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With the prevalence of streaming entertainment, Zoom meetings and more, a robust network based on a strong internet connection is a foundational element of modern homes — it’s an absolute necessity for today’s buyers.

For example, Jay and Stacy Albright were looking to purchase a spec home built by Ken Gray Construction in Sedalia. Says Stacy: “We’d put an offer in and then we were thinking, Hey, it’s out in the country, and we realized that the internet provider wasn’t very good. We immediately called our realtor and told her we weren’t sure we could buy that house. She said, ‘Let me do some digging and see what I can find out.’ Paula Mansfield, who is part of Koebel Development where we live, said, ‘Oh, I’ve got the perfect guy for you. Dusty with ListenUp. He knows what to do and he can figure it out for you.’”

ListenUp Outside Sales Manager Dusty Gorski

Jay and Stacy met with Outside Sales Manager Dusty Gorski, who had previously helped create a high performance network solution for a house just down the street. “We did a point-to-point microwave system with XstreamInternet,” says Dusty. “We mounted a microwave antenna on a tall pole and pointed it at their facility in Castle Rock. They have a fiber connection on their end, which gives it incredible speed. Then they hook it to their antenna and beam it to the antenna on the client’s end. We integrated a security router, network switch and wireless access points to provide both wired and wireless network and internet throughout the residence. Everything is protected by an IP surge suppression/ power conditioner that allows us to remotely log into the local area network system for any maintenance needs.”

With this digital backbone in place, Dusty, Project Manager Justyn Born and ListenUp technicians Nate Meyer and Doug Blease created an elegant smart home system that includes Lutron lighting control, motorized Hunter Douglas shades (designed by by Jules Oliva, ListenUp’s in-house shade, drapery and shutter expert), doorbell and garage door monitoring and control, climate control and distributed audio and video throughout. The system is intuitively managed by the Savant app on dedicated controllers, iPads and iPhones.

(Left to Right) Reece with Doug, Pippa, Stacy, Jay and Bailey

Room by room

In the media room on the lower level, a massive Sony 85-inch 4K LED TV is mounted on the wall over a decorative cabinet and flanked by Leon Ultimate Profile speakers on the left and right, and a Leon Horizon stereo/ center channel speaker — all of which are custom-made to perfectly match the size of the TV for an elegant presentation. Bowers & Wilkins in-ceiling speakers complete the surround setup, and two REL subwoofers produce dramatic deep bass. A Marantz surround receiver furnishes the brains and brawn, while a Sony 4K BluRay Disc Player and a 4K Apple TV provide the best possible sources. Both audio and video can be distributed to systems throughout the home via Savant.

In addition, a 65-inch Sony 4K TV graces one of the side walls, which was originally going to be where the main TV would be placed. “We talked about it, and you could only accommodate a smaller TV on that side wall,” Jay says, “so we went ahead and mounted one there and put the bigger TV on the other wall, where it fit much better. And then we decided on the Leon speakers around the edges because we didn’t want speakers on the floor other than the subwoofers.”

Another nifty thing is that the TV can be “tiled” to show multiple channels at once, which is particularly fun for sports fans. Jay, an alumnus of the University of Michigan undergrad and University of Iowa College of Medicine, is particularly enthusiastic: “For the NCAA basketball tournament, I was able to watch every single game and very quickly move from one game to the other, similar to how they can in the broadcast booth.”

The great room on the main level features a 75-inch The Frame 4K TV from Samsung, accompanied by a Leon soundbar for superior sound. When not in TV mode, the Frame acts as a digital art gallery. A dedicated Savant remote control is programmed for full access and control of the television and distributed audio/video sources for the entire room.

Bowers & Wilkins flush-mount round ceiling speakers are in both the kitchen and dining room. All distributed multisource/multizone audio sources are available for access and control through iPads and the Albright’s personal smart phones. Additionally, an Apple iPad is programmed as one of the whole-home system controllers. A table-top magnetic charging base station allows the iPad to be used for any location throughout the residence.

In the master bedroom, a 65-inch Sony 4K TV is mounted on a tilting wall-mount with sound from Bowers & Wilkins in-ceiling speakers. A pair of wireless headphones allow TV watching when one person is sleeping. The office on the second floor also features a 4K TV on a tilting wall-mount, along with a powered Savant soundbar.

The patio outside the rec room boasts a fully weatherproof outdoor 65-inch Terrace 4K TV from Samsung mounted on a cantilever wall-mount bracket to allow for viewing from a variety of seating locations. The Savant system and remote allow for access to all audio/ video content available in the rest of the house. On the covered deck there’s a pair of weatherproof Bowers & Wilkins flush-mount round ceiling speakers, and near the firepit by the guest casita two Rockustics rock speakers deliver great outdoor sound while seamlessly blending into the environment.

The smart choice for smart homes

The Albrights fully enjoy all the benefits their smart home can bring, with one-button operation of lighting, motorized shades, climate control and entertainment in every area.

“We all control with different things,” says Jay.

“I like to use the iPad…”

“And I just love being able to control everything from my phone at home or away,” adds Stacy.

The family also appreciates its ongoing relationship with the ListenUp techs. According to Jay, “The whole team that worked here was very respectful of our home and made sure that everything was done, not just professionally, but in a very timely manner and with the greatest of care for our house and belongings. They weren’t careless with things and they didn’t do any unnecessary work or mess anything up that would require us to pay more or to get something patched up.”

“The guys from ListenUp have been really easy to work with,” says Stacy. “I mean, even now, if one of my TVs is down, Justyn says, ‘Just text me. I’ll either try to fix it remotely or walk you through it.’ We’re really happy with their great service.”

Interested in making your home more modern? Schedule a consultation with our team of experts to decide what technology is right for you and your family. With the most CEDIA-certified technicians in the nation, we can make your smart home dreams a reality.