Sunday, November 17, 2013

Super sleek lighting, smart home systems and hidden sound in Orange County

Linda and Jerry Hanrahan, the owners of Energy Plus, took Jessica and I to Orange County this past week to learn the latest on the residential smart home, lighting and sound scene.  Energy Plus is a local Sonoma County lighting wholesaler and designer, with whom we work on pretty much all projects requiring lighting.

The next morning we got a tour at Sonance, an audio product developer and wholesaler.  It was pretty cool to learn not only about in-wall speakers, but speakers that were plastered and painted or wall papered over, aptly called their "Invisible series".  Not only are they recessed into the wall, but they are plastered and painted (or wall-papered) over, so there is no way of knowing where the speakers actually were unless they were turned on and you were standing right next to them! Cool!!! (Just make sure you've got a drawing of where they actually are, so you don't try to accidentally hang a picture or install a shelf right over them...)  Honestly, we were skeptical at first! I mean, how is that even possible? How would the sound not be muffled? And would there not be cracks developing?  But, surprisingly, it sounded awesome! Crisp, clear, a full spectrum of sound. It something to be heard to believe.  They had several rooms dedicated just to listening to their various products. It’s true that you don’t know how bad your average sound is until you have heard the real good stuff…

Their other cool  product line was Trufig. They have figured out ways to completely camouflage pesky things like outlets, switch plates and diffusers for heating and air-conditioning  ducts).    After working on creating beautiful spaces, who wants all this technology to spoil the picture?

The finished outlet box gets installed after all of the construction is completed and is held in place by magnets!  And, as you can see, it be customized to match your wall finish perfectly. The only thing is, as with the invisible speakers, that your outlets might be so well hidden, that you'll have to go hunt for them if you're not sure where they are...

We also liked the sleek hvac diffusers.  Gone are the days of those tin atrocities that were undoubtedly designed by a legally blind German mechanical engineer, and while functional,  they are rather, well, ugly. Trufig has a variety of different patterns, that can be customized to any length, can be painted to match your wall and will meet all the California building code requirements.

Later the same day we were hosted by Bruck Lighting for an informational seminar on the latest in LED technology.  Beautiful products matched by brilliant use of technology.  Tremendous color and design options and with the tiny scale of the LED the possibilities s of incorporating  into design projects is staggering.
  The owner of Bruck, Alex Ladjevardi, took our group out to a wonderful meal and entertained us with his charm and insight about starting this American company by importing the best of European lighting.  Today any of Bruck's products are truly reflective of the American melting pot; metals forged in China, handblown glass blown in Italy and Austria, and designed right here in the USA.

The next day we found ourselves at Lutron's headquarter to tour "The  Experience Center".  Never realized just how "un Smart" our own home is.  Truly to the age of George Jetson, where with the touch of a key, you pick your environment, be that "entertaining", "reading", "sleep", etc..  All personalized to your preferences with the lighting and shade systems automatically programmed to that create that atmosophere.  Additionally for second homeowners, the "smart" house becomes truly brilliant, in that your home away form home can be warmed or cooled (let alone well lit and safe), hours before your arrival through the touch of your own online app.  Amazing!  We are encouraged to bring interested clients down for their own tour, so if inclined....