Electronic Lifestyles Fall 2009 : Page 65

‘Stealthing’ the Gear When the homeowner is also the designer, the bar for concealed equipment placement is raised. By Nancy Klosek N ew constructions pose an entirely different set of challenges for a whole- house installation project than retrofitted homes. They are a “tabula rasa”—a blank slate—just waiting for ideas from clients who desire a sky’s-the-limit treatment. They can also be easier to tackle—provided the homeowner has definite goals for what he or she wants and is receptive to the electronic systems contrctor’s recommendations for how to get there. All of that was the case with the 5,500-square-foot new property that Jay Cobb, principal of Fresno, Calif.’s Hi-Tech Home, and his team were tasked to network for environmental control, entertainment and systems- monitoring functions. But something that added another dimension to the project was the fact that the owner, Matt Ratzlaff, a builder by trade who also does interior design, decided to collaborate on the job. “We had done other projects with him with mutual clients, and he liked what we did,” says Cobb, explaining the circumstances that brought electronic systems contractor and client together. That mutual respect set the stage for an unruffled collaboration where both parties came up with ways to achieve smooth-running technology that was ELECTRONIC LIFESTYLES® Fall 2009 65

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