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Residential Solutions

Case study: Allen Plaza Condominiums

Allen Plaza, located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, is a LEED gold certified building with a Mondrian-inspired design. It includes 31 avant-garde condominiums that offer residents the luxury of urban refinement.

One homeowner, who purchased a 1,700 square foot unit that was already built out, was looking to combine an industrial flair with the existing modern feel. He approached HAUS | Architecture in Indianapolis, a design co-laboratory of architects and designers specializing in uncommon residential, commercial, and interior “architecture for modern lifestyles.” His request to HAUS: the right details, finishes, and furnishings, as well as automated shades. 

The shades were a necessity, given that the condo, which was in close proximity to neighboring buildings, had huge window walls in the living area, bedroom, and home office. (The west wall in the living area was 12 feet high by 18 feet wide; the north wall was 12 feet high by 16 feet wide. The window in the bedroom was 10 feet by 4 feet, while the window in the office was 10 feet by 7 feet).
Sivoia® QS Wireless Roller 100 shade

Since the space was already wired, HAUS was originally focused on improving the lighting in the space. “In addition to adding automated shades, we assumed we would be replacing standard toggle switches with dimmers,” said Chris Short, principal at HAUS.

Chris Short, along with Derek Mills from HAUS, first approached Tom Doherty, principal of Doherty Design Group, about providing automated window shades for privacy and to control the sun’s glare. (Doherty Design specializes in residential lighting design and control, providing a balance of aesthetics and performance based on beauty, simplicity, and reliability.) HAUS had previously worked with Doherty Design Group on other projects, was familiar with Tom’s expertise, and recognized the potential for this particular opportunity. 

After a site visit, Tom mentioned to both HAUS and the homeowner that the infrastructure necessary for automated shades also provided the opportunity to incrementally add light control—without the inconvenience of redoing existing wiring. 

“I explained that the controls (either hand held or wall mounted) for automated shades utilized a main repeater, and that this same component could also communicate with wireless dimmers or switches,” said Tom. “For a fraction of what they were investing in the shades we could replace every standard switch in the condo with wireless dimmers or switches. The homeowner could then enjoy complete control of the natural light as well as electric light throughout his home.” 

Satin Colors®
To illustrate that complete control of light, Tom invited the homeowner and the architects from HAUS to Doherty Design Group’s office for a demonstration in their lighting control lab. Within this 25 x 25 foot space Doherty Design Group can demonstrate the control of daylight with both solar and blackout shades. They can
also demonstrate different lamp technologies (incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, LED, and so on) and compare them to each other. And they can demonstrate beam spread, color, and the effects of different recess lighting rims and baffles, as well as the effects of layered lighting and wall washing. 

During the lab visit, Tom explained how automated shades and light controls can work together to layer light. He also showed them Lutron’s line of Satin Colors® dimmers, switches, faceplates, and accessories, such as GFCIs and cable jacks, which provide a variety of color options other than basic white. 

“We knew we wanted to change out all of the existing faceplates and switches to at least not be standard white, and we were really excited over the options Tom presented to us,” said Derek.

The homeowner was also very interested when HAUS proposed using technology to help control all of the light, as well as the mood, within his condo. And since he travels frequently for business, being able to connect to his living space via tablets and mobile devices for light and shade control away from home appealed to him. 

Home Control+ App
The next step, of course, was choosing a system. In addition to conventional light sources such as incandescents, fluorescents, and halogens, the project also had some LED cove lighting that needed to be controlled and there were some floor and table lamps that needed to be controlled that weren’t wired to an existing switch.

Since the condo was already wired, the obvious choice was RadioRA® 2.

“The capabilities and ease of this system was definitely a huge selling point,” noted Chris. “And the aesthetics were an added bonus.”

HAUS didn’t bring a separate lighting consultant in on the job, as they usually design the lighting concepts for their projects. In this case, they worked with Doherty Design Group to fine-tune and specify fixtures, only adding a few can lights and some floor and table lamps. As Chris pointed out, “The controls allowed us to get the most use of the scheme.”
Coordinating controls

In-wall dimmerslamp dimmershybrid keypads, switches, and Sivoia® QS Wireless Roller 100 shades were the key components on the job. After the homeowner and HAUS noticed how clean and well designed the wall keypads and dimmers were, they decided to replace all of the existing outlets and GFCIs with matching Lutron Satin Colors products. 

“This further emphasizes how this project grew incrementally by creating awareness for both the architect and client as to what was available from Lutron and the benefits of coordinating colors, accessories, and controls,” noted Tom.

“Aesthetics were a huge consideration for the project,” added Chris. “We tried to balance function and aesthetics to streamline the project and the design. We chose Satin Colors because of the color options it provided. The sheen (matte) was also complimentary to the paint scheme. The goal was to use colors that minimized contrast between switching and walls. The design of plates was also important; we liked the screwless plate look.”

The colors and aesthetics offered by Lutron also appealed to the homeowner. “HAUS and I were able to go outlet by outlet and make the decision about which color would complement the walls best,” he said. “Plus, the style of the RadioRA 2 keypad is impressive yet understated, which is exactly what I wanted.” 

RadioRA® 2 seeTouch® keypad
Aeshetics aside, the convenience of RadioRA 2 is hard to beat, said the homeowner. The intuitive keypads allow him to adjust lights and shades with a single touch to the exact levels he wants for a specific time of day or to create a certain ambiance. “With the push of a button I’m waking up to a
spectacular view of the city, with just the right amount of lighting to enjoy my coffee, news, and music in the morning,” he remarked. 

“Entertaining is a cinch,” he continued, “I enjoy seeing guests’ faces as the lighting and shades adjust to a perfect ambiance. And at the end of the day when I don’t have much energy and I’m heading to bed, a press of the ‘Goodnight’ button takes care of shutting down everything.”

“RadioRA 2 was definitely worth the investment in the full suite of features, from the iPad® and iPhone® apps to personalized engravings [on keypads] to the energy savings the system provides.”

 iPad and iPhone are registered trademarks of Apple®, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

RadioRA® 2 is an energy-saving system that gives you the ability to adjust the amount of daylight and electric light (using light controls and automated shades) as well as temperature in a single room or throughout your whole home.
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Products used in this projectSivoia® QS Wireless Roller 100 shadesseeTouch® hybrid keypadTabletop lamp dimmer

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