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wiltok
12-28-2006, 10:52 AM
Looking for the collective wisdom of the board. I am building a new lake house (actually a renovation but we are replacing nearly everything). Looking for a list of those things that you either have or wished you did (from a building perspective and a 'device/stuff' perspective). I have a month or two before framing, and have been racking my brain to cover all the bases. A few things about my plans...

-2 bedroom - 2 full bath (easily expandable to 3 bedroom)
-Whirlpool tub in master bath (w/separate shower and dual vanity)
-Cathedral ceilings in living room (facing lake) - 12 foot ceilings in lower level
-Fireplace and central air
-Attached 2 1/2 car garage with floor drain and NG heater (maybe an air conditioner too??) - 2 1/2 was the biggest I could fit on the lot
-Ethernet wiring throughout
-Security system (including video survelience with DVR)
-Whole house sound system (speakers in most rooms)
-Whole house video distribution (can make own channels for video cameras)
-Heated floors in several rooms (using existing furnace for general heating)
-Backup generator wiring to side of house (I'll add the generator later)
-Dog door onto deck (opened by tag on dog collar)
-Biometric wall safe (maybe 2)
-Remote thermostat (holds temperature whichever room the thermostat is placed)
-Central audio/video shelf for CD/DVD/VCR in closet; flat screens will be wired directly to central location so I don't have to have a device under each TV (there is a product that allows you to control the devices from each room)
-X10 lighting controls in most rooms

I am considering a whole house controller (HVAC/Security/Lighting/etc. but they are rather expensive and I can add it later.

What else is out there that I should consider? Thanks in advance!

-Keith

Maristar210
12-28-2006, 11:14 AM
Wide doors at least 36 inches. I have several 32 inch doors and I am always hitting my elbows on those damn things. Maybe its because I am too wide, just a thought. Looks like you've got some cool stuff already included on your list. Best of luck.

Steve

shepherd
12-28-2006, 11:15 AM
Personally, I'd ditch the whirlpool tub and put a small hot tub out on the deck or patio.

We had a whirlpool tub in our old house. We never really used it. Small and noisy. We have a small 2-person hot tub on the deck in our new house. We use that often.

just my :twocents:

LakePirate
12-28-2006, 11:16 AM
Put 2 shower heads in the master bath. Makes getting clean more fun if you do it in pairs.

If you are taller raise the counter tops on the vanities. Makes life a bit easier.

Frame in a mud/wash room with a drain in the floor and tile. It gives you a place to put wet bathing suits as well as wet suits and towels. Or put in a shower tub (the bottom part that is fiberglass) run a drain for that and a closet rod to hang wet items if you don't want to use the whole floor.

Put in dehumidifiers and vent them outside so you can turn them on and leave them running all year so to help control mold and the mildew.

Keg-o-rator and if you can find one an ice machine. Not the ones from Lowe's but a commercial grade ice machine, look for restaurants that are going out of business or a restaurant supply house.

Before you decide on what to use for the whole house surround sound, check out Bose, I heard a demo at the store the other day and it is amazing. The wife even wants it now.

JimN
12-28-2006, 11:24 AM
I'm going to start at the bottom of your list. If you have a room for the electrical panel(s), you'll need to run all of the lighting/controlled receptical legs to that area. Lutron lighting controllers are in-line on the runs and if you don't do this, it's hard to efficiently add it later and wireless switches are the only way to control them. You can't use an unlimited number of them. If you use X-10, Control 4 or something like that (uses Zigbee and short-range wireless), it runs on the electrical wiring or uses other points ro re-broadcast the signal. A whole house controller (HAI, Crestron, Control 4, etc) will need to be configured for ease of upgrade, network access, clean power and should go in the same room/closet as the panels. Since you want whole-house A/V, this should go here, too. If you want HVAC, security, whole house and central control, a closet isn't gonna be big enough to hold all of the equipment and be able to work on it. It'll need more space than that unless you can dedicate what would amount to a walk-in or powder room to it.

Pre-wire for more than you need immediately and look to the future for what will be needed for compatibility.

Yes, there are remote controllers for a large system- the more they control, the more involved the programming becomes. RF or IP based is the way to go in this case.

The cameras can send composite video or over Cat 5e- the cost will depend on what resolution, light sensitivity and focal range are needed, as well as if you want PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom). Then, the recorder will be the largest cost because the capacity will determine that, along with how many views you want, B/W or color, etc. Tape is dead for this- If you'll be away for weeks at a time, you'll need a big hard drive.

Where is this place? How much of this will you want to do? Do you have any equipment preferences?

chudson
12-28-2006, 11:25 AM
May sound silly but when putting up Christmas lights I thought if I ever build one thing I would do is put electrical outlets under the eves with a main switch inside the house!!!

wiltok
12-28-2006, 11:52 AM
You guys are awesome. On my blacberry right now - so a limited response. Good suggestions by all!!

JimN - the place is in Michigan. I would like to find a company to do it all as a package. Might have to import a crew from Chicago. The equipment will be in a 12 x 9 foot walk in closet. I am open on which equipment to use - although I currently have 3 panasonic network cameras (2 hcm 381's and a 371). Definitely looking for recommendations. Are you in the Biz??

JimN
12-28-2006, 12:07 PM
Read your PM.

Limited response? I had a Blackberry and didn't think it was as bad as the Treo.

jimmer2880
12-28-2006, 12:30 PM
I do all of my own wiring (data & electrical), and have starting moving away from CAT5 on to wireless. With the speed of wireless these days (the new N technology is sweet!), I don't see the need for wires in almost all cases.

For security systems though, I would still probably go wired since it probably isn't hard to build a jammer. But, it is also very easy to cut the cat5 if it's not 100% encased in conduit, etc.

The new cordless phones where you have 1 base that's wired to the telco, and the rest of the bases run off of that one are pretty sweet & negates the need for more than 1 phone drop.

So - my opinion would be to second-guess the Cat5 everywhere. Now is the time to do it, but it may not be necessary.

JohnnyB
12-28-2006, 01:36 PM
Personally, I'd ditch the whirlpool tub and put a small hot tub out on the deck or patio.

We had a whirlpool tub in our old house. We never really used it. Small and noisy. We have a small 2-person hot tub on the deck in our new house. We use that often.

just my :twocents:

I completely agree.....have the same thing.....large hot tub in the master suite that's been used maybe 5 times in 7 years and hot tub on the deck that get's used once/week. Spend the money on the outdoor hot-tub...better for entertaining, relaxing, etc. Plus, its always full of water and can be used without much prep...

JohnnyB
12-28-2006, 01:37 PM
May sound silly but when putting up Christmas lights I thought if I ever build one thing I would do is put electrical outlets under the eves with a main switch inside the house!!!

Did this one in my current house...very handy

wiltok
12-28-2006, 01:39 PM
That's really good advice on the tub! What I would really like to put in is a steam room. Maybe do a steam shower instead of the tub (put it outside as suggested).

JohnnyB
12-28-2006, 01:40 PM
I agree with the opinion on re-thinking running cat-5 everywhere. The media will change and wireless technology is already so good (phone and data) that it hardly pays to spend the extra $$ expecially thinking that Cat-5 won't be around that long. If you're interested in accommodating the next data medium, you'd be better off running empty wire ducts....

jimmer2880
12-28-2006, 02:35 PM
I agree with the opinion on re-thinking running cat-5 everywhere. The media will change and wireless technology is already so good (phone and data) that it hardly pays to spend the extra $$ expecially thinking that Cat-5 won't be around that long. If you're interested in accommodating the next data medium, you'd be better off running empty wire ducts....

Good point on the empty wire ducts. When I re-modeled my basement, I ran a single piece of conduit between every stud that had insulation to above the drop-ceiling. That was only 3 years ago & I've already used one of them.

wiltok
12-28-2006, 02:46 PM
Cool - I was wondering if you could just run empty conduit for future use. Seems like the way to go.

I am a little tainted with wireless - my laptop is wireless and for some reason it drops every 10-15 minutes (knocking me off my work connection and frustrating me othertimes). I also have a bunch of Panasonci web cameras (wired) that I will implement. I do have a wireless adapter for one of them - works well so maybe I do need to re-think that approach.

Here is a picture I took remotely today via my web camera - they put in the driveway this morning (foundation and garage pad were done earlier in the week....

Rich_G
12-28-2006, 03:42 PM
Don't know what your deck space is like, but we live on a lake and one thing we love is our screened-in porch. I would make it larger if I was rebuilding. When the weather is nice the porch is an extension of our living area. Our den, dining area, and bedroom open up to it. It has big ceiling fans and real furniture.

The bugs are so bad here we could not enjoy an outdoor deck very much after sunset. We also have French doors that open up to the outside. You need a special security hinge to have outswing doors, and for us, it really opens up the floorplan on the inside.

chudson
12-28-2006, 03:53 PM
16711

A buddy of mine put one of these in his garage and added capacity by one. Now you have to have a tall enough ceiling in the garage but real nice way to store a boat plus you can do alot of car work too!!!

Got it two years ago in Indy and cost around $1700. and this may have been the place.

http://www.gregsmithequipment.com/

boatless
12-28-2006, 03:59 PM
Mirrors in the ceiling, that would be nice if you want to see yourself doing you know what. :D

Monte
12-28-2006, 04:27 PM
Make sure to check all the basics before adding things to the dream list. I just went through all this a year ago. plan on all new plumbing. HVAC, major electrical upgrades, Not sure what year it was built, mine was built in '75 most everything like that mentioned was fried and/ or tired. Now is also the time to take care of replacement windows, kitchen and bathroom floors/ walls and fixtures. I'm sure you've checked all that out, just a heads up. Check the foundation seal (yes part of mine was bad, replaced it) but fixing it later will crack sheet rock. The nit picky sht is what will hit the wallet the hardest. Gutters, light fixtures, switches, trim, paint, toilets, sinks, hot water heaters, etc, etc, etc.... Go ahead and take care of those kitchen cabinets.. replace or redo, once you are in it kitchen repairs redos are the worst hell you'll ever go through.. Good luck with it, PM me if you have any questions, I'll help as much as I can. Everything I listed, I had to do to my current home before moving in... Oh yeah!!!!! last, but most important. For everything you get done (things you cannot or will not do) either hire a GC or contract it out or hire your own LICENSED sub-contractor... I hired two jack legs to help me with mine and paid them hourly....... BAAAAD IDEA... While I was in one room finishing working one was going behind the other pulling screws out of the sheetrock.. Job security

JimN
12-28-2006, 04:53 PM
Wireless is NOT as fast as wired. It can't be since the protocols won't allow it to be. Wireless needs to announce that it will send, wait while it listens for traffic and then it transmits (it's called CSMA/CA, for Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Avoidance). It's definitely not as secure and unless you have been hacked when using wired, your key strokes won't be recorded and nobody else will be using your line.

shepherd
12-28-2006, 05:10 PM
Back to baths/showers:
The fitness centers on some Carnival cruise ships have showers with multiple shower heads -- above the head and in the walls at waist/chest level. Very nice. I always wanted a shower like that and if I was building a bathroom I'd definitely install one.

Ric
12-28-2006, 05:35 PM
Wireless is NOT as fast as wired. It can't be since the protocols won't allow it to be. Wireless needs to announce that it will send, wait while it listens for traffic and then it transmits (it's called CSMA/CA, for Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Avoidance). It's definitely not as secure and unless you have been hacked when using wired, your key strokes won't be recorded and nobody else will be using your line. Threadjack

2 q's

1 mom has a wireless router on her roadrunner at home but has her main pc wired to the back of the wireless router... do we need to "secure" the router, in order for her transacting on the hardwire to be secure? or is it only the wireless portion of the router that can be picked up by outsiders when unsecured?


2 I have about 3 pc's and 2 laptops at my house. currently on my roadrunner modem I have a wireless secured router and only use my wireless laptop for internet at home... can I get wireless thingies that would allow the older pc's and laptops to use this secure wireless router simultaneously?

incidentally, the router is in my downstairs study and 3 of the other computers would be upstairs.. am I a candidate for hardwired cat-5 connections for at least the upstairs users?

jimmer2880
12-28-2006, 06:51 PM
Wireless is NOT as fast as wired. It can't be since the protocols won't allow it to be. Wireless needs to announce that it will send, wait while it listens for traffic and then it transmits (it's called CSMA/CA, for Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Avoidance). It's definitely not as secure and unless you have been hacked when using wired, your key strokes won't be recorded and nobody else will be using your line.

I don't know that anyone said it was as fast. But, the G throughput rates are at 49mb/s are approx 1/2 what most wired networks are running. But, if you're surfing the internet, you'll never get close to 49mb/s. 802.11N is rated at 300mb/s which is approx 3x faster than the typical wired network. Now, you'll never see that, because if you're at all concerned about security, you should be running encryption. Also, If you simply don't broadcast your network, that will stop 99% of the drive-by attack attemps.

Not to mention that the old addage of hard & crunchy outiside (internet), soft & gouey inside (LAN) model of security isn't a good one anymore. We need to be hardened throughout.

Bottom line is, you don't have to be faster than the bear, rather you just have to be faster and smell worse than the person next to you.

As far as the problem with wireless, I'd say that most of your problems are probably interference from other 2.8 Ghz devices. You will probably have better performance by turning off all other protocols on your router (If you have all G devices, turn off B. If you have all N devices, turn off B & G). If that doesn't help, try changing channels.

I do this stuff for a living & I'll tell you that I run wireless & if at all possible try to not run another cable in my life.

SkiDog
12-28-2006, 09:52 PM
Raise up your shower heads! There's nothing worse than having to bend over to rinse your hair! Also, if you can afford it, put in a steam unit in the master shower! You WILL NOT regret it! Also, make SURE your water heaters are big enough to handle more hot water than you think you will need! An 80 gallon should be sufficient. Running out of hot water ***!!!!!!!!! And also, make all your vanities to adult height of 36''. Moen faucets, nothing else!

Monte
12-28-2006, 09:57 PM
Moen faucets, nothing else!


Yep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JimN
12-28-2006, 10:12 PM
Jimmer- I don't use wireless and don't really need to. My point is that wireless is slower because of the CSMA/CA vs /CD difference and it's still susceptible to unauthorized use (wardriving, etc) and if the person messing with someone else's network can really screw things up if they're savvy enough to "share" their files that contain viruses, worms, etc. If a house is far enough from roads and other houses, I would agree that 802.11n would be the way to go. In a crowded area, I still don't know that I want that. IMO, the extra hardware will cost more than the Cat5e/labor/wall plates/router (which, if they have DSL like AT&T, may be built into the modem, like mine is) in most normal home LANs.

My biggest problem with UTP in houses is drywallers and where they think screws should go.

Ben
12-28-2006, 10:34 PM
Master shower - we just put in a 1 piece 32x60 - biggest 1 piece I could find (easy cleaning) shower head high on each end. Love it.

Master toilet - get a handicapped model - it's about 3 inches taller, also good addition. No, not the bars, just a higher stool

Screened porch - agree with past statements.

Find a good way to store water stuff easily, preferable a nice "garage" on the lakeside walkout with a small garage door, this could lead into the house.

A way to get to a bathroom from the water (lake) without crossing carpet.

Garage outlets about 4 feet high every 4 feet along the wall.

Coax & cat 5 everywhere. $200 now (or a bit more) is better than fishing ONE wire once it is all sealed up.

Speaker lines from the porch / patio to the lakefront - to get full sound w/o cranking it up too loud for a gathering.

I'm sure I'll think of more later. We are on the end of a similar project...

milkmania
12-28-2006, 11:04 PM
I do all of my own wiring (data & electrical), and have starting moving away from CAT5 on to wireless. With the speed of wireless these days (the new N technology is sweet!), I don't see the need for wires in almost all cases.

For security systems though, I would still probably go wired since it probably isn't hard to build a jammer. But, it is also very easy to cut the cat5 if it's not 100% encased in conduit, etc.

The new cordless phones where you have 1 base that's wired to the telco, and the rest of the bases run off of that one are pretty sweet & negates the need for more than 1 phone drop.

So - my opinion would be to second-guess the Cat5 everywhere. Now is the time to do it, but it may not be necessary.

I was just going to post about the same thing, but I decided to read the other responses before I posted....... (rare for me:o)

but, you nailed it all!

Leroy
12-28-2006, 11:29 PM
A lot has already been covered!

Consider putting in circulating hot water loop so you will have hot water instantly at any faucet.
Consider the instant hot systems for hot water.
Drop the cat5 unless you are in an area that is deploying IPTV.
Put plenty of AC plugs around, even in attic.
Run coax to every room and back to central location.
Route coax for sat and CATV.
Wireless cameras are getting pretty good also. I was reading about one that will take video or pictures when it senses motion and email the images to you.
I saw a security camera recorder at Fry's that will record 14,000 hours of video, with 4 inputs for $200.
Put a bathroom next to the entry from the garage.
PUt a work sink in the garage.
Plenty of flood lights at each corner of the house.

Workin' 4 Toys
12-29-2006, 09:10 AM
Exhaust fans above showers & toilets.
Depending on the whirlpool tub decision the size of the water heater is critical.
Agreed on the screen porch a must have, especially lake side.
Knowing you are in Mich. I would suggest a sink just inside the house from the garage instead of "in" the garage. Say for example a laundry room and slop sink.
Cat5e and RG6 cable wherever you feel the need for either, run both.
Energy recovery system....Heat recovery (http://lennoxnew.poweractive.com/products/overview.asp?model=HRV1 )
Germicidal Lamp...Germicidal (http://lennoxnew.poweractive.com/products/overview.asp?model=UV)

ski_king
12-29-2006, 09:20 AM
Put switch for the outside floodlights in the master bedroom or in the bedroom hallway.
Design in a few hidden storage areas. False wall in the back of a closet, places to put a safe, gun safe etc.
Insulate interior bedroom walls for sound.

André
12-29-2006, 10:33 AM
This thread title should read:
"Help me spend some of my money...":D

Workin' 4 Toys
12-29-2006, 12:00 PM
This thread title should read:
"Help me spend some of my money...":D
I think that has been done recently by "BOATLESS"......He got himself a good healthy annual bonus that looks like Beau's weekly paycheck.

jimmer2880
12-29-2006, 01:52 PM
Jimmer- I don't use wireless and don't really need to. My point is that wireless is slower because of the CSMA/CA vs /CD difference and it's still susceptible to unauthorized use (wardriving, etc) and if the person messing with someone else's network can really screw things up if they're savvy enough to "share" their files that contain viruses, worms, etc. If a house is far enough from roads and other houses, I would agree that 802.11n would be the way to go. In a crowded area, I still don't know that I want that. IMO, the extra hardware will cost more than the Cat5e/labor/wall plates/router (which, if they have DSL like AT&T, may be built into the modem, like mine is) in most normal home LANs.

My biggest problem with UTP in houses is drywallers and where they think screws should go.

As I was thining about this last night I occured to me that I may have come across wrong. Pls don't get me wrong - for security, there is no substitue for wired networks. You won't catch me recommending wired for "most" corporate customers. Some, however, have real neads for wireless (can you say ski resorts?). Along with that, if you are a big enough target (corporate executive, etc), I wouldn't recommend wireless either. That also goes for Crackberries. They can and have been hacked.

But, since I will never be an executive (for very good reasons I'm sure you are all painfully aware), I feel the risk of wireless greatly outweights the gains.

Since I don't have the priveledge of living in a townhouse/condo, I cannot speak to wireless performance/problems in urban areas. I'm sre there are some horror stories.

As far as the drywallers & screws - I can totally relate. Been there, done that. That's why I love drop ceilings in basements :)

Ron Grover
12-31-2006, 01:32 PM
An area and wiring for a sauna. Been looking at claimed health effects of a sauna on the internet and they have me sold on one when I re-model. (planned in 2 years)

phecksel
01-01-2007, 02:32 PM
Cool - I was wondering if you could just run empty conduit for future use. Seems like the way to go.

I am a little tainted with wireless - my laptop is wireless and for some reason it drops every 10-15 minutes (knocking me off my work connection and frustrating me othertimes). I also have a bunch of Panasonci web cameras (wired) that I will implement. I do have a wireless adapter for one of them - works well so maybe I do need to re-think that approach.

Here is a picture I took remotely today via my web camera - they put in the driveway this morning (foundation and garage pad were done earlier in the week....

Let me guess, you're using a Linksys wireless router V5,6, or 7. If so, pitch it as deep into the lake as possible. I'm using Linksys GL, which is an overpriced version 4, with aftermarket firmware. There are better choices.

Set up a central wiring point for telephone, cable AND satellite, and computer networking. Run 5-6 wires from logical sat dish location to wire room. From there, into every room run at least one CAT 5 cable, and at least TWO RG6 cables. When I say every room, I mean EVERY room. Make sure there's multiple conduits into this room from above and below. If it's a two story house, install a large conduit from attic to basement. Set up at a minimum in wall wiring for 7.1 surround. Video tape the entire wiring configuration before walls are closed in.

BriEOD
01-01-2007, 02:39 PM
Ditto...whirpool tub is a waste of space. Ditch the tub and put in a HUGE shower with body jets.