The Grand Living Room at Blanche Cove


The living room and its sculpted ceiling is literally at the center of this house, with its design motif starting in the ceiling of the porte-cochère and extending through the living room onto a covered porch that overlooks the pool deck, a story below.

“The ceiling starts to engage you when you look into the house from the pool deck; more when you see its refection in the water,” explains John Brandies of Nasrallah Architectural Group.

One issue, in designing technology to work for this room, was to choose and place ceiling speakers in just the right positions to not only optimize the sound, but allow for the needs of the lighting and the climate systems.

The solution was to install ten James small-aperture full-range speakers, plus a James subwoofer, into this ceiling, to provide the quality and coverage needed from its 24’ height.  These are large assemblies, each nearly 10” W x 7” D x 14” tall, but they use tiny grills, only 3” square, that practically disappear into the ceiling. “These are serious speakers, to drive the sound from that high up and sound that cool,” Brandies says.

Still, the most challenging for Think Simple was the setup of the Crestron motorized shades. These eight shades are the largest ever supplied by Crestron. Three are 110” wide; the others 54 – 81,” and all are 288” tall.  “We were at, or certainly very near the limit possible with roller shades,” Will Gilbert notes.

“The temperature in central Florida can vary from 30° in the winter to 100° or more in the summer,” he adds, “and of course the materials of the home expand and contract with those changes. With a 24’ drop, no matter how level you mount the shades there’s going to be air movement from the HVAC system, and the baffling has to be perfect.” It is.

A third technological challenge was the lighting for the room’s floating staircase, going up to the second floor and down to the basement level. Each stair tread has its own color-changing light fixture with its own DMX color controller, but the Think Simple team kept all in perfect balance via a Nicolaudie processor triggered by the Crestron control system.

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