Multi-room AV/home automation project

x1nick

Active Member
After saving for around 8 years I finally got the keys to my first home last Friday! :D

Being a bit of a DIY enthusiast I decided that I'd go for a project house, although a few days into the project I'm starting to think a new build would have been much easier/cheaper, but wheres the fun in that? To make matters even more challenging I can't get any time off work so trying to find a balance between getting contractors to handle the work and working late into the evenings. Only benefit is I'm currently renting a house across the road and working from home so makes it easy to meet the contractors.

The property is a 3 bed detached house built around the 1930s, structurally everything seems to be fine. Although a few roof repairs are needed.

As the kitchen/bathroom are both presentable I'm hoping to leave these for a year or two before breaking the bank on them.

Floor plan



Contents

Plans

Home Automation

  • Loxone Miniserver
  • 3x Loxone Dimmers extension
  • Loxone 1wire extension
  • Loxone Air extension
  • Loxone Tree extension
  • 8x Loxone Air Valves
  • Nx Loxone Tree Valves (underfloor heating)
  • AV controlled via UniPi (running Node RED)
Node 0
As rack under stairs, with some wall mounted bits.
  • Master server - E5-1620v2, 128GB RAM, 1TB NVMe, 280GB Optane, 1TB SSD, 108TB storage, 10GbE
  • Secondary server - Dual E5-2660, 128GB RAM, 10GbE
  • Mikrotik CRS317-1G-16S+RM (10GbE core switch)
  • Dell 5524P and Dell 5524 stacked
  • APC UPS 1500 - With network card
  • APC Zero PDU
  • Multiswitch for satellite/TV
  • 3x HEOS Preamp
  • Rotel 1506 - 6 channel amp
  • Philips Hue Hub
  • Texecom alarm
Other
UniFi access point mounted in the office

Living Room
  • Sony 55W829
  • Epson TW9400
  • Euroscreen Draper ReAct 2.1 93"
  • Marantz SR7011
  • Rotel 1552 MkII
  • B&W 683 S2
  • B&W HTM61 S2
  • BK400-DF
  • Nvidia Shield
  • Apple TV
  • Media PC
    • Silverstone GD08
    • MSI B450 Tomohawk Max
    • Ryzen 5 3600 with Noctua NH-C14S
    • 16GB Corsair Vengeance
    • Corsair RM850i
    • Intel X540 10GbE NIC
    • AMD 5700 XT
    • Samsuing SM951 512GB
  • Raspberry Pi 2 for RS232 control of Projector screen
Dining Room
In ceiling speakers - Niles Audio CM630

Kitchen
In ceiling speakers - Niles Audio CM630
Possibly wall mounted TV

Master Bedroom (with bay window)
Current kit list
  • Sony 50" Andorid
  • Marantz NR1508
  • Kef LCR
  • Intel NUC (i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
Bedroom / Office
  • Hackintosh - 4790K, 32GB RAM, 512GB NVMe, GTX 980
  • 3x 4K Dell 27" Monitors
  • Audiolab M-DAC
  • Audolab 8000P
  • B&W 685 S2
  • MacBook Pro 2014
  • Sony 49" 4K HDR TV
Bathroom
In ceiling speakers - Niles Audio CM630
 
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x1nick

Active Member
Day 1

Photos before clearing/tearing the place apart.

Apologies for the quality these, I'll try take better pictures in the future!

Hall

Planned
- 4-6 spot lights installed in here
- alarm keypad
- new radiator
- mains smoke alarm

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Under stairs / node 0

Planned:
- Brick window up
- New consumer unit
- 600x800 electrical cabinet for Loxone
- TV distribution
- Servers/networking

Cooling needs some consideration

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Lounge

Planned:
- Builder coming around tomorrow to discuss options with the existing extension
- Log burner recessed in wall (not sure how feasible this is just yet)

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Dining Room

Planned:
- Remove gas fire
- Move/replace radiator

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x1nick

Active Member
Day 1 - Continued

Kitchen

Planned:
- Nothing :)

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Downstairs Toilet

Planned
- Might get spot lights installed here, not sure yet
- Won't be replacing anything until budget allows
- Install towel rail connected to central heating

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Landing

Planned
- Spot lights
- UniFi access point

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Master Bedroom

Planned:
- Left hand of the chimney stack to be boxed off (ie where mirror is). TV wall mounted + Kef soundbar
- Replace radiator

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x1nick

Active Member
Day 1 - Continued

Office

Planned:
- Replace radiator

DSC02668.jpg
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Box Bedroom

Planned:
- Not much to work with here
- Replace/move radiator under window

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Bathroom/Toilet

Planned:
- Would love to get these knocked through into a single room, maybe one for next year
- Install towel rail connected to central heating

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Garage

Planned:
Storage/workbench!

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DSC02687.jpg
 

x1nick

Active Member
Day 1 - Continued

Garden

Planned:
- Remove greenhouse before it falls down
- New outdoor lighting
- Bigger patio without a drop would be nice to make the most of the south-west facing garden!
- Let it grow into a jungle

IMG_7014.JPG
IMG_7015.JPG
 

x1nick

Active Member
Home Automation

Had some basic automation setups in rental properties in the past but nothing too impressive. Started out with Zwave but not impressed with the odd drop outs and delays in messages being delivered.

Started investigating alternative options, leading me to:
  • Control4/Lutron/Rako - not DIY friendly
  • Crestron - not DIY friendly and not bank account friendly
  • Idratek - seems to be DIY friendly and bought some kit to play with but couldn't find a nice way to integrate it with my current Node RED setup
  • Loxone - ticks all the boxes albeit a little pricy
First Idratek prototype board, consisting of:
  • Power interface
  • USB interface
  • 4 channel dimmer

IMG_6703.JPG


Loxone prototype board, consisting of:
  • Loxone Miniserver
  • Loxone 1wire module
  • 2x Loxone Dimmer modules (4 channels each)
  • Loxone Air (for the radiator valves)
  • UniPi (Raspberry Pi 3 with various I/O)
  • Meanwell 24v
  • Some questionable wiring!

IMG_6979.JPG


Aiming to use modified GET Ultimate dimmer switches to control the Loxone via 24v

IMG_6819.JPG


And finally the low voltage cabling for the house!

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That's all for now :)
 

chazman88

Active Member
Control4/Lutron/Rako - not DIY friendly
What makes you say that Rako isn't DIY friendly?

Rako is one of the products I work with for a livingso I might be biased, but the software is available on the website and easy to use and you can buy the dimmers & keypads from many places online.

It's great because the keypads can be battery powered so you don't need to worry about cable locations/adding new cable.
 

x1nick

Active Member
What makes you say that Rako isn't DIY friendly?

Rako is one of the products I work with for a livingso I might be biased, but the software is available on the website and easy to use and you can buy the dimmers & keypads from many places online.

It's great because the keypads can be battery powered so you don't need to worry about cable locations/adding new cable.

So it does! I stand corrected, might have been another reason why I decided against Rako then. Good few months ago now!
 

x1nick

Active Member
House has been cleared and electricians have started pulling cables for sockets/lighting. They should be finished by the end of next week.

Plumber also in next week to remove all microbore piping and replace with 15mm plastic. Also installing 2 additional radiators (bathroom/downstairs WC).

Kitchen Lounge

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Front Room Dining Room

Still not sure on the socket positioning in here, not like it's permanent! :eek:

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Master bedroom

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Office

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Landing


Those copper pipes are for the downstairs WC, hot/cold feeds a millimetre apart. Hmm

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Home Automation


Panel building has progressed a little, spacing could have been better but it's just about manageable.

DSC02711.jpg
 
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Minty

Well-known Member
Hi just a quick note, any old rads that you are reusing get the plumber to remove them and give them a good clear out.

Good luck with rest of the refurbishment.

M
 

x1nick

Active Member
Just wondering what zwave controller you used in the past i have started on home automation and am using zwave and it is fast and resposive

Tried the Raspberry Pi header, Aeonlabs USB stick and a Vera home controller if I remember correctly.

Hi just a quick note, any old rads that you are reusing get the plumber to remove them and give them a good clear out.

Good luck with rest of the refurbishment.

M

Just getting them all replaced, managed to get a load of new radiators pretty cheap! :)
 

oneear

Active Member
Hi,
Congratulations on your new home. Very interested in your home automation solution as I am planning the same in my house. I assume you are running CAT6 to each room.
Just two suggestions from my end
1. You could consider knocking down the wall between kitchen and lounge extension and use that area as a kitchen diner with island in center. Move the lounge to the front room (i.e. one with the bay window) and use the existing lounge as your home cinema room with projector. This room can be made darker when required, as it is in the center of the house. Plus you will have a bigger kitchen which will be commensurate with the size of the house.
2. Please consider having in-wall volume control for each room where you install speakers. I did not do it and now am regretting the omission.
All the best with your build. Will follow the progress.
S
 

x1nick

Active Member
Aim is for most rooms to have:
- multiple CAT6 runs for IP
- automation over cat5e (cheaper and it's only sending pulses for switches)
- one empty conduit run per room for running upgraded cables in the future
- 2x Coax

1. I have considered this, but due to the supporting walls I'm trying to find a structural engineer who will discuss my options with me. Got some big plans but a small budget haha

This is along my ideal solution:

- Replace current brick supporting beams in lounge with steel steel portal frame.
- Extend hall way slightly and move lounge door around 600-700mm towards the back of the property.
- Shorten the kitchen + extend across the back of the property and have bi folding doors
- Have access to the garage from inside the house

I honestly don't think this is possible though due to the number of supporting walls which would need to be supported via steel frames.

Floorplan-Altered.png



2. I'll be running enough cat5e to add these in, but I'm yet to find something which looks sensible without breaking the bank on the high end systems
 
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x1nick

Active Member
Under Stairs

Weekend was mostly spend stripping wallpaper, removing plaster and cleaning up. Not forgetting some brick laying.

Everything besides sockets have been disconnected from the consumer unit to make working in this area a little easier.

Window bricked up, this was my first attempt at brick laying and hopefully my last! Luckily my dad popped round and did the outside for me which looks much neater than my attempt.

Plaster removed in various places to provide somewhere to run cables, as there current route is probably slightly dangerous and limiting to a few cables.

DSC02712.jpg
 

x1nick

Active Member
Not much to update on, electrician and plumber have been busy.

Had an exciting delivery of 20 packs of Rockwool and a towel radiator.

IMG_7074.JPG


I started pulling a few network cables for the bedroom, forgot how much of a pain this is! Only around 120 more cables to go!

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x1nick

Active Member
On Friday had the tree surgeon round to tidy up a little, took 3 guys all day to sort the conifers and the tree to the right which isn't photoed. Then family popped round to mow the lawn and tidy up a little. Needless to say it's looking a little better outside :)

DSC02714.jpg


Under stairs

This has all been cleared now of any old bits of wood, most of the plaster removed ready to clip cables on.

Last week the electrician took the distribution board off so we could put this sheet of plywood up. This will be used to mount trunking and the home automation panel.

There will be additional plywood going up to the right for TV distribution, alarm panel and telephone distribution.

Still discussing where the extractor fan will be placed here.

DSC02720.jpg


Providing I counted correctly, theres 43 cables here. Still around 50 more to go!

Amongst this bunch is:
  • Individual lighting runs
  • New socket ring for upstairs
  • Purple Cat6 for networking
  • Orange Cat6 for HDBaseT
  • Purple Cat 5e for light switches
  • Coax for TV/Sat
  • Alarm cables
  • Speaker cables for the bedroom
DSC02719.jpg


Downstairs Toilet

Previously this had a little electric heater in, figured now was the perfect time to get a towel radiator plumbed in. Nothing special, £50 odd special.

DSC02721.jpg


Decided to have spot lights installed in here as I'm 6'2" and kept tapping my head on the previous lights.

In the top right corner of the shower theres a 240v extractor fan which needs removing as it's against regulation. Need to find somewhere to vent this to as the garage is on the left side.

DSC02722.jpg


Bathroom

In here was a electric towel rail, decided to take a gamble and buy a towel rail off Amazon for £104. Looks ok, waiting to see if it leaks :)

DSC02723.jpg
 

x1nick

Active Member
Lounge

This is basically tool storage/workshop/snacking area when it rains currently. But the electrician has been hard at work here.

We have socket in the upper right corner of the photo for the projector (just hope I can get the structural work done as I would like).

6 sockets located fairly evenly around the room.

DSC02715.jpg


Dining room

When removing the paper, majority of the skim came off with it!

Wooden frame has been removed from the small side window.

4 sockets placed around the room.

Gas bonding run internally.

Radiator moved, although I'm still not convinced on the plumbers decision to use 10mm plastic for the radiator!

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Master Bedroom

Stud walls are up either side of the chimney.

The centre piece of plasterboard was my first attempt at dot and dab, almost spot on besides the bottom left corner which is around 2mm out.

Sockets need cutting out of these boards still.
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The mess I work in.... this is how NOT to work :)

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Office

Again, perfect example of how not to work. Stud walls going up here, wardrobes will be positioned on the left with a 2.7-3m desk along the rest of the wall.

Need to put supports on the stud wall in the correct place to support wall mounted monitors and support the desk itself.

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That's all for now. Just under 4 weeks until I have to move in, no pressure!
 
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x1nick

Active Member
Been forgetting to take photos of a lot of things as I'm frantically trying to get stuff sorted for the plasterer starting on Friday!

Office

This is the main location of where my desk will live, perfect time to prepare for 3x floating monitors and the possibility of a TV (overkill).

Ran 40mm plastic pipe as a conduit for power from the power bricks/HDMI/USB.

Cables run to the office:
  • 4x Cat6 for network
  • 1x Cat5e for automation (may remain unused)
  • 1x Cat 6 for HDBaseT if needed
  • 2x Coax
  • 2x 20mm conduit (one is for 2x fibre and the other is for possible future runs)
IMG_7106.JPG


Tools/Toys

After seeing PlasmaDan's post with regards to a plunge saw, my curiosity peaked. Started investigating these and while I couldn't quite justify the extra money for the Festool, decided I'll have to make do with a Makita SP600K with 2x 1.4m rails (was pretty much same price as a DeWalt one).

Overall very impressed, need to invest in a few good clamps now. More research needed! Also still a little unsure on where to line up for the perfect cut.

IMG_7103.JPG


I tend to use my phone for music while working at the house, the sheer amount of dust on it and the poor volume I decided to look for alternative options.

Looking at bluetooh speakers but sometimes the radio is nice, so decided on a Makita DAB radio haha

While it hasn't got bluetooth, in the rear compartment is a fair amount of room and a USB/AUX port. Perfect spot for my spare Raspberry Pi Zero W to be used for streaming/bluetooth.

IMG_7109.JPG


Anyone would think I'm a bit of a Makita fan :rolleyes:
 
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zad

Well-known Member
Some of the floors look like they would be nice sanded? Normally nice and solid from the 1930's
 

x1nick

Active Member
Some of the floors look like they would be nice sanded? Normally nice and solid from the 1930's

I did think about it, but due to many floorboards being poorly pulled up they would need a lot of work to make them look good.

Reality is I won't have the money so I'll probably have to leave them as is anyway!
 

Joe The Fixer

Standard Member
That's an ambitious project, I've been doing the same but just with our basement and A/V systems. I'm doing it while we live here,.. talk about dust.. turning it into a super ATMOS theater that can also be used as a gathering room. I strongly suggest independent systems and to stay away from the end to end systems like Control 4, Crestron etc., they are becoming dinosaurs that are often sold through dealer only channels and require a trained technician to program at $80 - $120 per hour. For example, LiftMaster makes a great product for garage doors but also has an app, the same with thermostats like Nest and Ecobee, or Yale, August app based dead bolt locks. We live in a great time when DIY options are becoming more plentiful. I'm looking at a new product called VSSL for my multi-room, either that or Sonos. Still trying to decide between Anthem and Audio Control from my theater backbone. Good luck, I enjoyed the photos.
 

x1nick

Active Member
That's an ambitious project, I've been doing the same but just with our basement and A/V systems. I'm doing it while we live here,.. talk about dust.. turning it into a super ATMOS theater that can also be used as a gathering room. I strongly suggest independent systems and to stay away from the end to end systems like Control 4, Crestron etc., they are becoming dinosaurs that are often sold through dealer only channels and require a trained technician to program at $80 - $120 per hour. For example, LiftMaster makes a great product for garage doors but also has an app, the same with thermostats like Nest and Ecobee, or Yale, August app based dead bolt locks. We live in a great time when DIY options are becoming more plentiful. I'm looking at a new product called VSSL for my multi-room, either that or Sonos. Still trying to decide between Anthem and Audio Control from my theater backbone. Good luck, I enjoyed the photos.

For the most part I do agree and this was my original plan, but after playing with various systems and none of them working quite how I wanted. Ended up biting the bullet on a second hand Loxone Miniserver to investigate it. I have done extensive research into my chosen platform including building a test bed and programming 70% of it.

I'll be programming it all myself, which to most probably sounds pretty ambitious! But I'm a dev ops/software developer by career, so had a play with the Loxone Config software before purchasing (it's free and has a simulator). It's literally dragging and dropping things onto a page and checking a few boxes!

Got HEOS built into my Marantz SR7011, overall been very impressed by it. The VSSL looks interesting, have you looked into the mobile apps? Thats always my biggest selling point.

Looking good.
It is a messy job but well worth it in the end. Looks like you have got everything covered.

Cheers, feel like I'm in way over my head! haha
 

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