Design: Mastering the Media 

At the Symphony Designer House unobtrusive technology sets the stage for elegant entertaining.

click to enlarge symphdude.jpg

he most talked-about room at this month's Richmond Symphony Designer House happens to be the basement.

The 2,000-square-foot space is anything but dismal with its glowing, mica-papered ceiling and its luxe blend of furnishings and art.

Even more noteworthy is its technology, costing more than a luxury car and discreetly hidden in the space. A motorized 10-foot projection screen lowers for home theater viewing and retracts within a ceiling beam when not in use.

With a touch on a keypad, the homeowner can control lighting, music, television and other media. Integrated Controls Group installed the electronics, and has recently installed local homes more sophisticated systems in that control interior climate, fireplaces, security, intercoms, indoor and outdoor music and lighting, even switching on hot tubs or flushing toilets if that's what the homeowner desires. Speakers can be hidden behind drywall in an invisible installation technique. In the designer house, they are mounted in the ceiling.

A room with smart technology could be decorated with a futuristic scheme, but designer Kevin Malone of Williams & Sherrill lavished the space with loungelike features in earth-toned chenilles, leathers and woods.

Malone and his colleagues Cindy Coppola, Deirdre Knight and Susan Cartwright created a game area with a foosball table, a conversation zone with upholstered seating around a stone fireplace and an ornate bar positioned next to a climate-controlled 2,000-bottle wine cellar.

Details such as padded-silk wall panels, tusk and tortoiseshell tables, velvet and silk window coverings, and stone columns elevate the basement's warmth and presence. It's also the spot that tour-goers, particularly men, spend the most time ogling. HS

The 2006 Richmond Symphony Designer House at Founders Bridge in Midlothian is open daily through Oct. 8, weekends through Oct. 22. See for details.

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