In 2017, a beautiful historic home was given a facelift. Gutting the house, interior designer Steven Gambrel redid the infrastructure and the wiring but retained the house’s historic elements, refinishing and reinstalling some of the original wood. He spared no expense as he sourced and handpicked every fixture, door hardware, and piece of reclaimed furniture. One of his signature styles is to feature Dutch doors, which once served to welcome fresh air and deliveries from their top halves while discouraging the movements of children and critters from their bottom halves.

The good news. We were brought into the process while the house was being built. This allowed us to integrate speakers (Sonance Invisible Series) in the ceiling before Sheetrock or wood was laid down. We were able to procure custom-made, antique brass, low-voltage keypads from Meljac in France.

The challenge. We had to find a way to house the brains of the operation in a single AV closet. That’s where the Control4 operating system, Lutron Lighting switches, and thermostats live.

The result. A lay person entering the home would be hard-pressed to spot the thermostats. They wouldn’t see the speakers. The house would be lit by chandeliers, sconces, and lamps as opposed to modern recessed lighting. The architectural details of the home would be front and center.

How did we do it? As mentioned, we used “invisible speakers” — what Sonance calls “the ultimate expression in architectural audio.” We handled the three separate lighting loads — chandeliers, sconces, and lamps — through the Lutron lighting system. Pushing a single button turns on the lights. Pushing it twice turns them off. Pressing and holding dims them. As for the thermostats? Gambrel didn’t want to see them, so everywhere we might have installed a thermostat, we set up a temperature sensor instead, tied to one of four zones of climate control. We then housed the thermostats in the AV closet. Voilà!

The moral of the story: You can have your cake and eat it too. We hid the technology but it’s still there.