Right at home: decor with built-in tech

The Progress-Index - At Home - - NEWS - BY KIM COOK

It’s one thing to have a beau­ti­ful, comfy bed. But what if it also in­cluded a TV screen, game con­sole and dimmable, color-chang­ing lights?

Or say you’ve got just enough room in your apart­ment for a cre­denza or speak­ers, but not both. How about one piece that in­cludes both — and a whole me­dia sys­tem?

The in­te­gra­tion of tech­nol­ogy into home dé­cor has come a long way since clunky TV screens peered out of ar­moires and me­dia cab­i­nets; to­day’s su­per-thin screens can come em­bed­ded in the bath­room mir­ror or at­tached to the wall like pieces of art.

The “wall­pa­per” mode on Sharp’s new, high-def­i­ni­tion Aquos TV lets you dis­play pho­tos, paint­ings or other im­ages as wall art when you aren’t watch­ing tele­vi­sion. You can set a clock for dis­play times, and the light level is re­duced to get rid of glare. (www.shar­pusa.com )

Sam­sung’s four-door fridge has a Wi-Fi en­abled screen that you can load with pho­tos, news, cal­en­dar, notepad and recipes. (www.sam­sung.com )

Want to stay on top of the morn­ing news?

Seura’s TV screens em­bed in the bath­room van­ity mir­ror. Robern’s em­bed in the medicine cab­i­net. (www.seura.com; www.robern.com )

TV man­u­fac­tur­ers are mov­ing into OLED — or­ganic light emit­ting diode — tech­nol­ogy, which can be linked to com­put­ers and other tech de­vices. It’s thin as a pen­cil and able to be curved. (www. lg.com )

As for sound sys­tems, Sym­bol Au­dio of Ny­ack, N.Y., has a New Au­dio Desk that in­cor­po­rates high-qual­ity speak­ers into a slim writ­ing desk crafted from maple, wal­nut, oak or cherry.

Baby boomers may re­mem­ber the fam­ily’s old hi-fi sys­tem. While iPhones and iPads can now hold the equiv­a­lent of hun­dreds of Mitch Miller al­bums, there are still those among us who like the mid-cen­tury chic of a retro-styled sys­tem. Sym­bol Au­dio pays ho­mage to the hi-fi with the Mod­ern Record Con­sole, a wal­nut cab­i­net out­fit­ted with a hand-built tur ntable, am­pli­fier and built-in wire­less router.

“The act of re­mov­ing an al­bum from its sleeve, clean­ing and plac­ing it on the turntable is in­ter­ac­tive and phys­i­cal. There is an un­de­ni­able charm to vinyl that’s more than just a fas­ci­na­tion with the past,” said Blake Tovin, Sym­bol’s founder. (www.sym­bo­l­au­dio.com )

De­signer Chris Cush­ing­ham of Brook­lyn, N.Y., crafts his own ver­sion of the hifi con­sole out of wal­nut and cor­ru­gated card­board. He’ll also make you a cus­tom one us­ing your record player, au­dio gear and LP col­lec­tion. (www.cushde­sign­stu­dio.com )

Bloom­field, Conn.-based Sala­man­der De­signs con­ceals high-per­for­mance loud­speak­ers in el­e­gant cab­i­netry.

The Chicago model is clad in stri­ated black oak, evok­ing the prairie grass of the Mid­west. There are ver­sions in wal­nut, Amer­i­can cherry and high-gloss white lac­quer. (www.sala­man­derde­signs.com )

Ital­ian de­signer Edoardo Car­lino’s spacy-look­ing Hi Can canopy bed in­cor­po­rates a the­ater screen, in­te­grated PC and game con­soles, and built-in lights to cre­ate a self-con­tained bed­room/play­room. (www.hi-can.com )

Re­place ceil­ing, floor or ta­ble lamps with IAV Lights­peaker’s wire­less fixtures and run your mu­sic through them. You get light­ing, sur­round sound and no ex­pen­sive wiring to deal with.

For rentals and va­ca­tion homes, there’s an out­door ver­sion built into a faux rock you could put on a pa­tio. (www.iav­light­s­peaker.com )

Kohler’s Moxie show­er­head has a Blue­tooth speaker at­tach­ment so you can sync ra­dio or playlists for bathing mu­sic.

Dis­en­gage the speaker and carry it to another room, or the beach. Col­ors in­clude white, cherry red, navy and char­treuse. (www.uskohler.com ) Ready for en­ter­tain­ing? Just hit “party” on Lutron’s new Home­works sys­tem. It sets the mood of a room with spot­lights, dimmable over­heads, mu­sic and ther­mo­stat set­tings. The com­pany of­fers cus­tom­ized light­ing op­tions for a va­ri­ety of moods and rooms. (www. lutron.com )

If you’d just like to dis­guise out­let and vent cov­ers, check out Tru­fig’s mar­ble, wall­pa­per, wood or con­crete flush-mounted op­tions, which make the con­nec­tion dis­ap­pear into the wall. (www.tru­fig.com)


This photo pro­vided by Sala­man­der De­signs shows the Den­ver model in wal­nut with high per­for­mance loud­speak­ers in el­e­gant cab­i­netry. There are ver­sions done in Amer­i­can cherry and high gloss white lac­quer from the Bloom­field, Conn.-based Sala­man­der...

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