Blanchard admits the project can seem daunting. "The coordination of a project this size between some companies that are not used to being integrated is huge," he says, adding that the time frame is tight as well. "It definitely helps that it is a new home—we all prefer that, obviously. [But] we are also on a bit of a time crunch—these style homes usually are. They want to have everything in there in a short period of time. When we go in, the foundations are in, but when the electrician and the HVAC guys and Hifi House were all asked to come in, we had about four or five months to do all that work," he says. "But a little pressure never hurt anybody."
Blanchard and his crew had relative free reign on their own work, and didn't have to get any products approved by the builders or designs. But he says that communication was nevertheless still important. "We worked with them closely, and made sure everyone was on the same page," he says. Sometimes problems between companies could be avoided by using common sense tactics. "We used Lutron [for example] because the builder and the electrician were both familiar with Lutron," he explains. "Hifi is both a Lutron and Crestron lighting dealer, but we went with Lutron because of the comfort level with the two other people at the meeting."
As installations go, this one presented its own unique challenges. Unlike some previous Design Homes, a dedicated home theater was not in the plans for the Edgewater house, so the surround sound needed to be placed in rooms with incongruous walls. "In the family room," Blanchard cites as an example, "there is a fire place on the right-hand side of the plasma TV and there is no back wall: That's the kitchen. So where would you put rear speakers? If you put them in the ceiling, they not only look better, but it allowed us to position the speakers in a better location for better sound."