house.

Amina invisible speakers are used in all the principal areas, with small Amina subwoofers discreetly installed in the walls or joinery.

In the basement, there is a leisure area, with a gym and spa, as well as a cinema, which doubles as a poker room.

The cinema was delivered on a very tight budget — the JVC projector is hidden in the ceiling and operated via a twin mirror system, while the Projecta screen is concealed behind a heavy curtain when not in use.

There is a small garden to the rear of the property — outside speakers are tucked away in the planters.

As the property was part of a development, the whole system had to be programmed with a marketing mode, which automatically presents the house and its features in the best possible light during viewings.

Due to the high turnover of estate agents, it also needed to be fully automated. On pressing the welcome button on the front door Lutron keypad, the lights throughout the property all switch on to a setting which highlights the room and what it has to offer.

At the same time, the Crestron system primes the cinema room by switching on the projector, which takes 90 seconds to warm up, and triggers a Blu-ray player, pausing a movie at a dramatic scene. Low-level classical music plays out of all the speakers in the rooms where there are no TVs.

As the real estate agent and potential buyers enter certain rooms, ceiling-mounted PIR sensors operate various features — in the master bedroom, a sliding panel opens, a TV appears, and motorized blinds silently close. On entry to the bathroom, the PIR triggers the lights to fade on, along with the music, and the blind closes.

In the basement, the PIR sensor in the spa area switch on a plunge pool function and underwater lighting, while, in the cinema, the projector mirror drops down, the curtain opens, the blackout blind closes, and the screen shows an impressive scene from a movie.

At the end of the viewing, a single press of the “goodbye” button switches everything off and the property reverts to its unoccupied state.
5 Welbeck Street
London, W1G 9YQ
United Kingdom

Equipment List:
Bowers & Wilkins cinema speakers
Future Automation
KNX from ABB, GIRA, Theben and Zennio

Middle Atlantic
Wall Smart