The client’s brief on this project was pretty straightforward – simplicity, reliability and discretion. He enjoyed the benefits of technology but wanted to keep the flashing lights and displays to an absolute minimum. He had Lutron lighting control in his Norfolk home and wanted to use the same means to control all lights and window treatments on his boat. He expected to work regularly from the boat and so a robust wired and wireless network was essential. AV wise, he wanted music throughout and a flat-screen based surround sound cinema system in the lower deck.
Walking around this beautifully finished houseboat, moored in what appears to be Chelsea’s only bohemian quarter, it is at first difficult to see that there is any technology on board at all, beyond the client’s Apple Macs in the Living Room and Master Bedroom. On closer inspection, however, you will notice that every lighting circuit (numbering more than 60), motorised fan, window and blind (including the Che Guevara awning on the rear deck) are operated via an intelligent lighting control system, providing functionality tailor made to suit the client’s home habits and requirements. Through the design stage, SMC worked closely with the lighting designer to create a lighting scheme that enhanced and brought character to each and every room in the boat. This can be observed most dramatically in the large open plan living area on the top deck – transformed from an elegant entertaining space to an intimate and comfortable study or dining room at the touch of a button.
The Media Room on the lower deck was the client’s one concession to out and proud technology. Pick up the iPad from the docking station at the foot of the stairs, take a seat and press ‘go’. The lights dim. A 55″ flat-screen rises unexpectedly from the joinery at the front of the room. A soundbar, integrated into the joinery beneath the screen, and a pair of in-ceiling speakers provide the surround sound audio. Take the iPad for a walk and you will discover music piped through to every corner of the boat via discreet in-ceiling or in-joinery speakers – whether you’re lying in the tub or sitting on the rear deck watching the Thames water traffic go by.