A smart Control4 fuelled woodland wonderland

Control4 helps homeowners make the most of their time away from work by creating a relaxing, restful atmosphere amid a private, wooded landscape in this beautiful part of Finland.

Looking for an occasional escape from the workweek rigors, the owners of this chic, contemporary home chose a private wooded lot on which to build their ultimate getaway. Here, they would be able to soak in the beauty of the natural surroundings and return to the city refreshed and invigorated. The restful location of the home was only one piece of their relaxation plan, however. The vibe inside the home would need to be just as carefree.

“The homeowners wanted something that would make their well-deserved time off as easy to enjoy as possible,” says Sami Kainulainen, a technology integrator at Digisahko Oy in Helsinki, Finland. That ‘something’ would take shape over the course of several weeks, as a full suite of smart home products and systems from Snap One were expertly designed and installed into the new home.

Diligent in their approach to the project, the Digisahko Oy team met with the owners’ project manager to discuss the myriad options available, making sure to coordinate with the architect and owners through each phase of design and construction. Lighting was high on the list, as was the whole-house audio. From there the ideas grew to include motorised TV lifts, window shades, and an entry gate, as well as automated geothermal and heat pump systems, remotely accessible surveillance cameras, security sensors, electronic door locks and a state-of-the-art home cinema.

The operation of this broad assortment of tech would all be managed and orchestrated by a single home automation platform from Control4, part of the Snap One family. Because most of the project line items are part of Snap One’s diverse home tech ecosystem, they’ve been validated to work well together, which helped streamline the installation process and afforded the owners the assurance of a rock solid and reliable automation system. “Having that peace of mind was priceless to them, and we’re able to provide it by procuring products from a single, reputable source that’s been in the business for many years,” Sami says.

Brand longevity certainly influenced Digisahko Oy’s approach to this bells-and-whistles project. Having installed Control4-enabled smart systems for more than a decade, the team were familiar with the system’s capabilities and felt confident pushing them to the max. Control4 goes to work, prepping the house for the owners’ return, even before they leave their primary residence. A Control4 4Sight app on their smartphones provides remote access to all Control4 connected devices so they can set the DALI-networked lights, thermostats, Somfy motorised shades, and other parts of their home for their return.

“One of their favourite app-enabled features, however, is the motorised gate at the property entrance,” says Sami. “Ordinarily, they’d have to wait several seconds after pressing a button on a keypad for the gate to slowly swing open. With 4Sight they can command the gate to open on their approach so it’s completely open and they can drive through with no waiting involved.”

The smart experiences continue at the house, where a Control4 door station, three 10in touchscreens and several handheld remotes stand ready to grant the owners’ every wish. Digisahko Oy simplified the process by creating several custom ‘scene’ buttons. Instead of pressing several buttons to prepare the home theater for movie watching, for example, the owners need only tap a single Movie button on any of the Control4 user interfaces to rev up the DreamVision video projector, lower the 100in Elite Screens projection screen from housing in the ceiling, and activate the Marantz AV receiver. Arrival, departure, morning, bedtime and other routines are handled similarly.

Ease of use

“The owners really don’t have to think about how or when to adjust the settings of the integrated systems. Control4 handles it all through its customisable control software,” Sami remarks. “If the owners want to tweak the settings, like dimming the lights a little lower for the movie scene, the Control4 software is friendly enough to permit it, although at this point, all the settings, scenes, and controls are just right. “There’s usually some degree of experimentation that needs to happen when homeowners’ initially start using a control system; Control4 makes it easy to adjust and modify to perfection,” Sami says.

Another point of satisfaction is how well the technology blends with the home’s minimalist interior design. The Snap One portfolio offers many options so that no matter what a home’s design intent, there’s a technology that suits it, says the company. For example, the built-to-order Triad speakers in the Snap One family go unnoticed in the home cinema, having been installed flush with the ceiling surface and covered with a matching grille. In other rooms, TVs remain hidden until motorised TV lifts from Future Automation raise them into view from underneath the floor inside cabinetry. To maintain a clean, uncluttered aesthetic, touch panels and keypads are recessed into walls, water and CO₂ sensors are well hidden, and Triad outdoor speakers are tucked within the landscape.

All-inclusive automation coupled with aesthetic integration provides the complete package for the owners of this remarkably low-key smart home – almost. The icing on the cake, according to Sami, is the ability for the systems to be actively managed, monitored, and serviced remotely by Digisahko Oy’s team of technicians. Should a system fall off-line, Snap One’s OvrC platform lets the techs diagnose and remediate the issue quickly and transparently without having to visit the home.

“The owners may not even realise all the important work OvrC does in the background, but it’s crucial to the overall operation of their home automation system,” Sami says. “Snap One provides us with all the elements to give our clients a complete, end-to-end automation solution.”

Whether it’s during the commute to and from their retreat, while enjoying a movie, entertaining guests or taking in the scenery, Snap One’s smart, integrated products are ready, willing and available to enhance every aspect of their lifestyle.

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