Just minutes from downtown and the Back Bay, Boston’s South End neighborhood is distinguished by its renowned Victorian brownstone buildings and homes. Tree-lined streets are surrounded by iron gates and shaded pocket parks. This historic district has gone through cycles of boom and bust but has recently established itself as one of Boston’s most popular and beautiful neighborhoods.
In 2021, we had the opportunity to work in one of the South End’s historic 19th-century homes, installing smart solutions while taking careful consideration throughout to preserve the historical integrity of the home. This included the design and implementation of a dedicated surround-sound media room in the basement, a sprawling private roof deck with Back Bay skyline views and ample space to entertain, and robust security and networking throughout the entire property.
One of the coolest parts of this historic home is the private rooftop garden that provides 360-degree views of downtown Boston and the surrounding areas. This homeowners wanted to take this area to the next level and create a space where they could host guests year-round, especially on Sundays to watch the New England Patriots play.
As New England is particularly prone to some extreme weather, we needed to bring smart solutions that would survive even the harshest of winters. For the television, we sourced from Samsung and their unique Terrace TV. This smart TV features a QLED 4K resolution that allows you to watch in perfect quality, even on the sunniest days. It’s the first TV in the industry to be officially verified for outdoor visibility performance by Underwriters Laboratories. Beyond the picture quality, the television is also IP55 rated to withstand water, dust, and just about anything else the outdoors can throw at it.
For the audio on the rooftop, we turned to our new partners, Leon Speakers (learn more about Leon and what they bring to the table here). Connecting to both the television and the home’s Sonos system are four Terra Luminsound outdoor speakers from Leon. These speakers bring both a sleek style and impeccable sound quality to any space, and like the Terrace TV, are rated for outdoor use.
(want to see more ways to bring smart solutions to your outdoor spaces? Check out this article on outdoor technology!)
Five floors below the rooftop garden is a dedicated media room, the design highlight of the home. Built as a collaboration with Embarc Design, the architectural mind behind the SoWa Powerstation, this media room is the perfect example of discreet technology powering a clean and sleek design.
While not strictly a home theater, we brought an immersive experience to this media room through the use of a TDG Skybar system, an Arcam Dolby Atmos receiver, and a 77” LG Smart TV, all connected to a Savant smart host.
The TDG Skybar system is a truly revolutionary way to bring surround sound to a space in a minimalistic and discreet way. Using just a soundbar above or below the TV and two satellite speakers placed on either side of the room, a full seven-channel surround-sound experience is created. Powering the system and providing the codec for the Dolby Atmos surround sound is a Arcam receiver. This acts as the hub for the television, and speakers, and connects the whole space to a Savant system. This Savant system not only controls the music and television in the space, but integrates with the home’s robust security system.
What makes a room a media room and not a home theater? Check out the major difference in our article “Home Theater vs. Media Room – What’s the Difference?”
Security is one of the most important parts of any smart home system, especially when the home isn’t being used as a primary residence. A well-built security system will allow you to keep an eye on your home and control door access even when you’re across the globe. In this home, we brought solutions from Axis (cameras) and 2N (door access) to build a robust security system. The 2N IP Verso and Axis cameras are both tied to a Savant system that integrates both into one convenient app. This allows the homeowners to see everything going on around their home, and monitor their front door.
For the 2N IP verso, we installed a convenient Bluetooth feature for access. Specific phones can be added to the door entry system so that when they approach the door, it automatically unlocks. This is a great feature for when you’re carrying in groceries or don’t want to fumble around to look for your keys.
While the owners of this historic Brownstone maintains residency out of state, they wanted this home to be set up to live in when he had to work in the city. The home was built in 1865, and the new owners of this home completely remodeled the entire building, updating it for modern living. Part of that included the installation and integration of a robust and protected network. This connects not only his IoT devices like AV and security but keeps them connected for virtual meetings and remote work.
As we often preach, a well-built network is the foundation of a good smart home. To give the owners the best network available, we installed Cisco Meraki equipment throughout the home. This included an enterprise-level system complete with an MX75 firewall and six access points for complete WiFi connectivity across all six floors of the home from the basement to the skyline rooftop. As we do with all our smart homes, we segregated the IoT devices onto their own VLAN for increased protection.
(read more about smart home cybersecurity here.)
Ready to bring some of these smart solutions to your own home? Contact us to chat with one of our smart home experts! Want to see this technology up close and personal? Schedule a time to visit us in our new Experience Lab in SoWa. Home automation is something you have to experience to truly understand the benefits of. So come check it out in person!
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