In this issue, find out how an immense home can encapsulate quality, reliability and simplicity for music-loving clients, as well as how to optimize technology for aging in place. Plus, hear from celebrity designer Thom Filicia on his inspirations and challenges and learn how to succeed when the supply chain disappoints.


When I think of fall these days, I don’t just think of colorful leaves or pumpkin spice — also the crazy, wonderful schedule of shows and travel comes to mind. Especially for the staff at Connected Design, we’re often found in airports, on tradeshow floors and in press rooms this time of year. It’s fun and exhausting at the same time, which makes coming back to our home office spaces even more enjoyable. 

That’s why in this issue we’re highlighting home office tech and design trends. Remote work isn’t going away anytime soon, so help your clients make the most of it by implementing the best for these spaces. 

Our installations in our Fall issue were handpicked for their sense of style and the unique tech and logistical challenges behind them. Learn from an aging-in-place designer how technology can impact the lives of seniors in one, and in another, find out how one integrator took a budget-friendly approach to a dated home theater renovation. Lastly, delve into our cover story’s beautiful design and its hidden music technology. 

Thank you for reading Connected Design.

Erinn Loucks, Editor in Chief, Connected Design

Erinn Loucks Signature

Erinn Loucks, Chief Editor, Connected Design


I am so excited that Fall 2022 is here, and that we will be going to a CEDIA filled with that excitement. As I speak to many companies, they reveal that they are exhibiting at CEDIA and looking forward to showing their latest innovations. Make sure you read our CEDIA preview in this issue. All I can say is that I am already loving the energy!

Our Fall issue will be front and center at CEDIA, with a look at art and tech. In addition, we cover audio for the home office as well and how this can make your working area a delight.

In our designer spotlight, we interview Thom Filicia (formerly of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”) He is an Emmy-winning designer and a published author who will give us his perspective on design and tech. We will also take you virtually to Berlin, to review the latest in smart home from the IFA show floor. And additionally in these pages, contributor Maryellen Oswald will provide a look at “Women on the Rise” in our industry. 

Please also make sure to take the time to review the amazing installations we are featuring this month. They are among the finest examples of the harmonious marriage possible between tech and design. Speaking of this marriage, I am pleased to announce an in-person celebration of same, with our first Connected Design event in NYC on October 12th — Connected Design Presents ‘Design Meets Tech’ — an event exclusively for the design community.  

Warmest regards, 

Tony Signature

Tony Monteleone, Group Publisher CT Lab Global Media


Music that Looks as Good as It Sounds

An interview with Leon Speaker’s Noah Kaplan

By Chris Smith, TheCoTeam

It’s a privilege to have friendships with industry veterans and all around characters. One of my favorites (and known character) is Noah Kaplan of Leon Speakers. I sat down for a conversation about the intersection of design and performance.

Chris Smith: When you thought about starting Leon Speakers, in terms of design did you see a void around aesthetics and making things in a space truly beautiful? 

Noah Kaplan: I was a full-time artist working on commissions, graphic design and design for the gallery space. Leon Speakers was always about the intersection of art and audio. As we designed speakers, I considered what was available in the market. It was all gloss black, shiny objects! Nothing was interesting, made of natural materials, felt authentic, possessed interesting design, had modern design principles, customization, or thinking about how they’re going to fit into the home. This is not what people want! 

Smith: You talk quite a lot about natural materials, customization, and well built objects that fit someone’s lifestyle, as opposed to merely just buying off-the-shelf products that happen to sit in a space.  

Kaplan: As an artist I’m working for clients who care about design. I couldn’t imagine installing something that wasn’t up to a certain level in a luxury home — or any home! Think of the art itself; you get to choose a custom frame and where it’s going to go in the house. Now let’s look at a speaker. What are the materials? What kind of quality is it? If I am putting this in my home for 20 years or more, it better be great! 

I also became interested in what was happening with video. Sound is complemented by video and vice versa. When flat panel TVs came out, I imagined how much time people were spending in front of screens. I asked, if we’re going to be looking at this thing, what can we do to make it sound right AND feel like it’s a beautiful object — a luxury object? It should be bespoke, built for that exact customer, space and application. It wasn’t being done, so we did it!

Smith: Why are bespoke solutions not a natural part of a conversation between most integrators and architects?

Kaplan: These are custom creations requiring interior designers, assemblers and architects. Integrators are really amazing technologists and enthusiasts but definitely not interior designers. To be fair, the electrician isn’t picking the light fixtures either. 

Smith: How do we create the language and process whereby it becomes integral to how they work with the client, architect and designer?

Kaplan: Immerse yourself in design, pick up design magazines, learn about modern architects, know about art, furniture and the general culture of design. We know the name of every speaker company. Do you know the name of every furniture designer, architecture firm or fine artist? It’s a completely new palette of companies and there’s a lot to learn from each.

Next, collaborate. At Leon we work with designers and architects — we don’t just design in a bubble. We have interior designers and architects designing the products with us, if not for us! Build relationships to assist the design discussion.

Finally, how are you listening to the client? It’s not intuitive for most people, but that’s not to say they wouldn’t love it if they had it, had seen it, or been given an opportunity to buy it. 

Smith: Do you think we are focusing energy on appropriate aspects of the projects?

Kaplan: Let’s focus on where the pride and craftsmanship is displayed. Our industry has so much pride in how the rack is wired. I completely appreciate and love this as a craftsperson, but given how little someone looks at a rack (especially the back of it), we should take equal, if not more pride in the aesthetic and craftsmanship of the more-often-seen aspects of the technology experience. We just did a project where the customer was able to choose from our huge palette of products. Once he saw what was possible, he ordered almost everything we made. Custom TV frames for the TVs, custom speakers to match, interior speakers, recessed products — all the colors. You know what was interesting? He didn’t choose black for a single product!

Smith: Talk to me about the design opportunities outdoors.

Kaplan: I don’t know if everyone understands just how beautiful an object can be, especially when it’s timeless and going to live outside forever. Then you start choosing color palettes based on regions. We consulted with landscape architects to get the best mix of colors and tones. We wanted to go beyond colors and make these objects sculptural, so we worked with a master designer. And we didn’t stop at sound; we also wanted to integrate lighting, so we partnered with lighting manufacturers. These options can have an amazing impact on your space.

Chris Smith is the principal and founder of TheCoTeam. Bringing 20 years of industry experience to the custom installation space, they Coach | Consult | Collaborate with integrators and manufacturers to solve problems and run a more efficient business.



Setting Up the Home Office to Sound its Best

Creating the perfect home office with high performance audio

By Randy Blanchard

The corporate landscape has shifted dramatically in recent years, relocating office cubicles to spare rooms and kitchen tables. As customers shift to this new reality, there’s a new soundtrack playing in the background of the workdays. Instead of hearing a neighboring co-worker, they hear the sound of children banging on the door, dogs barking to be let inside, or a partner asking “What’s for dinner?” at one in the afternoon. Sub-par audio quality turns crucial Zoom meetings into a game of interruptions: “Can you hear me?” and “You’re breaking up,” have become the refrain of everyday work-from-home life. 

Sound is the true soul of communication. When it breaks down, everyone is left feeling frustrated and unproductive. Although remote work has its challenges, one of the best things about working from home is the ability to create an office space to the homeowner’s preferences. A high-quality audio experience is essential to their productivity and the ability to collaborate effectively with clients and colleagues. There are technological steps we can take to dramatically improve the home office sound environment. 

Sounding Off 

I frequently hear people complain that their home environment is too noisy for focused work, especially during summer when school is out. When a corporate space is too noisy, we do something about it! There’s no reason not to give home offices the same consideration. 

There’s very little technology can do to compensate for terrible acoustics — see my column on home audio in the Spring issue of Connected Design for more on this subject. A lot of current interior design trends call for hard, highly reflective surfaces: glass, hardwood floors, polished stone, etc. Especially when combined with vaulted ceilings, these materials are a recipe for reverberation, creating a cacophony when even normal activities are taking place outside the office doors. Advise clients on how to incorporate acoustically absorptive materials into the space’s design to make the home environment more conducive to working from home.

Of course, the least distracting sound is the one that doesn’t reach you. Ideally, the office should have a door the homeowner can close, preferably with a high Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating. Think about the other room apertures as well — what’s the STC rating on any windows? Is the client going to be unable to hold a Zoom call whenever the landscapers visit? Such issues can be mitigated with specialty glass or, at the cost of the natural light, drapes. Acoustically absorptive panels, either inside or outside the office, can also reduce distractions. These days, there are plenty available from marquee brands like Auralex that are beautiful enough to incorporate into the décor of a luxury home; some would even make for a very nice Zoom background.

In scenarios where customers need privacy as well as a focused work environment, you could also consider leveraging the home’s installed speaker system for sound masking. There was a time when few could imagine having such sensitive professional conversations in the home, but we’re well past that point now. Homeowners should know that a secure and private workspace is achievable at home.

Is This Thing On? 

The increase in remote working has created a necessity for clear and effective audio when joining video conferences from a home office. If your client is building a home office, make sure they are educated about the difference a quality microphone can make. The right microphone is critical to sounding professional and conveying every nuance and detail during a conference. Built-in laptop mics are categorically not good enough. Laptop microphones are omnidirectional; they pick up each and every noise, echo, and reverb that you and your home make. They can also make the homeowner sound far away compared to high-quality audio. 

Cardioid and hypercardioid microphones are designed to be directional. When positioned properly, they pick up your voice and the nuances of your conversation more effectively. “Properly positioned” is a load-bearing phrase though. If positioned improperly, their sound capture can be even worse than an omnidirectional mic’s.

For most customers, the “set it and forget it” approach is best. An all-in-one conferencing solution like a videoconferencing sound bar is a great example. Many of these devices use an array of beam-forming microphones to find the talker; capture, mix and send the intended audio; and reject unwanted sound. It doesn’t matter if the customer likes to swap between seated or standing positions, or even pace while they talk. The mic is always in the proper position.

The right microphone selection depends on the work your client is doing. If they’re frequently participating in industry podcasts or producing video presentations or livestreams from their home office, they may be better off with a cardioid mic on a boom arm. In fact, you may need to discuss whether there’s a need to incorporate line-level sources such as musical instruments into their streams. If so, you’ll need to make sure a USB audio interface that can accept XLR and line level sources is part of the design.

Please Welcome Our Guest Speaker 

Some folks like it quiet, and some like an intentional soundscape while they work. If your client subscribes to the latter, they should consider installed speakers for their home office space; no one wants to wear headphones all day long, and computer speakers are too tinny and too directional to provide the rich, soothing aural environment the clients is seeking. 

Work from home has finally truly taken hold, leading many homeowners to realize just how much their in-home offices were lacking. Technologies such as environmental sound, beamforming microphones, acoustic treatments, and sound masking, as well as good-quality speaker solutions for an enhanced audio experience can significantly upgrade the work from home experience. Work is the next frontier of home technology design. 

Randy Blanchard is the director of audio products at Vanco.


Smart Home at IFA Berlin 2022

By Vanessa Zitzmann

Since 1924, IFA Berlin has been bringing the best and most innovative consumer electronics to the masses with its annual tradeshow in Berlin. As IFA Berlin moves towards its 100-year anniversary, the international tradeshow continues to be a mainstay in the consumer electronics industry. Ever evolving, IFA has continued to adapt and transform alongside a rapidly developing technology market.  

For the ever-growing smart home category, IFA has created a special area to present these innovations. The IFA Smart Home area will showcase a wide variety of products for the digital home. Exhibitors will be on hand to demonstrate to attendees how these types of products can easily optimize comfort and security throughout all types of living spaces. Smart home ecosystems will be a prominent product on the show floor. There are a variety of manufacturers exhibiting an entire spectrum of connected and smart home solutions. IFA hopes to convey to attendees that these solutions can provide simplicity within the interface along with reliable integration throughout the home while maintaining a low energy profile. 

The expectation of a complete smart home solution has never been higher. Consumers are no longer satisfied with a multi-interface connected home, and the all-in-one ecosystem reigns supreme when looking into smart home options. Creating a solution that allows for control over lighting and shade automation, home monitoring, temperature, water and energy management, along with standard automation, can be a daunting task for manufacturers. However, IFA exhibitors are ready to meet these challenges within the smart home ecosystem. Manufacturers are making the most of the combined functionality of their offerings along with the additional resources only they can provide. Regardless of the budget, IFA has exhibitors to match whatever level of smart home attendees are looking for. AduroSmart and Busch-Jaeger are two manufacturers that provide an amazing experience from different sides of the monetary spectrum.

IFA exhibitor AduroSmart is presenting its DIY all-in-one solution. AudroSmart’s ERIA smart home product line provides a fully connected ecosystem from start to finish. Utilizing Zigbee technology standards, the ERIA hub and its connected products are all easily controlled through the AduroSmart App. The lighting options focus on more than just being “smart,” AduroSmart also puts focus on human-centric lighting. They have provided more than just a smart home; they have created a space that promotes health and wellbeing. 

Already a market leader in the field of electrical installations, Busch-Jaeger shines in the smart home category with a higher-end solution. With their hashtag #smartertogether, the returning IFA exhibitor shows a passion that lies in more than a simple connected home. The concentration on the design aesthetic of each product is evident even in the smallest of details. Busch-Jaeger offers a variety of applications, interiors and design examples to help create a visually sleek and discreet connected home. The product line is full of high-end, connected products for installations in virtually any space. The advanced technology within the products along with the curated design creates a line that is as functional as it is visually appealing.


Working from Home in Style

New home office trends and tech emphasize beauty, balance and wellness above all

By Katye McGregor Bennett

Designed to meet the demands of the modern worker, the new Cove by Leon is an elegant alternative to many of the makeshift remote-conferencing desktop setups many of us have set up at home.

Last year, you could barely open a magazine or browser without being bombarded with tips and tricks to make your work-from-home (WFH) life better. As we stayed home, we learned all about how to make the home office more comfortable, functional and more pleasing to the eyes and ears. 

Now it’s time to take your home office a step further and really dial it in with newer technology and trends that will make it that much more appealing to skip the commute, perfect your home office tech and churn out your best work product yet. Here are a few things you may not have considered about when rethinking your home office space design, all centering on the need for balance and wellness in work. 

Photo Credit: Advanced Integrated Controls of Hilton Head, S.C.

Time Your Tech for Healthy Visual Cues

Much work from home advice is in favor of the work part of the work/life balance. But life is equally — if not more — important. From a technology standpoint, there are things you can do to automate tech to send visual cues throughout the day that are in alignment with natural circadian rhythms. This largely revolves around light and motorized window treatments. Natural light’s color temperature is bluer, keeping homeowners alert and awake. A good technology integrator can program motorized shades to go up in the morning and let this light flood in. As the day wears on, natural light’s color temperature skews more toward orange and red, indicating the onset of evening and signaling the body to wind down to prepare for sleep. At this time, shades can descend halfway, acting as a visual cue that the work day is coming to an end. An integrator can also program lights to change temperature over the course of the day, mimicking the sun’s energy. This type of lighting and shading automation promotes wellness, regular sleep patterns and improved vitality and mental health. 

Consider Acoustics for Focus

Let’s talk about noise in the home office. There is the ever-present threat of children screaming and dogs barking at the mailman encroaching on the sanctity of the work space and causing potential embarrassment during a work call. But if homeowners start thinking about the home office as a place where they deserve focus instead of a place to keep their wonderful life — and all its sounds — at bay, they will love their space more. 

“Fortunately, most any acoustic issues can be solved to ensure a well-controlled sound in your home office,” said Steve Haas, CEO and principal of SH Acoustics, an award-winning acoustic and audio design consulting firm. “Sound-absorbing panels from Kinetics, MBI and others can be applied to office ceilings to ‘tame’ any excessive sound. If you don’t like the panelized look, entirely seamless acoustic systems like Baswaphon, which is plaster-based, or Clipso, which is stretched-fabric based, can be installed over an entire office ceiling and look like smooth drywall or plaster in the end.”

Protect Your Sanity with a Robust Home Network

No home office story is complete without a serious discussion about the home network. Most people rely on the cable company’s equipment to get them through the work day. This is never enough, especially when kids are home and gobbling up all precious bandwidth. 

A professionally installed network is of utmost importance for mental health. A good home technology integrator will make sure a homeowner not only has enough bandwidth, but that the home office is secure from vulnerabilities, which especially important when someone is in the possession of other people’s data, such as client’s credit card numbers. Access Networks offers commercial-grade networking solutions for the home that will keep you working smoothly without interruption. 

We also highly recommend a cellular booster for the home so important work calls don’t get dropped. Various things can affect cell coverage, like a home located near obstructions like tall buildings or mountains, is far from a cell tower, or is constructed of cell-stopping materials like concrete. Uniden Cellular Booster Kits are a great solution that makes embarrassing connection issues and buffering a thing of the past.

Reduce Interruptions with a Smart Lock & Video Doorbell

According to Parks Associates, the majority of residential door locks installed in the U.S. are mechanical, but an increasing number of exterior locks in single-family homes are being replaced with smart door locks. That’s because they are extremely helpful, especially when combined with a smart/video doorbell. Is the housekeeper early and you’re still on a call with a new client? Simply check the video doorbell feed on your laptop or mobile device and let them in via your smart lock. This works equally well for kids that come and go during the day and for deliveries. You’ll always know who’s at the door and won’t have to get up to check every time the doorbell rings.  

Don’t Forget the Design

Homeowners spend thousands of dollars on interior design for the kitchen, living room and bath. We spend a lot of time in the home office — doesn’t it deserve the same consideration? By design, we are talking about more than a fancy room digitally rendered in a Zoom background. The home office should not only be a well-appointed, comfortable and personalized place where you want to spend a lot of time, it should be ready to rock your videoconferences. 

“We are getting a lot of requests for home offices to be Zoom-ready, which to me means a beautiful background with great lighting and audio. It’s added the need for extra storage for people that want to have a ring light, microphone or a background drop in their space,” said designer Amala Raj Swenson of Amala Raj Interiors. 


The New Frontier for Integrators

Modern lighting solutions offer homeowners new levels of flexibility and comfort

Vanessa Zitzmann
and Erinn Loucks

Lighting automation and control technologies offer homeowners an exciting new way to combine fixture-level control with whole-home programmability to not only enhance everyday experiences, but also provide a better standard of living. Through continued research and advances in technology, new categories of integration and automation are becoming available to average homeowners; no longer is smart lighting reserved for luxury residences. 

Customized lighting solutions for clients now extend beyond lighting switches and dimming controls, presenting a major opportunity and new market for integrators. However, this exciting opportunity also creates some challenges for integrators. Here is my advice for how to best navigate them. 

Educating Clients

In the past, homeowners have had a tendency to overlook lighting when it comes to home and interior design. On/off light switches are one of the most familiar and longest-lived home technologies, having kept the same basic design and functionality for almost 130 years. But in the last few years especially, lighting and lighting control have come a long way with the availability of voice control, scheduled automation, trigger-based illumination, tuneable colored LED bulbs and fixtures, and direct coordination with security systems.

Many homeowners are wary of overly complicated and bulky lighting technology that might not have the polished appearance of other technology in the home. For example, a customer might be hesitant to put six on/off light switches in a kitchen or open plan living space until they learn how it can be controlled through a simple multi-button keypad featuring custom-engraved buttons. Not only is the keypad more attractive, but each button can provide simple on/off and dimming control of individual lights as well as one-touch control of multiple lights preconfigured to the customer’s preferred light levels. In addition to brightness control, today’s integrators can offer a wide range of advanced capabilities that elevate everyday experiences at home for clients and their families, adding new levels of vibrancy and enjoyment.

In showrooms, pre-programmed lighting scenes are still one of the easiest and most impactful demonstrations. Homeowners are impressed by the synchronized ramping and the perfected presets and can easily imagine how lighting scenes would enhance their everyday needs and tasks, from dining and cleaning, to relaxing and entertaining, each with specific lighting levels, colors and use of fixtures. 

Lighting automation and control technologies offer homeowners an exciting new way to combine fixture-level control with whole-home programmability to not only enhance everyday experiences, but also provide a better standard of living. Through continued research and advances in technology, new categories of integration and automation are becoming available to average homeowners; no longer is smart lighting reserved for luxury residences. 

Customized lighting solutions for clients now extend beyond lighting switches and dimming controls, presenting a major opportunity and new market for integrators. However, this exciting opportunity also creates some challenges for integrators. Here is my advice for how to best navigate them. 

Educating Clients

In the past, homeowners have had a tendency to overlook lighting when it comes to home and interior design. On/off light switches are one of the most familiar and longest-lived home technologies, having kept the same basic design and functionality for almost 130 years. But in the last few years especially, lighting and lighting control have come a long way with the availability of voice control, scheduled automation, trigger-based illumination, tuneable colored LED bulbs and fixtures, and direct coordination with security systems.

Many homeowners are wary of overly complicated and bulky lighting technology that might not have the polished appearance of other technology in the home. For example, a customer might be hesitant to put six on/off light switches in a kitchen or open plan living space until they learn how it can be controlled through a simple multi-button keypad featuring custom-engraved buttons. Not only is the keypad more attractive, but each button can provide simple on/off and dimming control of individual lights as well as one-touch control of multiple lights preconfigured to the customer’s preferred light levels. In addition to brightness control, today’s integrators can offer a wide range of advanced capabilities that elevate everyday experiences at home for clients and their families, adding new levels of vibrancy and enjoyment.

In showrooms, pre-programmed lighting scenes are still one of the easiest and most impactful demonstrations. Homeowners are impressed by the synchronized ramping and the perfected presets and can easily imagine how lighting scenes would enhance their everyday needs and tasks, from dining and cleaning, to relaxing and entertaining, each with specific lighting levels, colors and use of fixtures. 

Lighting Innovation

Current building trends and consumer tastes are moving toward increased use of better quality, ultra-efficient, whole-home LED lighting in more and more spaces. Simultaneously, the ease of use and reliability of lighting solutions, including full control through mobile device apps, will inevitably bring permanent changes, including higher consumer expectations of how home lighting is used and controlled to create specific scenes, moods and environments.

Technology integrators are the best and most trustworthy resource for homeowners, designers and architects on how lighting technology can be best layered, integrated and controlled in the home. Looking ahead, we anticipate further innovation in lighting hardware and control software that can only enhance this position of expertise in the long-term. Working together, we can create lighting solutions that build a deeper and more rewarding emotional connection for clients with their home environment. 

Jeff Thomas is the vice president of product management at Snap One.



meet three women with unique backgrounds and industry accomplishments.

By Maryellen Oswald

Hello, to all my fellow readers! I have missed you. During the past 12 months, I have had the opportunity to meet so many new people in our industry, and being the curious person that I am, I find myself asking people how they entered the industry. So, when I came across these three women, I reached out to Connected Design and presented this roundtable idea, to which they were delighted to share this interview. It also serves as a compliment to an upcoming feature in Dealerscope magazine. Let this be the precursor to finding talented women in consumer technology. With that in mind, let’s meet them. 

I am pleased to introduce you to Emily Drivstuen, project manager at Wipliance, Kathryn “Kat” Ourlian, analog manager/system designer at Upscale Audio, and Norma Garcia-Muro, VP of marketing at Kaleidesape.

Norma Garcia-Muro

MEO: Tell us a little about yourself:

Emily: I am a project manager at Wipliance and lead our shades and lighting control department on the technical side. I focus on residential projects in custom homes and high-rise buildings in the Seattle area. I recently finished the 42-story Spire building in downtown Seattle, where we installed more than 3,700 shades in every unit as well as the amenities.

Kat: I oversee system set ups, creating videos, product sales, product management and servicing. I also design and calibrate systems and enjoy the hell out of taking products apart and rebuilding them. I went to audio school in Madison, Wisc. and got my degree in recording arts and spent my days and nights in recording studios. I’ve worked in recording studios in New York, Colorado and California.

Norma: I started my career in the entertainment industry, working for top companies such as Lucasfilm, Paramount Pictures, Dolby Laboratories, and THX. My 20+ years of experience in Film, TV, Home Entertainment and Cinema Technology allowed me to shepherd legendary brands like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Mission Impossible. I was extremely fortunate to have sat next to visionaries and witnessed how they master the art of storytelling with talented teams. My nickname at Lucasfilm was Jedi Road Warrior, because I traveled the world talking about Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, R2D2 and Yoda. In 2021 and 2020, I was named one of the Top 50 Women in Global Cinema. At my core, I’m a passionate mentor, cinephile and audiophile. As a former wine grape grower of a small family-owned vineyard, I’m also a wine connoisseur. Today, I serve as vice president of marketing at Kaleidescape.


MEO: How did you get into our Industry?

Emily: I was working as a manager at a tire corporation and Lee Travis, the owner of Wipliance, was one of my customers. Every time he came in, he tried to recruit me, and it finally worked. I started out green as can be and was an apprentice for two years before I started managing my own projects.

Kat: I grew up in Detroit, Mich. and started playing violin when I was three years old. My great uncle was a violinist, I did private lessons and recorded with orchestras my whole life. I am an engineer and I like to build things. I’ve worked in recording studios in New York City, where I got my start, before moving on to Colorado. There I met Kevin at Upscale Audio in 2017, who offered me a killer job and moved me to Los Angeles to become their sixth employee. 

Norma: I like to say the CI channel found me. When the pandemic hit, I was furloughed from THX, where I served as the head of cinema marketing. Like many others, the cinema industry turned upside down during COVID, and I was uncertain about my future. A headhunter contacted me on LinkedIn about a role at Kaleidescape. Coming from the cinema world, I was already familiar with the brand. But when I interviewed with Tayloe Stansbury, our CEO, I was convinced to join. His passion, knowledge, business approach and integrity shape the company. The future is bright at Kaleidescape.

Kat Ourlian

MEO: Share a fun fact about yourself:

Emily: I love to waterski in the summer as well as golf. Creating and playing music is another one of my passions.

Kat: I played the violin for 14 years, then quit to become an athlete and took on rowing. I was even recruited for the University of Wisconsin to row with them in college. While I went to university, I found myself hanging out with musicians making my own music — and not doing the things I was supposed to be doing — and quickly figured out that a degree in engineering while rowing was not for me. Music is my passion.

I can do a wicked Billy Idol lip-curling sneer. I oddly discovered my — ahem — talent while watching MTV videos. When word got around high school that I could impersonate Billy Idol, my schoolmates would chant, “Billy, Billy” anytime a song was played at a dance. That was my signal to hit the dance floor, give a slow, intense stare, and then, bam! The sneer. I’m out of practice now, but if I hear his music playing and the moment is right, I try to give a lip-curling tribute.

MEO: Lastly, what advice would you give to others who may want to work in our industry or to those who are currently working in our industry?

Emily: This industry is a lot of fun because technology is always changing.  We constantly get to keep learning new things. There is a lot of diversity in the work we get to do so it never gets boring. 

Kat: It is important to know that perspective is everything. As a person who has lived and traveled to many places, you see how people live and grow differently. A $500 audio purchase can be a $500,000 purchase to someone else. When people understand their connection to music then you can see how and why they invest in it. It is important to know that everyone is different. I want to get the kids excited about high end audio, and when I do demos, I start them with an entry-level system than heightens their senses with the best sound experience they can have. My best advice is find your passion and excel at it.

Norma: Help one another succeed. All boats rise when we collaborate. The world is changing rapidly, and technology is at the forefront; the pandemic expedited it. There is a wealth of knowledge out there, but for positive change and true innovation to occur, we need diverse voices, faces and backgrounds. I would love to see more synergies and more women in executive posts. For those who wish to enter our space, seek a mentor! She/he can help you navigate the treacherous waters and, more importantly, become your sponsor. Join an organization and network, network, network. I’m currently a mentor at Women in Exhibition, where senior execs help women in middle management rise the corporate ranks through coaching and career advice. For the past two years, I mentored at the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) Women’s Cinema Leadership Program, based in Brussels. When anyone early in their career reaches out to me on LinkedIn, I try my best to respond, and time permitting, I schedule a short chat via Zoom. The greatest gift you can give someone is your time and knowledge.

As we look ahead to the upcoming CEDIA Expo, I challenge you all to go out and meet three new people. Networking is a huge part of how we get to know one another and often lead to the most lucrative business opportunities. Until then I look forward to seeing you in Dallas for Expo. 


About me: Maryellen is the Founder of Connected Design magazine and currently works for Somfy Systems as Business Development Manager, Partnerships. She is an avid sports fan and incredibly passionate about smart home technology. She is currently enrolled at Saddleback College studying Interior Design and is a 2020 Most Powerful Women in Consumer Technology award winner for her work in launching Connected Design magazine and mentoring women in our industry.

Maryellen can be reached via email at maryellen.oswald@somfy.com

CD DigiMag Hero Images


Looking Ahead to CEDIA 2022

By Vanessa Zitzmann

One of the key takeaways attendees should bring home from CEDIA this year is the wide range of educational opportunities at their disposal. At the end of the day, CEDIA members want to find ways to create more income for their companies, find areas for improvement and learn about upcoming trends and what they mean for our industry. With a focus on aligning designers, integrators, builders and architects, the classes and sessions for 2022 all aim to not only better integration companies, but also to offer more to the clients that hire them.

Trend 1 | Design Exposure & Education

The modern client is now looking for more than just an AV system from integrators. They want to have beautifully designed spaces, sleek and unobtrusive technology, along with seamless integration to tie everything together. As an industry, it has always been understood that there needs to be a stronger alignment between technology integrators, designers, builders, remodelers and architects. In response,  CEDIA has brought back its Design + Connection program. Participating attendees will come together to network and discuss their respective industries to learn how to come together and create amazing projects for their clients. There are also some amazing design-based education sessions and panels to take advantage of. To learn more and to register for the Design + Connection, visit


Trend 2 | Lighting and Wellness 

Lighting design is a trend that continues to grow and has become more of an industry standard and less of a specialized field.  With lighting brands focusing on color-tunable, circadian rhythm and human-centric lighting, lighting has become more than just a way to illuminate a room. Lighting has become part of the entire wellness conversation. Of course, CEDIA is ready to help with education and panels to help attendees understand, install, and sell this newer market category.

Trend 3 | Innovation Hub is Back for 2022! 

The Innovation Hub is a great place to look for new and upcoming technologies and to take part in industry-trending presentations with CEDIA exhibitors. Take advantage of this focus on technology applications that will help showcase new business and technology verticals for CEDIA member’s businesses. With 25 sessions over three days, attendees will learn more about the resimercial space, outdoor living, security solutions, and new tech for home offices, among other topics. These growing market segments offer more opportunities and income for integrators. 

Trend 4 | CEDIA’s Inaugural Town Hall

One of the best-kept secrets at CEDIA is finally being pushed to the forefront at Expo this year. “As technology and electrical systems become even more deeply connected, the issues of electrical and low-voltage licensing have increased in importance,” the CEDIA office of Government Affairs website states. Therefore, the office of Government Affairs is hosting the Inaugural Advocacy Town Hall for all CEDIA members on Thursday, September 29th. Starting with breakfast at 7:30 in the Forks Ballroom at the convention center, attendees will be treated to a wealth of information. Attendees will hear directly from CEDIA members involved in past advocacy victories speaking about their experiences and why they took an interest in the movement. CEDIA has also assembled a panel of experts that will be discussing the challenges the industry is facing and CEDIA’s plans to remain active from a legislative standpoint. Last, attendees will learn how CEDIA is being proactive in working to protect members’ business and how everyone can use their voices to influence their local policymakers. 

To learn more and to register for the Town Hall, please go to: www.cedia.net/advocacy.


Making an Impact Through Design

By Erinn Loucks

Thom Filicia might be known first for his role on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” but his work expands far further in the design industry — particularly when it comes to sustainability. Filicia is known for his ability to create modern, yet classic interiors with an inviting aesthetic. He is also a bestselling author and the force behind the Thom Filicia Home Collection, which includes furniture, artwork, bedding, textiles, wall coverings and more. His flagship showroom, Sedgwick & Brattle, is at The New York Design Center.

How did you get into interior design?  

Thom Filicia: “I started my career when I was a young kid. I was very interested in architecture and interiors, and I started cultivating that in middle school, if not even elementary school. Then I studied interior design in college, and I kept [on] that path. From there, I worked for multiple design firms in New York City to hone my skills before going off on my own.”

How would you describe your style?  

Filicia: “I would describe my style as American chic. It’s about creating livable interiors [that are] straightforward, clean, crisp, livable and at the same time, stylish and sophisticated. American chic is a nice way of keeping it simple and clean but still refined and fashionable.”

What are some challenges that you face in your job?

Filicia: “In a design, we’re looking at the client and their lifestyle, the architecture and the region or the area where that project is [because] each region has a different environment. Wherever you are: countries, cities, suburbs, Northwest, Southwest — you’re taking into consideration all those elements.”

When you’re working in residential versus commercial, what are the key differences in design that you notice?

Filicia: “The commercial journey generally is a little bit more clear cut; it’s more about a timeline and budget. There’s an objective, and we want to get as close to the goal as possible, in a way that supports the design process. The residential process is very different because it’s more emotional and more about individual decisions. Clients are willing to do things differently than what they may have imagined, because it’s something that they’re excited about, and they want to live with it. So there’s a little bit more of a personal journey with residential, where commercial can be more streamlined.”

Can you explain why sustainability is so important to you?

Filicia: “I’m a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council. Part time, I design, produce and manufacture products that we make and sell. We’re always looking at our partners, their practices, and what they’re doing in terms of being sustainable. We’re always trying to encourage that kind of thought process, because I think it’s important. Every year, there’s more that’s available to us that is healthy. That’s recycled reuse, low VOC (volatile organic compounds), recycled springs and organic foams. We work with factories that employ LED lighting and geothermal heating and cooling. All of these things are important because they all work together to help move in a direction that’s sustainable and more eco-friendly. We’re doing it in a way where it makes sense for the manufacturer, the design and the end-user.”

What common mistakes have you seen other designers making in your field of work?

Filicia: “I think the common mistake is just not being curious about the world around us and what we have available to us. It’s mistaken thinking that your minimal effort isn’t going to add up to much. Everybody adding one little piece of the puzzle creates a much bigger impact. Thinking about the fabrics you put on your body, the mattresses we buy for our homes — all these things come with [sustainable] choices.”

When working on projects, where do you get your inspiration?

Filicia: “Inspiration comes from the world around me. It comes from being interested in what people are doing, what they’re looking for, what they gravitate towards and what they’re excited about. I think the inspiration for me comes from being an active participant in design in the world, in going out and connecting with people. Whether I’m in an urban situation, or I’m in the middle of the country, it’s about just knowing what’s around me and being interested in it. You’d be amazed how much inspiration comes to you all the time in so many different situations.”

Are there any current projects that you’re working on that you’d like to share?

Filicia: “We’re working on a variety of products and projects all over the U.S.: Florida, Montana, upstate New York, Connecticut and New York City, as well as a hotel in the Turks and Caicos. We’re working in very different regions and clients, both commercial as well as residential. Each project brings a whole host of variables and challenges that make it unique and special.”

“My favorite part of this project is watching the space transformation,” said Childress. “This product can turn an open air pavilion into a useable multi-season event space with the literal flipping of a switch.”



Smart Home Serenade

Providing quality, reliability and simplicity in a home designed for music lovers

By Vanessa Zitzmann & Alec Paige

At the start of the pandemic, World Wide Stereo was approached to design and install a whole home audio and control system within an old New England home. The client — who has been a World Wide Stereo client for 25 years — is a music lover who enjoys entertaining friends and family. The first objective of the design was to install a sleek, non-intrusive audio system that would allow for music throughout the home. Next, the system had to be reliable and simple to navigate. 

“It had to be easy. Everyone in the family should be able to use it,” said Ron Rumer, chief regional sales director of World Wide Stereo. “We didn’t want frustration to set in with an overcomplicated system design. Finally, the system needed to work consistently and not oscillate with an inconsistent network. Fortunately, World Wide Stereo is known for its expertise in configuring and deploying high-performance Wi-Fi networks in any application.” 

The Backbone of Every Installation

Rumer credits the network as being the technological key to a successful project. “The foundation, for all of our systems, is a high-performance Wi-Fi network,” he said. “If they don’t get a high-performance, high-quality Wi-Fi network, the rest of the system will struggle from a performance standpoint.” After years of trying multiple residential network systems, World Wide Stereo now relies on Ruckus as its go-to wireless solution. “Ruckus is rock solid and it’s all enterprise-grade,” said Rumer. “It’s probably the only thing in our clients’ houses that’s going to work 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.” 

The home’s network was also connected to World Wide Stereo’s technical service group. This in-house service monitors clients’ networks to provide a smooth and efficient problem-solving experience. In the event of a critical network disconnect, the team is able to speed up response time by proactively providing a resolution. 

Just Another Stone in the Wall

World Wide Stereo was able to begin rough-in early after the home had been stripped down to the studs. However, a unique issue arose due to the house’s age and original build. Stone walls lined the interior of the home, becoming an obstacle in getting equipment and wiring to its destination and properly installed. 

“Much of the interior was stone, so channeling out and getting to where we need to be became a challenge,” admitted Rumer. “But the wire had to get where it had to get, so we’d open the wall up and make it happen.” 

This wasn’t the only wiring issue that the team encountered. Service cables that ran across the back of the property hadn’t been buried properly by previous electricians and became damaged in the installation of the patio. Electricians and service workers were brought in to get a conduit installed and replace the service cable. 

Perhaps the most daunting challenge that the team encountered was dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The project was briefly shut down and eventually resumed with necessary health and safety protocols in place. Managing the wrench that the pandemic threw into the project timeline was no easy task. Scheduling time on the jobsite in conjunction with other members of the project — all while adhering to health guidelines — made it necessary for every minute to count. 

“There is only so much as a company you can control,” said Rumer. “You really had to bring your A-game and be able to anticipate anything else that could happen.” 

He went on to emphasize the difficulty of navigating a project of that size under the circumstances brought on by the pandemic. “It was such a difficult time to pull something of that magnitude together, [but] everyone worked really well together.” Rumer’s philosophy for overcoming these problems and creating a smooth functioning project is simply solid and constant communication. “Communication is key. Everybody’s got to communicate and look out for each other for the job to be successful.”

Creating Space for Music Lovers & Control for Entertaining

When it came to designing the heart of the installation, the homeowners wanted to use Sonos as the foundation for the music solution. Sonos had been integrated into several of their previous homes and they had a level of comfort with the functionality of the Sonos app. With Bowers & Wilkins in-ceiling speakers installed in virtually every room (including the sun porch, bathrooms and closet), a Sonance landscape system outdoors around the fire pit, and Sonance Mariner speakers on the covered porch, the family needed a simple way to manage these devices. Utilizing the Sonos app, the homeowners were able to control the audio independently or within a set audio group as they moved throughout the home. 

When it came to the integration of audio and video in the family room, the interior design of the space needed to be considered. “So much of what we do now is all visual,” said Rumer, while acknowledging the clients’ request for a discrete technology solution and shift within the industry towards a heavily visual space. Rumer and his team designed the technology based on the visual center of the room. 

In the family room, a Sony Master Series screen was chosen based on the slim line of the display along with the immersive sound of the acoustic screen. Leon Speaker’s Tonecase mounting system was used to attach the Sonos ARC soundbar directly to the display. This created a sleek and unobtrusive visual of the television when walking down the hallway into the room.

The crowning achievement of the project was the wine bar. Outfitted with beer taps, wine refrigerators and pub tables, it was already a great space. But World Wide Stereo knew they had the ability to kick it up a notch. The team designed an a la carte Dolby Digital Atmos system, complete with an in-wall JL Audio subwoofer. The 65-in. Sony TV was flanked on each side with custom-made Leon Profile LCR side-mounted speakers showcasing a blend of quality tech and modern design. For control, the team went with a URC system with both a touch panel and a handheld remote, giving access to different experiences depending on the situation. 

Bringing All The Pieces Together

The client said, “We’ve been working with World Wide Stereo for about 25 years now, through at least two houses where we’ve integrated sound systems as part of the design and World Wide Stereo has been with us every step of the way.”

And that’s what Rumer and World Wide Stereo are about: relationships. “You meet people, you establish a relationship, you figure out what the perfect solution is and what they really need,” he said. “Then you execute and be there for them afterward. That’s a win for everybody.” Rumer loves being on a call with a client after project completion and hearing music playing over their new sound system in the background — it shows that all the challenging work paid off.

But with a communicative environment like the one that this project took place in, the blend of design and quality technology won’t be an issue for Rumer and the team at World Wide Stereo. It is always a collaboration.

Project Resources

Integration Team

World Wide Stereo

Ron Rumer
Chief Regional Sales Director

Hatfield, PA


(215) 368-5506



Advent Security

John Owens, Owner


Electrical Installation

SWM Electrical

Steve Mayhew

Home Builder

Dewson Construction

Dave Fortunato, Owner


Photography Credit
Rebecca McAlpin

Equipment List

AudioQuest Cables

Bowers & Wilkins 8-in.
CCM682 In-Ceiling Speakers

Bowers & Wilkins CCM382
2-Way In-Ceiling System

Bowers & Wilkins CCM664SR 6-in. In-Ceiling Dual Channel Speaker

Furman Sound M8X2 Power Conditioner

JL Audio SA-600W Amplifier/Processor

JL Audio Sealed In-Wall Sub

LG 24-in. 720p 60Hz LED TV

LG 55-in. 4K Nano UHD


Leon 64.3-in. ToneCase Universal

Leon Profile side mounted L,C,R Theater Speakers

Lutron Lighting Control

Marantz SR7015 AV Receiver

McIntosh MA5300 Amplifier

Middle Atlantic 68-in.
Metal Rack w/Fan

Ruckus Network Solution

Sanus Full Motion Mounts

Sonance Mariner 86 Speaker

Sonance Patio 4.1 W/SR 2-125 Speakers

Sonos Amp Wireless Hi-Fi Player

Sonos Arc Soundbar

Sonos Gen 3 Subwoofer

Sonos Port Streaming
Component Stereo

Sony UBP-X800M2 Blu-Ray Player

Sony XBR-65A9G 65-in. OLED TV

Sony XBR-77A9G 77-in. OLED TV

URC 7-in. Graphical Tabletop Touchscreen

URC MRX8 System Controller

Wattbox IP Controllable Power Conditioner


Something Old,
something New

A 15-year-old home theater gets a budget-friendly refresh with updated tech

By Erinn Loucks

Like smartphones, paint colors and appliances, home technology does eventually grow out of date. What was cool and edgy ten years ago — like the debut of the first smart LED lightbulb in 2012 — is passé now. While manufacturers are working to create built-in technology that updates automatically to keep up with the industry’s pace, products that came out with the advent of the smart home undoubtedly are in need of replacement. 

That’s where integrators like Michael Storch of Storch Entertainment Systems find the kindling of big installations. He was called to help with the renovation of the basement home theater in a 7,000-sq.-ft. home in Winter Park, Fla., with the recommendation of building partner E2 Homes. 

“It was a pretty room but a hot mess,” said Storch, explaining that this 15-year-old home theater had been “bandaged up” once before and sported sloppy wiring and dysfunctional tech. “The clients have three kids, and since this home has this room, they wanted to find a way to enjoy movies together as a family.”

This modern home theater is hidden in an above-garage attic space, which made the project more challenging because of the heat — at least until the building partner installed additional insulation and finessed the air conditioning. 

Deciding to Upgrade

The existing theater included Bowers & Wilkins speakers — including LCR, four sides, two rears and two small subs — a Runco projector/anamorphic lens with a motorized lens and a 96-in.-wide masking screen. It masked down, so some video watched on that screen turned out even smaller than the screen size. 

“The amount of moving parts between a masking screen and video projector with a moving lens makes for a complicated animal,” said Storch. 

A third party hired between the original installation and Storch’s firm had made the screen as big as possible and then unplugged it before putting in the video projector, so that way there was no motorized masking. They had angled the projector and held it up with guy wires, which adversely affected the quality and shape of the video.

After the builder saw the quality of the install, Storch was called in to evaluate. To get an idea of what they might be able to get in a modern home theater, the integrator invited the family to the company’s demo facility, which happened to be less than a mile from the project itself. According to Storch, it was this moment — actually meeting the clients and talking with them— that made the project fun. 

“For some jobs, we don’t meet homeowners prior to designing and specifying the electronics systems,” he said, adding that it was there that he found out that the teenage kids were hoping to also use the home theater for playing video games. “Just to have the opportunity to have this family in our demo room and hear what they love it is really satisfying.”

Finding the Right Cost

Since the family enjoyed the whole set up of the demo facility, they asked first for the cost for a complete remodel. The $125,000 price tag for all new electronics — plus an additional $70,00 for seating — was too high for their budget. Instead they asked what they could reuse from their existing home theater to cut the price down. 

“For the home theater, most of the experience is technologically and practically created by the items in the front of the room, like the front speakers, the screen, projector and subwoofers,” said Storch, adding that the elements in the back of the room are important but not quite as integral on a value-engineering scale. “We figured that we can keep the in-wall speakers and their associated amplifiers, but put in the new gear and really improve this space.”

For a new quote of about $75,000 for labor and parts, the integration team worked to install several new items of gear, including a 140-in. Screen Innovations acoustically transparent screen, an Epson 7,000 lumen laser projector, an Acurus Muse processor, and new speakers and amplification from PRO. 

A Complete Movie Experience

The acoustically transparent screen was key, since in the original project, the screen was not transparent, and the center speaker was small in order to fit the space underneath. Before the new screen was installed, the team installed a Pro Audio 12-in. two-way speaker directly centered behind the screen. This center speaker was laser leveled with the left and right Pro Audio speakers — in combination with existing surround speakers from Bowers & Wilkins, two additional Pro Audio subwoofers and a pair of in-ceiling immersive Atmos speakers and controllers — for a complete movie experience. 

The existing Lutron lighting system was reprogrammed to work with a URC remote control for simple use, while the existing recliners and wall panels remained in the space. The builder made some integral upgrades with the air flow in this attic room; insulation and additional air conditioning was installed to make the theater substantially more comfortable for the family.

“We’ve done this work for a long time, but in a home of this size, there are a lot of moving parts and a lot of electronic systems,” said Storch, explaining that no sooner than they finished this project, the homeowners returned to ask them for help with other TVs and other electronics in the house. “This project continued to expand for us to other parts of the home, turning what was a nice home theater project into a larger installation.”

Project Resources

Integration Team

Michael Storch

Storch Entertainment, LLC

803 Orlando Ave E

Winter Park, FL 32789

(321) 277-7173


E2 Homes



Acurus Muse processor

Atmos loudspeakers

Epson ProL 1060 7000


Lutron Homeworks Lighting

PRO ALC-3316 Amplified Loudspeakers Controller

PRO DMA-9900 Amplified Subwoofer Controller

PRO LFC-15sm subwoofers

PRO SCRS-6c-iw

PRO SR-12ai loudspeakers

Screen Innovations Acoustically Transparent Screen



Fear for Freedom

An early 20th century mansion is renovated with technology for aging in place

By Erinn Loucks

Even as their limitations increase, most seniors procrastinate moving out of their houses for as long as possible. No one wants to leave behind their home for what often feels like a depressing last stop. Especially as people are living longer and multi-generational families are more common in North America, seniors and their families are looking for solutions that help them live independently and comfortably for much longer. 

That’s where designers like Lisa Cini come in. Cini is the founder and CEO of Mosaic Design Studio, Best Living Tech and Infinite Living, and she specializes in senior living design, multigenerational living and aging in place technology. She began exploring this field when she decided to take care of elderly family members and discovered that there were tech and design solutions available to make significant improvements in their lives. 

“I have always actively pursued and researched these types of products out there in the world,” said Cini. When speaking on her books at a senior living conference, “one Phoebe Stein prodded me to ask vendor collaborators for help in making this project a reality and was critical in making introductions to more than 50 vendor partners.”

A Mansion of Possibilities

These collaborators — which included everything from smart flooring manufacturers to lighting designers and furniture  makers, as well as several other interior design firms — came together with Cini to renovate a 1914 French Opera-style mansion in Columbus, Ohio. This grand historic home was purchased by Cini for exactly this purpose: to highlight the latest technology for senior and multi-generational living. The road wasn’t easy for this ambitious endeavor though.

“Every single time we turned around, there seemed to be an issue,” said Cini, citing everything from electrical issues to delivery delays and the pandemic. “The biggest challenge was getting permission from the city to implement some of the tech we used in this home. It was an education process.”

Cini wanted to use the home not only for renting out for weddings, events and for vacation rentals but also as a way to showcase how technology can improve lives in any stage — but particularly for seniors. She hoped that she could reveal that this age bracket can continue to live independently in their current homes with the help of beautifully designed technology. 

The kitchen helps everyone eat and cook in safety and health with connected appliances, a hydroponic garden and smart filtered water. 

Invisible Tech that Increases Independence

The design team arguably started installing from the floor up with Shaw Floor’s Sole with SensFloor technology. This unseen tech alerts caregivers if there is a fall in the room, if someone hasn’t moved in some time, or can even activate lighting when it detects feet. The bathroom — where a large majority of fall accidents happen — also includes elements like an Assisto bathtub and Pressalit height-adjustable sinks with support arms, toilets and shower systems. LED undercounter and door lighting pair with in-room circadian lighting for motion-sensing, time-of-day-appropriate lighting. 

“Many people of this age group are a little uncertain about technology,” said Cini. “Because this technology is not tied to their person, they are more open to it.”

This high-functioning safety tech is also prominent in the kitchen. Cini installed Pressalit height-adjustable kitchen cabinets and countertops, which allow everyone of all sizes and abilities to reach inside them. Samsung’s Smart Hub refrigerator — known for being both a smart home hub and a connected appliance — allows users to see from anywhere what items are running low inside the fridge and in some cases, automatically order them. 

Cooking and eating is not always easy for those with dexterity issues. The connected oven allows users to easily start meals directly from their phone, and Brondell’s water filtration technology ensures that drinking water is clean and safe. A kitchen Tower Garden hydroponic farm uses technology to grow healthy produce in a simple and easy-to-access manner. 

“Woodland Manor will showcase what’s possible now and coming in home and senior living communities, stimulating the imagination about what the future holds,” said Cini. “As our population grows up with more and more tech integrated into the everyday, look for senior living to reflect our fully digital age.”

Wellness Inside and Out

Older generations are much more active than they used to be, and that keeps them healthier and more independent for longer. To encourage this, Cini created a designated exercise area in the home that makes it safer, easier and more fun for people to work out. 

Named the HuSpa, the gym — although in a lower level — features virtual skylights from Sky Factory that offer photographic illusions of real sky views. This helps relax users in the spa and sauna spaces especially. Along with more senior-friendly designs for safe workouts and balance, the gym features Smartfit, a dual-tasking gaming machine that helps with cognition and balance in a fun way. The gym also includes Ecore floor technology with their Forest Rx and FITturf technology, which reduces impact and the risk of injury while supporting older joints.

The wellness benefits of this type of technology continue upstairs, where the design partners worked to also create artfully smart spaces. For example, there is a piano in the living area that might look like a standard grand Yamaha piano but is both acoustic and digital. It can record, play tracks on its own and even play along with streamed music. 

None of this would be possible without a strong network. According to Cini, having a strong network is the number one element she preaches to designers just getting started in smart home integration. 

“You can have all the smart lighting, fitness tech and even a connected piano, but it won’t be at all helpful without the bandwidth to handle it,” said the designer. “You need the railroad track for the train to run on.” 

Project Resources

Design Team: 

Lisa M Cini, Mosaic Design Studio 

David Ashen, Dash Designs 

Jaclyn Moser & Chris Sommers, Harken Interiors 

Dale Miller, Daring by Design 

Jane Rohde, JSR Associates 

Public Relations: Phoebe Stein, Olive Presents 


Image Credit: Columbus Pics 

Equipment List: 





Custom Distributors 

Delta Faucet 

Design by Intent 

Ecore Commerical Flooring 





MOCK Woodworking Co. 

Pottery Barn 


Samuelson Living 

Shaw Floors 

Sky Factory 



Tower Garden


Delivering Punch & Impact

Audio video specialists Hi-Fi Centre install a high impact sound system in a Vancouver home

By Vanessa Zitzmann

Audio/video specialty company Hi-Fi Centre is not your typical AV business. Based in Vancouver, Canada, the company specializes in audio and video systems only. While the company does do some integration, that comes second to the audio/video solutions they provide.

“We don’t consider ourselves an integration company,” said Igor Kivritsky, owner of Hi-Fi Centre. “We made a decision to focus on our specialty, and we are selective in the projects we take on.” When a local homeowner requested a high-end sound system for their media room, the team at Hi-Fi Centre was happy to accept the job.

The homeowners wanted concert-level sound, impact and volume. The media room in the home was a large open space with wooden ceilings and an uncarpeted floor. The space was designed with an open floor plan and included a bar and wine storage area in addition to the gym and home theater located on the same level.

“The homeowners enjoy electronic music,” explained Kivritsky. “They were looking for incredible sound quality at an incredible volume to fill the space.”

The Creation of Sound 

To create the sound that the homeowners were seeking, Hi-Fi Centre started with choosing the right speakers. The speakers needed to meet certain criteria to achieve the sound quality, volume and space requirements for the job. In addition to handling uncompressed sound with clarity and volume, the speakers also had to fill the large space without distortion or compression.

Based on the criteria, the team knew traditional hi-fi speakers would not work in the space. Traditional hi-fi speakers have typical configurations with one or two mid-range drivers, a 1-in. tweeter and a couple of woofers. However, these types of speakers lacked the ability to produce the sound pressure levels that the project required.

The team looked through their trusted brands and turned to McIntosh speakers for the system. The McIntosh XRT2.1K loud speakers feature 81 drivers comprised of six woofers, two low-frequency midranges, 28 upper-frequency midranges and 45 tweeters, providing the sound experience necessary. One of the benefits of this loudspeaker is the large number of drivers used to lower overall distortion and increase sensitivity, allowing for greater volume while using less power.

There is no speaker on the planet which will have enough low-frequency energy to fill a space that size, “especially when you are listening to electronic music to deliver the punch and impact that is needed,” said Kivritsky, adding that the array of the loudspeaker also helped control vertical dispersion, necessary due to the ceilings in the space. “Wooden ceilings will cause high frequencies to reflect and become harsh. These loudspeakers have very good dispersion control in the vertical axis and that is exactly what we wanted.”

A pair of subwoofers from JL Audio was next up and featured 13.5-in. drivers with a 3500-watt amplifier, bringing the total system power to 11,000 watts.  “The sound pressure levels in the room easily out beat any nightclub you go to,” said Kivritsky. “Your ears will start to hurt before you get to the top end of the volume in this system, and it will still be clear undistorted sound.”

McIntosh MC2KW mono amplifiers were installed to drive the system. Each amplifier is comprised of three separate chassis, meaning six boxes were used to make up the left and right amplifiers in the rack. Each amplifier delivers 2000 watts of power, needed to produce zero compression, zero distortion and to ensure that the amps would not run out of power.

Smoothing out the sound is a McIntosh C-1100 tube pre-amplifier along with a McIntosh MX-170 AV processor used in 2-channel mode (plus sub-woofers). Connected to the system is a DJ system with dual decks and a mixer, along with Apple TV, a cable box and gaming consoles. Therefore, the system needed a digital processor that could handle video sources as well as audio. Finally, the wood paneled wall behind the speakers hid acoustic panels which helped alleviate echo, rounding out the system.

Power management is the backbone of the audio system created by Hi-Fi Centre.  The Torus RM100 power supply keeps the system running without fail.  

Importance of Power Management 

Power management was a large part of the installation. Kivritsky explained that when dealing with the immense voltages and currents of the system, a strong power solution was vital. Hi-Fi Centre went with their go-to power management manufacturer, Torus.

“There is only one power supply company I look at for a system of this size, and it’s Torus,” said Kivritsky. “It wasn’t if we were going to use it, 

it was which model are we going to use.”

Kivritsky sent the project specifications to Torus engineers, who then recommended the Torus solution for the job. Because of the large amount of power needed to keep the system running, the team decided on a Torus Power RM-100 series power supply.

“The power cord that goes into the RM-100 is so thick, you could almost hold up an elevator with it, that’s what our system required,” said Kivritsky. A dedicated circuit with 50 amps of current at 240 volts was installed by an electrician to provide the necessary power to the RM100.

One of the benefits of the McIntosh loudspeaker is the large number of drivers used to lower overall distortion and increase sensitivity allowing for greater volume using less power. 

The Finishing Touches 

It’s all in the details for Hi-Fi Centre as they completed the installation. The team used premium audio, HDMI and power cables throughout the installation to get peak performance of the system.

The placement of the speakers was something that the team spent time on. The distance from the wall and the distance between speakers are crucial to deliver the highest quality of sound with the least amount of electronic intervention. Additionally, the loud speakers were faced completely forward, a break from the norm of having the speakers face slightly into each other. Calibration of the speakers and
subwoofers is very important to Hi-Fi
Centre and this system was no
different. The final calibration
was completed with very little adjustment needed.

“Everything was placed correctly, and everything was accounted for; this is a testament to our team and the products we chose,” explained Kivritsky. “We could have dialed in more electronic changes, but we didn’t need to.”

Integration company Pure Image did the automation on the home and used Control4. “We didn’t have a single control issue; my compliments to them,” Kivritsky mentioned. The teams at Hi-Fi Centre and Pure Images also worked together on the actual installation of the system.

Once the homeowners were able to use the system, they told Kivritsky that their system sounded better than the best local nightclub, which was exactly what Hi-Fi Centre set out to do. “I knew it would be good, but I had no idea it would be this good,” the client remarked to Kivrtsky. The incredibly low distortion levels from the audio system allows the clients to maintain conversations while the system plays at high volume without difficulty. An additional benefit is that there is no ringing of the ears when the system is turned off.

Kivritsky and the team at Hi-Fi Centre relied heavily on the relationships they had with their manufacturers for the project. “There are a lot of great products out there,” said Kivritsky.

Project Resources

Audio Video Specialists 

Hi-Fi Centre

Igor Kivritsky, President

433 Carrall Street

Vancouver, BC V6B 6E3

(833) 740-1093



Equipment List 

AudioQuest Cable

JL Audio Gotham V2 Subwoofers

Mcintosh C1100 Preamplifier

Mcintosh MC2KW Amplifiers

Mcintosh MX170 AV Processor

Mcintosh XRT2.1K Loudspeakers

Torus Power RM100 Power Supply

Transparent Cable

Installed by Pure Image:

Control4 Automation System


Automation Integration 

Pure Image

1251 Homer St

Vancouver, BC V6B 2Y9

(604) 628-9491






Artin Ahmadi, Owner & Photographer

(778) 233-2552




A Showcase of Solutions

An integration team creates a display property against a mountainous backdrop

By Sam Hitt

The dual Meridian DSP7200 Loudspeakers and Samsung 65-in. 8K TV Neo QLED create the ideal atmosphere in this living space.

Bozeman and Big Sky, Mont.-based SAV Digital Environments would be hard pressed to find a more idyllic corner of the country in which to operate. Stunning mountain vistas and expansive swaths of alpine forests present the perfect backdrop for showcasing the company’s luxury design and integration solutions. 

Art provided by Courtney Collins Fine Art and Echo Arts

Furnishings done by Studio Como 

Balancing the View with the Design

While the company typically works to bring clients’ preferences and needs to life, its latest display project at an executive rental property in Lakelodge — located in Moonlight Basin in Big Sky — presented a ripe opportunity to showcase what it could create when left to its own devices. 

With a jaw-dropping view of Lone Peak, the interior design team led by Stephanie Gilboy, SAV’s technology advisor, had to toe the fine line between accentuating the landscape’s natural beauty, while not going overboard and drawing attention away from it. 

“You get in and you really can’t stop looking. It’s one of the best views of Lone Peak in the area,” said Gilboy. “So in designing the space we wanted a monochromatic, seamless flavor that felt intentional but was unintimidating. We wanted nothing that said: ‘Don’t use me.’”

The project provided a unique opportunity to “showcase some of our product decisions and to collaborate with other partners on the mountain that we work with regularly,” said Gilboy. Regarding the purpose of the project, she went on to say, “It was built for our team to use as a demo both for potential customers and for other designers on the mountain. A lot of this was to show that you don’t have to be scared of technology in a design format.” 

Making the Most of Collaborations

Not only was this build an opportunity to show off what SAV could do from a technology and design front, but it was also an exciting way to collaborate with other local businesses. 

This master bedroom boasts a Samsung 55-in. Frame TV.

“SAV is driven by design, and we have an affinity for art,” said Gilboy. “For this project, we worked with local design firm Open Studio Collective, which helped select and procure housewares, bedding and wall treatments; placed artwork through Courtney Collins Fine Art and Echo Arts; and of course, partnered with Studio Como for furnishings.” 

One of the challenges of the unit was its location, which was in a newly-built complex where they could not do the infrastructure wiring.

“It was hard coming in on somebody else’s template that was very minimal,” said Gilboy, adding that this was a major change of pace for SAV. “We pride ourselves on strong infrastructure and thinking forward to provide for years of potential changes. We always use a strong, robust network as a foundation for all of our platforms.”

Offering Intentional Technological Design

That road bump turned into an important cornerstone, which helped Gilboy devise her plan for bringing to life a space populated with top-of-the-line freestanding devices headlined by a pair of Special Edition Meridian DSP7200 loudspeakers. According to Gilboy, “we started with the custom dipped Meridian speakers and just worked around the technology at that point to say, how do we make everything look like it was meant to go together?”

The hi-fi audio experience doesn’t end with the top-of-the-line Meridian speakers. Each bedroom is equipped with McIntosh headphone amplifiers on each bedside table. And since no hi-fidelity audio experience is complete without the proper audio files, the whole unit is equipped with a Roon Music player, which gives visitors access to hi-fi audio files from Tidal or QoBuz.    

The apartment also features the Lutron RA2 wireless lighting control and the Lutron Palladium Shading System, which provide the luxurious feel of smart home integration without the centralized wiring. 

“There is no big fancy centralized lighting system and no wired shades; instead, we used the wire-free palladiums,” said Gilboy, “but you wouldn’t know the difference. That is the kind of intentional design we were after.” 

Keeping Control Simple

A 10.5-in. iPad with Luxeport Docking station is provided for the global control of the house audio and of course, no luxury apartment would be complete without one of the best TVs money can buy: the Samsung 65-in. 8K Neo QLED TV. 

Strategically positioned in the living room and flanked on either side by the Meridian Speakers, the TV begs to be used for Sunday watch parties and family movie nights.  

Given the unit’s small floorplan — just three bedrooms and roughly 1,800 square feet — there was no reason for SAV to overcomplicate the space. According to Gilboy, intentional simplicity was the best course of action: “Comfort meets design meets technology meets architecture. That was the theme.”

Project Resources

Project Partners:

SAV Digital Environments, An HTA Integrator

618 N Wallace Ave, Bozeman, MT

(406) 586-5593

Courtney Collins Fine Art 

32 Town Center Ave, Big Sky, MT 


Echo Arts 

802 N Wallace Ave Unit A, Bozeman, MT 59715

(208) 768-7174

Open Studio Collective 

618 N Wallace Ave, Bozeman, MT


Studio Como

620 E Cottonwood St Unit 204 Bozeman, MT

(303) 296-1495

Equipment List:

10.5-in. iPad with Luxeport Docking Station

218 Meridian Zone Controller

251 Meridian Zone Controller

Apple TV

Control 4 NEEO Universal Remote 

Lutron Palladium Shading System

Lutron RA2 

McIntosh MHA200 Headphone Amplifiers

Roon Music Player

Samsung 50-in. 4K TV (Q80T) 

Samsung 55-in. Frame TV 

Samsung 65-in. 8K TV Neo QLED (QN900A) 

Special Edition Meridian DSP7200 Loudspeakers


By Erinn Loucks

“Our client says he loves his theater so much that he spends   more time in there than any other room in his house.”

– Jack Thompson, owner of RevampIT Audio Video

Project Resources

Project Partners

Jack Thompson,
RevampIT Audio Video  

Ryan Hills, Digital Home Creations

Jeremy Scott, Optimum Builders


Equipment List

AC Infinity Fans


American Lighting

Analog Way Video Processor

Apure Minus LV Recessed Down Lights


DPI Radiance LED VX Series


Dolby Atmost

Furman Power Distribution

JL Audio

James Loudspeakers


Kinetics Noise Control

Middle Atlantic Rack

Nintendo Switch

Playstation 5


Salamander Design

Torus Power Floor Standing Isolation Transformer

Ubiquiti UniFi Network

Xbox Series X

Renew Your Subscription!

Get Connected Design and Dealerscope delivered to your doorstep or to your email.

How, where and when we work has changed dramatically. We realize that these changes in your work habits may have impacted how you receive your issues.

Click on the links below to update how and where you receive your issues! Change your mailing address or request a change from print to digital, or just head to our websites.

Chief Editor
Erinn Loucks
(770) 634-4573; eloucks@ctlab.media

Katye McGregor Bennett
Randy Blanchard
Nick Bovill
Samuel Hitt
Maryellen Oswald
Alec Paige
Chris Smith
Jeff Thomas

Astrid v. Krenski

Chief Social Media and Web Editor
Brenda Thelusca

Group Publisher
Tony Monteleone
(718) 216-2046; tmonteleone@ctlab.media

Operations Manager
Vicki Manucci

Circulation & Distribution
Carrianne Ramsey

Accountant/HR Manager
Catalina Gonzalez

Chief Operation Officer
Alice Schmalzl
(484) 645 1691; aschmalzl@ctlab.media

100 S Juniper St, 3rd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 191072

132 West 31st Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10001

ct.lab logo

Publisher of Dealerscope, and Connected Design
Copyright ©2022 CT Lab Global Media LLC

CT Lab Global Media is a diversified publisher of business and professional magazines. This publication is provided with the express understanding and agreement that the information and data within it will be solely for internal use and will not be used for the creation or updating of mailing lists for sale or distribution to third parties. Printed in the U.S.A.

ct.lab logo

100 S Juniper St, 3rd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 191072

132 West 31st Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10001

E-Mail: eloucks@ctlab.media