Sussex Cottage

In early 2010, we were approached by a client in East Sussex who had recently purchased a cottage on the edge of a wood. They were extending the cottage to add a new sitting room, an additional bathroom and a second guest room. The very poorly constructed conservatory was being re-built, as was the utility room.

As the whole heating system was being upgraded and an additional bathroom added, they also had to increase the capacity of the heating system. We specified a 45kW Eco Angus log boiler. The client has all the logs they need from their wood and government grants mean that within seven years they will have paid for the system and will effectively have free heating and hot water. They retained their old gas boiler which takes over when they are away. The heating system integrates with the HAI control system, so the temperature can be checked and set whilst away, using an iPhone.

When the client first moved in, they put in Rako wireless lighting. This is a mood lighting system which is very easy to retro fit and does not involve chasing any walls or running any cables. For the new parts of the house where cables had to be run anyway, we specified a wired Rako system. This has the advantage that keypads do not need their batteries changing (every 18 months or so) and the keypads have more functionality. The lighting integrates with the HAI alarm system, so when the alarm is set, all the lights turn off. There are a total of 19 Rako zones and 49 lighting circuits. An iPhone app allows any rooms lights to be controlled or any lighting scene to be altered from the phone. Most of the new light fittings were supplied by John Cullen Lighting.

In the master bedroom, there were five velux windows. These had manual privacy blinds but the client waited to change these for blackout blinds as the morning sun often woke them up(the only things which can look in though the windows are squirrels, so privacy blinds were not really necessary!). We installed Velux Solar blackout blinds. Because these take their power from the sun, there is no need to run any wires. All the blinds can be opened or closed using one simple remote control.

We installed three zones of Sonos music. This gives them access to all their music on their PC, as well as digital radio and Napster / last FM music services. The client did not want to see speakers in the ceiling for have floor standing speakers cluttering up the space, so we installed Amina plastered in speakers in both the Orangery and the Sitting Room. These sound fantastic and are totally discreet. There are two hand controllers and again an iPhone app can supplement this.

Control, and Alarms
When the house was purchased, it did not have an alarm fitted. The client did want one but they did not want to run any cables in the old part. They also wanted to be able to check the temperature in the house and to turn the heating on and off whilst away. The other requirement was to be able to turn off all the lights when the alarm was set. For this, we specified an HAI control system. The HAI allows for up to 64 alarm Zones, which have an auto dialler which calls a central station and reports security, panic or fire alarm emergencies. It can also call key-holders, if preferred. There is a backup GSM mobile auto dialler which functions if the phone lines have been disabled.

If the alarm is set, the driveway sensor triggers the external CCTV camera to record approaching vehicles and the HAI system then emails the client.

The HAI also controls the heating system which three heating Zones. No only can this be accessed whilst away, but it will also turn down the heating when the alarm is set.

There is also a wired data network in the new part of the house and wireless for the old.

There is a 42” JVC monitor in the sitting room. This is mounted on a lift mechanism which lows the TV into a cabinet, which has dummy books on it, making it appear a bookshelf, when not in use. This has an Apple TV, Sky HD and DVD recorder attached to it. The other items are located in the Central Distribution Point, linked with a wiring loom. This keeps the clutter out of the sitting room. Control of the TV is done using a Philips pronto remote control. This can also control the sitting room lights and all zones of HAI heating.

The budget for this was under £70,000.

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