Hiding Tech in a 100-Year-Old Home

You can stash those modern speakers – or even disguise them

By Ed Wenck

It’s a constant “ask” from those who are trying to modernize their homes while preserving the aesthetic of a bygone era: Can we hide this stuff?

The answer’s usually yes — current speaker technology allows placement in walls and ceilings, and some models can even be hidden behind all manner of wall treatments without a diminishment in sound quality. TVs can disappear into walls, floors, and cabinets with the right hardware.

There’s another option, though: Disguise the technology.

An Old Radio and a Hidden TV

The integration firm Admit One Home Systems had a client who wanted a media room that would match the aesthetic of his 1906 home — he longed for an AV system that would blend with the theme of his man-cave. (The room has the vibe of a luxury railroad car from the same era.)

The Admit One team settled on a daunting strategy: Find very early radio gear and speakers, pull the guts out, refurbish the exteriors, and insert modern electronics. The project took the better part of the year, and the first order of business was finding equipment from roughly the same era that was in salvageable shape. After locating the speakers and separate radio unit, the rotary dials and original switches on the old amplification and control box presented themselves as perhaps the project’s biggest challenge — the integrator needed to find digital dials that would work with the vintage Atwater Kent equipment.

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That wasn’t all. The homeowner wanted a modern television viewing experience in the room — again, without sacrificing the look of his den.

330062b.jpgAdmit One worked with the home’s other contractors to construct a housing for a 4K screen that lifts from its hiding place, providing a 21st-century viewing and listening experience.

A key to the success of a project such as this one: Having the technology integrator involved before a single stud went up in the room. From wiring to the lift that brings the screen up to a viewing position, the marriage of modern tech and a remodeled room is vastly easier when teams are communicating at the outset.


Ed Wenck is the Content Marketing Manager for CEDIA, the industry association representing those professionals who manufacture, design and integrate goods and services for the connected home. Find a CEDIA pro near you.

PICTURES COURTESY OF Admit One Home Systems/Spacecrafting, Inc.

| 5/11/2018 11:31:34 AM | 170 comments