For many, home is more than just where you hang your hat. Home is where you can be alone and enjoy it. It’s where you can raise a family and develop powerful memories. But home isn’t home right away. A place becomes home because you set down roots and build a world around yourself. But as much as a home is defined by personal growth it is also a physical space and how you dwell in that space says a great deal about you, because a home’s character is influenced by your own. Here are some features that will give your home some real character and set you apart as a homeowner.
EcoWalls is a full-service firm that manufactures, designs and installs vertical landscapes for your home. These living walls are highly functional and sustainable, as well as beautiful additions to your interior space. EcoWalls analyzes the space, determining how the wall will be irrigated and the level of lighting in the environment. Once the initial assessment is complete, they sit down with their clients to discuss the colors, textures, and fragrances they may be looking for, in order to select the appropriate plants based on the environmental and aesthetic parameters. “It becomes very much a custom piece of artwork in the sense that you’re employing the correct plants in the space but also your client is having their own personal living wall built so it’s a personal touch,” explained Michael A. Coraggio, one of the founding principals of the company. “The clients see it everyday, they take pride in it.”
The plants grow on 9 square-foot modules that are about 5.25 inches thick. Inside the module, which can be stacked or placed side by side for larger installations, is a micro-drip irrigation system. This system is woven into the two layers of polyamide felt which sandwich a horticultural foam designed and patented by EcoWalls to soak up water and nutrients, locking them into the system so that the wall does not have to be watered as heavily or frequently. On the surface is a UV resistant foam on which pockets can be cut anywhere for planting. This way, the plants are not confined or restricted, allowing their roots to spread across the entire module, ideal for long term plant growth. Coraggio explained that in an interior, low light living wall, water is pulsed through the system once or twice a day for four minutes each cycle. Overall, the water usage is relatively minimal, using three quarters of a gallon per module. However, it is also possible to use an aquaponics system if you have a koi pond for example, which would cycle the water from the pond and back. The fish produce waste which the plants can use as nutrients and then filter back clean water to the fish to begin the cycle over again.
The living walls are an incredible decorative touch but if you are looking for something more practical, and are more culinary inclined, EcoWalls also installs Chef’s EcoWall Gardens. These are horizontal planters mounted on the wall like shelves with integrated lighting and a water recirculating system. This system is more efficient for growing produce such as compact herbs, and root vegetables that require more light. It’s also more user friendly. “This is something where you can literally start a seed from scratch as a homeowner, grow that plant out, watch it grow into a mature plant, harvest it when you’re ready, and start a new plant right in the system again,” explained Coraggio.
Player Piano 2000
A love of music can be expensive. If you’re a musician, it’s the instruments, but if you’re a serious listener, it’s the sound system. For some, a sound system just isn’t enough, as one resident proved with his decked out Edgewater, NJ apartment. To begin with, 16 Stealth Acoustics speakers were installed throughout the penthouse, so that one can listen to music from any room, but sometimes, the mood calls for something different. This is where the Bösendorfer automated piano comes in. Yes, it’s all well and good if you can play the piano, bust out in the occasional Moonlight Sonata, but this piano is special because it is integrated to the system in such a way that the music library can be played back through the piano. It’s like having your own personal lounge musician. Installed by Serious Audio Video, Inc., the whole system is controlled from Elan’s g! Entertainment and Control System, with an Elan touch panel in every room, but for added convenience, the system can also be accessed through one’s smartphone and tablet.
Flat screen televisions have long been an important innovation in home viewing by reducing the footprint of televisions in our homes, allowing them to be mounted on the wall, making them relatively unassuming. However, even despite their low profile, a television when not in use can throw off the décor of a room and stand out in the wrong way. That is where Vutec Corporation’s Artscreen System comes in. The Artscreen System allows your flat screen television to double as a piece of artwork, by mounting a frame and silent motorized screen system around your television. When you’re done watching TV, simply use a remote to lower the screen over the TV, revealing a painting or photograph. Vutec offers a variety of paintings and frames for clients to choose from, as well as the option to use your personalized artwork or photography for a more individualized Artscreen. A beautiful piece of artwork can really tie a room together and act as a conversation starter, while a television can be a distraction, interrupting discourse when not in the right context.