Tech Me Home Tonight

Tech Tour

Name: Chris Perez - House.0 Location: Austin, Texas Size: 360 square feet (20' x 18') Years lived in: 4 years

Thanks for hopping aboard the Tech Tour bus. Today we'll be dropping you off at House.0 located in the Silicon Hills of Austin, Texas. The two engineers that call this place home are keeping-it-weird with technology. From the massive Panasonic VT30 display to the 7.1 KEF surround speakers, everything in this space is geared toward providing a top-notch theatre experience. Super-modern, super-cool, and super teched out. We dive in...

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One thing you can't ignore in this space is the IKEA Besta cabinet and Framsta wall panel combination featuring the top of the line, I'm-too-sexy-for-a-stand, Panasonic VT30.

The display complements the white and glossy black motif of the entertainment center perfectly.  And as a whole the entire setup looks to be cut out straight from a designer catalog (who knew IKEA could look so suave?). Look up and you'll see that this room means business with 4 KEF satellite speakers mounted to the ceiling, ready to immerse you in 7.1 surround sound goodness...

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Everything was well thought out to look minimal, but offer unexpected functionality. Like this cool Occa coffee table from Bo-Concept, featuring panels that close neatly to store magazines and accessories or fold-out as serving trays while you're watching the tube.
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Want some wine or champagne with that popcorn? Then look no further than the integrated wine cabinet built into the entertainment center with stackable OXO acrylic wine racks.
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Everything in the space just flows together for a feel that is both modern and comfortable, making "House.0" an inviting space to live and entertain from.

AT Survey
My Style - One word. Modern. I really love the whole design ethos and when done right, the result is timeless. It's good to see that more and more companies are seeming to 'get it' by releasing simple, functional pieces that have that subtle but striking design edge.

Inspiration - Blogs, Magazines, Shopping Malls, Home Tours...you name it. I get inspiration from everywhere and in Austin there seems to be a lot of modern design in public buildings and civic centers.  I could be doing something as trivial as getting a bite of delicious Austin food, notice an interesting design element and get inspired to bring that effect into our home.

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Favorite Element - Definitely the Entertainment Center (or big wall of IKEA).  My wife and I consider that a piece of art after we labored over 3 weeks to get it assembled and fitted with all the tech gear inside.  It just grabs your attention when you walk-in and really classes up the place.

Biggest Challenge in designing space - We live in an older home and it has a lot of quirks that rear their ugly head when we do any kind of remodeling effort.  Dating from 1971, this room wasn't built with a home theatre in mind (did they even have TV's then?)  So the biggest challenge was probably installing the ceiling mounted speakers.  I had to climb into a super small space in the attic, stretched out across my stomach, to drill holes, route wire, and anchor the speakers.  That scratchy pink insulation got everywhere and its definitely not something I'd like to do again.

What Friends Say - "$ (money)." "Real Deal." "Not messing around." They have quite a wide array of sayings that express their approval.  They're usually shocked that the center is from IKEA, and impressed with all the streaming and networking capabilities built into the system.  There's often a request to demo the display equipment and the VT30 doesn't disappoint.

Proudest DIY (do-it-yourself) Project - The Besta cabinet entertainment center, by far. Planning that and picking out which pieces to buy was a chore in itself.  We drew up all the cabinets IKEA sold in Google Sketchup, and moved things around virtually to see what fit best in our space.  We then loaded our cars with boxes and boxes of things, and spent 3 weeks hacking speaker wire holes, cable drops, vents, etc.  Our biggest DIY project we've tackled by ourselves, so far. (For more details on that project see housepoint0.com).

Biggest Indulgence - The TV.  I had a 60" Panny before that lasted me 7 years, so I didn't mind splurging again on another Panasonic especially one touted as best display of 2011.  I got plenty of 3D gear too, so that my friends can get in on the action.  Can't wait for Transformer 3 in 3D to come out.  I think that's going to be my ultimate demo disc.

Area where there is room for improvement / future projects - We have a bar area off to the side of the living area (not pictured for a reason).  Its original to the house and looks a little beat-up, so its definitely in need of a reboot.  We've got ideas for finishing it out with a wine fridge, built-in espresso machine and full wet bar with sink.  Just got to get around to it, so check back next year.

Best Advice about organizing or incorporating tech into the home - Think ahead. Most things you buy off-the-shelf aren't made with your needs in mind.  You really got to think where are wires going to go?  where are components going?  how are they going to be controlled? and how is it all going to interconnect and work together?  You also need to plan on leaving room for upgrades and expansion.  This is especially true for something mounted to the wall like our entertainment center, because no one is going to want to take it all apart to add a new gadget.

Dream Source - Anything featured in the pages of Objekt or Wallpaper magazine.  They always showcase some really cool, but too high-dollar for me furniture pieces and accessories crafted by the most talented modern designers.  The pieces are often ingenious works of art in themselves and it'd be amazing to have a house showcasing that caliber of product.

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Resources Tech Hardware
  • 65" Panasonic VT30
  • KEF KHT 3000 5.1 Channel Speaker System in gloss black
  • 2 additional KEF HTS 3001 Satellite Speakers in gloss black
  • Denon 891 Receiver
  • Playstation 3
  • Panasonic BDT-110
  • Logitech Harmony One
  • Logitech Harmony IR Extender Kit
  • Nintendo Wii
  • DirecTV HR22 & AM21
  • Belkin PureAV PF30 power filter

Furniture & Accessories

  • IKEA Besta Cabinets
  • IKEA Framsta Wall Panels
  • Bo Concept Occa table in Wenge
  • Bo Concept Quattro Sofa in Microfiber White
  • OXO Wine Shelves in clear acrylic
  • Jonathan Adler Lucky Strike pillow
  • West Elm bird bottle opener
  • Chiasso vases

Photos by Chris Perez

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