Finding Opportunities in Automated Shading Solutions
Referred to as the top multifamily dwelling unit (MDU) project in the city of Austin, Austin Proper features 98 residences and penthouses equipped with powerful smart home control systems and elegant, natural design fixtures, in addition to an attached luxury hotel. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto the cityscape and flood the rooms with natural light. But with an open avenue to light comes the need for shade, and to AV Automation (Austin, Texas), it provided the perfect canvas for a joint Savant and Hunter Douglas automated shading solution.
Having first been brought on to fit the residences with Savant control systems for lighting and temperature, the original intention of Austin Proper was to leave the shading manual. However, very quickly, the integration team saw the potential of connecting a motorized set-up with the existing Savant control system to give residents even greater authority over the comfort of their space.
The only challenge was the scope and timeframe of the project. The 98 residences and penthouses featured feature and elevated aesthetic which included marble countertops, oak floors, wine storage and more courtesy of Kelly Wearstler. Meanwhile, the windows, designed by Handel Architects, came in a variety of shapes in sizes ranging from 106 inches to 138 inches in height. The average shade found in most motorized solutions wasn’t going to cut it, and they needed their solution quickly.
“On past projects, we had some struggles with shade suppliers to get product stocked. In a project like Austin Proper, time and reliability are critical,” said Reilly. “These homes were closing quickly, and we needed a company that we could count on.”
AV Automation Selects Hunter Douglas PowerView to Fulfill the Project
After evaluating their options, AV Automation eventually settled on Hunter Douglas shading. The expansive shading portfolio paired with the PowerView Automation technology platform opened the team to a new realm of possibility when trying to accommodate the needs of Austin Proper, its residents and the AV Automation team itself.
“Once we saw the quality and the size of the shades, we knew that Hunter Douglas could keep up with the demand for the 99 installations,” said Thomas Patton, director of sales and system design at AV Automation. “PowerView stood out as the solution for seamless integration with Savant.”
Selecting the Hunter Douglas Designer Screen Shades to fill the larger windows, the solution accented the modern, neutral décor, complementing the color scheme and design fixtures in the residences, while also hiding away when raised. AV Automation was also able to integrate them into lighting and scene schedules on the Savant system, allowing them to raise and lower with the sun throughout the day, or adjust according to a preset scene to meet resident needs.
Homebuyers were also given the option to select different shade styles if desired; AV Automation supported upgrades and customizations with a shade display in the project sales center. The shade quality suited the high-end fixtures in the dwellings, and the AV Automation team provided excellent service throughout the project with support from the Hunter Douglas team for measuring, installation, and questions.
Despite needing hundreds of custom shades in a tight window, Hunter Douglas delivered the shades right on time for the installation. “You always know the size and quality of a company by their customer service,” said Patton. “Top-notch service from Hunter Douglas allowed us to provide top-notch service to our clients.”
As Simple as a Seven-Figure Installation Can Be
The combination of PowerView Automation, shade quality, and customization options from Hunter Douglas has even taken AV Automation’s profits to the next level. In addition to bidding on another similar high-rise project requiring smart window treatments, adding Hunter Douglas shades to the Austin Proper residences AV Automation represented a seven-figure add-on in retail price and labor, which, “Frankly, was a simple sale,” said Patton.
With that, automated shading has become far more beneficial for AV Automation’s business, allowing them to boost profitability for commercial installations. Whether in a home or MDU like Austin Proper, Reilly sees smart shading as a new, pervasive category for AV dealers. “Our industry is going to include automated treatments on a regular basis,” he said, seeing more and more as integrators progress from “AV dealers” to “automation professionals.”