THE 2008 HC&G IDEA HOUSE
July 15, 2008
THE HC&G 2008 IDEA HOUSE MEDIA ROOM FEATURES ARTFUL DESIGN AND CUTTING-EDGE COMPONENTS
Raw, earthy, barn-like. These may not be the first words that come to mind when thinking about a high-tech media room, but that's the feel designer and artist Joe Ginsberg, who's done work for Dreamworks, Sony and MTV, wanted to create for the 2008 HC&G Idea House. Located in the new addition's lower level, the media room measures approximately 18 by 20 feet, offering a viewing/listening area intimate enough for one but large enough for a small Oscar's party. "The concept of the room is a raw barn, almost like an Argentine stable—raw but very elegant," Ginsberg says. "Since this is an Idea House, we wanted to get away from it looking overly decorated."
Combining his experience in the art, film, graphic-design and interiors fields, Ginsberg typically creates spaces featuring unusual materials—cast concrete, exotic woods, resin, hammered steel—to emphasize texture and visual opulence. For the media room, he has covered the walls in burlap with faux-leather accents and installed a built-in, three-tiered serpentine sofa of his own design. "The burlap upholstery has a very raw stitching instead of something finessed, so it looks like a darned sock," he says. "It's meant to show the hand, to feel like a work in progress." An undulating Bruno Mathsson chaise echoes the curves of the sofa, and dimmable sconces and a chandelier offer eco-friendly elegance (dimming conserves energy). The room also contains a wet bar, which comes in handy at movie intermissions.
One aspect of the room that doesn't "show the hand" is the automated A/V and lighting system, conceptualized and installed by Larry Baltz of Electronic Strategies. Like a multiplex screening room, the centerpiece is a high-definition front-projection system, 92-inch screen with THX-certified audio provided by in-wall Triad loudspeakers. Music and video can be accessed from either an in-room Blu-ray DVD player or a centralized server that supplies electronic files from its hard drive to the media room and any room in the house the homeowner would like to have audio and/or video.
That server, along with the lighting, HVAC, pool heater and other electronic systems that may be installed in the future, can all be manipulated by a centralized Crestron control system via touch panels in each room. The system is convenient—you can pre-set lighting and power for, say, "normal evening" or "going out"—and environmentally friendly. As Baltz explains, "Most second-home owners spend on average two to two-and-a-half days per week in their second residences. It's not unusual for the pool heater and air conditioning to be left on during the summer or the heat left at a slight setback in winter. Since this system can be controlled via the Internet, the homeowner can use more aggressive set-backs for the HVAC and pool and adjust the setting from their computers or Blackberries on the day of their arrival." A LiteTouch lighting system saves energy by automatically dimming or brightening the lights depending on the amount of sunlight in a room.
Idea House design director Kyle Timothy Blood says, "A media room is expected in a newly-constructed Hamptons house, but its layout can be green in both the choice of products and in an appropriately-scaled room. This year the media room holds special significance, as James Jones, author of the iconic From Here to Eternity—starring Deborah Kerr and Montgomery Clift on the big screen—lived and wrote here at 'Sunset Hill.' The media room is technologically advanced, user-friendly and is welcoming, sophisticated and, of course, green."