the man cave - cheshire
The project is certainly one of those that don’t come along too often and truly embodies the custom aspect of custom installation.
An existing client wanted to take their basement car park and change it into a one of a kind man cave with the centerpiece being a rotating turntable to park and display one of his supercars.
The brief was simple – create a space that Tony Stark would be proud of!
The area is split into a normal car parking space and the turntable housed within curved glass walls and door. Adjacent to this is the walkway, which leads from the games room at one end, past the wine cellar and to bathroom and the stairs to the main house.
Working within the spacial design created by 'The Design Practice by Uber' we were tasked with extending the existing homes system into these areas with an additional 4 zones of audio and one zone of HD video for the games room. There are speakers throughout the garage and walkway as well as the games room and bathroom.
Whilst the space is impressive in itself, the automation is where the wow factor really comes into play. Firstly we worked with an industrial controls company to provide a bespoke turntable control system with 360 degree feedback and all of the health and safety features that were required.
There are over 15 sensors in the area which give us as much information as possible on the states of the space allowing us to carry out some very clever features.
There are magnetic flux vehicle detection sensors fitted into the driveway and underneath the cars which when calibrated to the clients cars, let us know when a vehicle has entered the garage and when it is parked. We can then start up a pre defined playlist of background music over the vehicle with different his and hers presets depending on which car it is that arrived home! These sensors also allow us to monitor the presence of the car in the parking space and display that information around the house so a quick glance at a touch panel can let the user know who is home.
There are sensors on all of the doors which tie into the safety aspects of the turntable (it will not operate when the door is open) but also allow us to do things like notify the home owner if the wine cellar door is left open or when the bathroom door opens, we start playing the audio matched to the games room – never again will the homeowners guests take a toilet break and miss the football commentary when a goal is scored!
If the man cave is not in use and we detect someone coming down the stairs from the main house then we can start up a playlist, set the lights to the optimum levels and begin the rotation of the car. Even if it is just a quick trip to the wine cellar to pick out a bottle, the whole basement will be shut down again once we track the person goes back up the stairs and we confirm there is no longer any movement in the basement.
There is a demo mode which can be enabled from the homeowners phone whilst out and about so that if they are bringing someone home and want to show off the system which can be toggkled on or off. If it is in demomode and the car arrives home then the normal lighting and music will be set but we also include all of the lighting throughout the games room and turn the TV on. This shows off the whole basement when they exit the car.
There are 16 circuits of standard dimmable LED’s but we have also used DMX controlled LED strip throughout being controlled with our own manufactured Ethernet DMX controller hardware.
The majority of the LED lighting is in white with one exception. Around the turntable is a 5mm gap to allow the rotation. We installed RGB tape into the recess on the underside of the turntable which gives a great glow though the gap. We then programmed the system to give either red or green light depending on if the turntable was safe to walk on – so if the turntable was rotating or the door was open then the light would be red but once it was stopped and then the light would turn green and people would enter the turntable area.
We designed a custom user interface for the Crestron touchpanels to give that ‘iron man’ feel and using the rotary encoder that we installed as part of the industrial controls system we were able to show the exact rotational position of the car and also control where it pointed. So from a simple swipe of the touchpanel the user can rotate the car to wherever they want to show off a certain side of the vehicle.
The £500,000 project was completed after a 10-month period just in time for New Year’s Eve, and has since picked up accolades including ‘Best Innovative Solution’ at the Crestron Integration Awards and ‘Best Custom Solution’ at the CEDIA Awards.
The homeowner is delighted with the result;
“From initial concepts through to completion, the space has transformed into more than I could have hoped for and the level of automation and intelligent control adds genuine convenience, on top of the obvious wow-factor. It’s my own little Vegas.”