A.B.E. Networks has been the Washington D.C. metro area’s premier provider for smart home solutions for nearly 30 years. The firm takes a holistic approach to projects by starting the process at the design phase to propose a system that emphasizes both current and future use cases. The design phase is a space to collaborate with interior designers, builders, electricians and any other members of the client’s team.
After the design phase, A.B.E. Networks utilizes its relationships with manufacturers and distributors to only source vetted products that provide the best value. Knowledgeable project management, installation and programming build on the foundation of design, engineering and procurement. Staying perceptive to the ever-changing demands of the project is the firm’s key to success. Attentive final fit and finish are also instrumental in delivering the desired result. Avi Benaim, founder and president of A.B.E. Networks, has built his reputation on customer service through client tutorials and continuing care.
This Bethesda project, completed in the summer of 2018, shows off everything that A.B.E. Networks has to offer. The client purchased the lot a few years prior to the completion of the project. The original house was completely demolished, and new construction took place in 2016. The client and their design-minded consultant, Alice Sydney from Alice Sydney LLC, spearheaded the atmosphere of this custom-built home. Neutral tones, wildlife accents, and wood and stone finishes created the fully realized vision.
The A.B.E. Networks design team started with Jamie Berman, residential project manager; Avi Benaim, president; and Vernon Austin, lead engineer. The design of the system’s wiring was important. All audio, video, network, security camera, security alarm and lighting control equipment and wiring were run to a central point in the basement utility room. The equipment, except for the lighting control, is placed in an electronic enclosure cabinet providing adequate ventilation and keeping all equipment out of sight.
The lighting control system was designed, installed and programmed by lighting engineer Mike Bates. The lighting system, controlled by Lutron Homeworks QS, is also terminated in the basement utility room into module panels and processor panels that do all of the heavy lifting for both the interior and exterior lighting. The lighting control system, used throughout most of the home, can be controlled via keypads on the wall or via a mobile application. The keypads do away with banks of switches and provide a single button per lighting load to turn lights on and off. A preset scene can also be programmed into the keypad to turn on or off a specific array of lights. In the custom theater in the basement, the client requested a “theater scene” where the lights near the screen turn off, the bar lights dim to 3 percent, and the lights in the back of the room dim to 50 percent. One press of a button creates the perfect atmosphere to watch a movie.
Katie Douthitt, design division project manager for A.B.E., handled the design of the automated window treatments and exterior lighting. The automated windows treatments are located in both the master bedroom and master bathroom. The shade fabric is called Parchment from Lutron’s new Mosaic fabric collection. The bedroom shades were made with a blackout version of the fabric to provide maximum light blockage while the shades in the bathroom are sheer to preserve privacy while allowing some natural light to enter the room. The automated window shades are situated on Lutron motors that are quiet and controllable up to an exact percent of openness. They are also controlled by keypads on the wall or a mobile application.
The exterior lighting in both the front and back of the house is from WAC Lighting. The fixtures from LED Accent Collection provide all up-lighting and down-lighting to highlight architecture and foliage. Lighting fixtures from WAC’s Hardscape Collection provide safety as step lighting to the entrance of the home and the detached garage apartment while displaying the nuances of the stonework. The technology in the outdoor living space does not stop at exterior lighting. Eight Sonance Sonnarray outdoor speakers dot the landscape providing sound controlled by Sonos. A hidden subwoofer adds to the richness of the system. The Seura Outdoor TV on the detached garage has superior picture quality, regardless of the sun glare, while remaining completely weatherproofed. Finally, security cameras from Axis Communications help the homeowner keep an eye on the property from anywhere in the world.
The technology on the inside of the home is as impressive as the outside. There is whole-home audio controlled by Sonos. The in-ceiling speakers from Sonance are an elegant solution that utilizes that the ease-of-use from Sonos. Throughout the house, Sonos speakers like the Playbar combine with the in-ceiling speakers to create surround sound experiences in the master bedroom and family room. The audio system can play the audio sources throughout the home or each zone individually.
The custom theater is the intersection of design and technology. The Zero Edge projector screen from Screen Innovations is elegant with its minimal bezel and LED backlighting. Martin Logan SLM XL speakers continue the trend of sophistication in both style and performance. These ultra-slim speakers pack a punch while maintaining the same depth as the projector screen. Those components combined with the Sony 385 4K projector make for a room that is perfect for watching movies, sports or gaming.
All of these elements tie in together to create a luxury smart home that easily tops any man cave. Learn more at ABENetworks.com.
Timeline – The Five Elements of a Smart Home
Lighting is a powerful tool that enhances environments by combining light, space, color and texture.
Control is about using the least number of actions to provide the greatest effect to improve people’s lives.
Peace of mind is extremely valuable. Integrated security systems with cameras allow for a view of the property, whether live or accessing a recording.
Audio and video systems create a place to get away from the hustle of the everyday.
The unity of different technology systems provides a better living ecosystem which makes controlling the systems easy.