All that said, the automation doesn’t quite set itself up. Homeowners will want to participate with their integrators in setting up Loxone’s robust system of “modes,” which are personalized presets that can be customized in unparalleled detail. Full RGBW control over lights means they can be programmed by tone, brightness and more. In Celek’s open-plan kitchen, dining and entertainment area, there are 15 third-party ceiling lights, each of which can be customized for specific levels of brightness – all that in conjunction with music and other controls.
As we walk through the house, lights turn on and off based on our movements. In the bathroom, for example, ventilation fans run automatically whenever the sensors register that someone is in the bathroom. “Let’s say you’re sitting in there for 30 minutes as my dad does,” Celek joked. “The thing will run for an hour to clear out the air, but you don’t have to worry about that stuff once you go in the bathroom.”
Celek is particularly enthused about the various “night modes” that he has personally set up. These are pre-determined dim lighting scenarios that are optimized for middle-of-the-night bathroom runs, reading and even waking up in the morning. Among the features of night mode are dim lights that automatically go on in the common areas and bathrooms when the sensors detect movement initiated out of the bedrooms. Also blackout shades automatically unfurl and cover the windows as soon as night mode kicks in. When it’s time to wake up, lighting slowly gets brighter, mimicking the sunrise, for a more gradual alarm scenario. There is a specially customized version of night mode for the kids that is a bit more absolute. Once Celek taps the wall controller three times, the lights automatically go off in the kids’ rooms and the sensors stop working until 9 a.m. the next day.
“Let’s just say I wake up and I want to go get a glass of water; the last thing I want to do is be walking through the dark,” said Celek, “but I also don’t want to have to turn the lights down to a point where they’re dim, because if they go on full bright, I’m awake now. What’s great about Loxone is you can just create whatever vibe you want in a room. I can customize exactly how I want something.”
But it’s not just sleep-optimized lighting that Celek appreciates about his customized night mode. “I would say the biggest advantage of this whole system is at night more than anything,” he says. “For example, turning on the exterior lights. Do I want to have to turn on my exterior lights every day? No. But I don’t have to worry about that because they just automatically go on when it gets dark and turn off when the sun comes out, and the setting can change automatically for sunrise and sunset depending on the season.”
The automation extends beyond the actual house. There is also a smart barn. Celek and his wife, Celeste, have several alpacas that live in the barn, which is of course outfitted with motion sensors for lighting. “If the alpacas are in the barn, the lights turn on,” said Celek. “If they’re not, then they go off.”
Getting the Party Smarted
Back at the house, the patio features seven in-ground outdoor Bose FreeSpace 51 environmental speakers and two Russound AW10-LSUB-BR landscape subwoofers installed around the pool, patio and garden. These are all powered by four Crown 1200 amplifiers, and the sum total of these outdoor audio components provides consistent sound and bass oomph no matter where one stands. “I’m very proud of what Scott did,” said Celek. “We can basically turn this into a nightclub—you can walk anywhere out here and the sound is going to be the same.”
Speaking of entertainment, music is premium among the entertainment categories for Celek. Inside in the main entertainment, family-room area, there is quite a setup, with several TDG speakers built into the wall and ceiling and RGBW LED lighting under the kitchen cabinets and shelves which, as Celek says, are controlled from the phone. (There are also TDG speakers in all the bedrooms, gym, garage, patio, pool, and garden.) Usable inside the kitchen or out on the patio, the house features a portable Loxone Touch & Grill barbeque food thermometer that doubles as a full-fledged Touch Pure controller. This allows for real-time notifications in any speaker in the house but also the ability to control everything from music to lighting to, say, the doorbell right from the patio.
Celek also has two Samsung Frame TVs in the open-plan living area, but interestingly, none of them are connected to the Loxone-controlled sound system. “I like having music on sometimes when I’m watching TV, and so to keep that separate from the music to me was big because once you start integrating some of those things, it can be complicated,” he says. “Besides the speakers on the TV are definitely loud enough and there’s no need to have another system involved. It would just be another layer to figure out.”
There are three different house modes in this main room, including a “party mode” that adjusts the RGBW lights under the cabinets to different colors and tones, including midnight green or old school kelly green in what Celek calls “Eagles mode,” which is for watching sports on TV. In this mode, music plays through speakers under the kitchen counters and cabinets, but the TVs are on mute or in picture mode. “Is this room a theater? No, it’s an entertaining space, and when we’re entertaining we usually have music on with the TV on in the background, often in picture mode,“ he says. “We use these TVs more as picture frames than as TVs. I hate TV. I only watch sports games.”