New house design - Please tell me what I'm missing


New Member
First, I'm new to HA so I apologize if I ask questions about things you guys take for granted. We are starting construction on a new house soon and I would like to see your suggestions for the setup I'm considering. I will include a picture of the floor plan to help give an idea of what we are looking at.

The AV closet will be in the bedroom/study closet.

First thing I'd like to achieve:

Whole house audio. I'm considering an HTD MCA-66 with KC7 keypads.

Zone 1 - Great room/Dining room (2 speakers)

Zone 2 - Screen Porch (2 speakers) Porch (2 outdoor speakers)

Zone 3 - Master bed room (2 speakers)
Zone 3 Sub zone - Master bath (1 speaker)

Zone 4 - Bed room (2 speakers)

Zone 5 - Bed room (2 speakers)

Zone 6 - Bonus room (2 speakers)
Zone 6 Sub zone - Garage (2 speakers)

Audio sources - I would like to use an Onkyo TX-NR717 as the primary source and then choose from these components that are connected to it via HDMI:

Apple TV

Second thing I'd like to achieve:

Lighting control (and fans) via Insteon devices, controlled by an ISY99i. Initially, I would like to concentrate on the living room/great room/kitchen area and the lights on the external lights (front porch, back porch, screened porch, flood lights). I was thinking of going with the necessary Insteon switches and outlets in these areas.

Last on the list:

HVAC - I have been looking at the Nest thermostats but I'm open to other suggestions.


I would like to have the ability to control as much as possible from iPads with the roomie remote app. This is where it gets a bit tricky for me. I understand that the roomie remote app controls things via your IP network so if I don't have things plugged into the network I'll have to get converters.

For the IR components I've looked at the itach (wifi to ir).
For the HTD-MCA66 I've looked at an Insteon device that converts RS232.

I apologize if this is overly verbose but I'd like to hear your suggestions and recommendations. Please feel free to chime in and let me know if there are holes in this or obvious things I'm missing.


Active Member
Controlling with the roomie remote as a primary can be tricky. I use it but my kids nor wife seem to 'get-it.' I finally caved and put in a IR repeater for the main room and a pixie-pro panel in the kitchen so they have buttons to press. I have been thinking of getting the on/in wall mounts and buying some ipod touch's to run roomie on them but IR just seemed easier and less invasive.

IMO - If you are going the roomie remote path I HIGHLY recommend you use the IP2SER for serial communications to the onkyo (if it has it) AND the IP2IR for components that don't support IP or Serial. Direct IP connections to my Yamaha are good when they work with roomie, but there's always a lag that I don't see in serial.


New Member
Thanks for the info, Mike. I think I will have to upgrade to the next level receiver to get serial control on the Onkyo. What is so tricky about roomie? It seems a lot like a logitech harmony from the things I've read but I admit I don't know a lot about it. Thanks again.


Active Member
Roomie is fun and very extensible. The problem is that you can't RELY on it to control what you need to when you need it. When the ipod/ipad/iphone is multitasking or times out / sleeps it is unnerving to 'wait' for roomie to re-sync and take control, while it is only a second or two - when your wife walks into the room and asks you a question that requires you to turn down the stereo (which is normally the request anyway) grabbing a remote and pushing a button is quicker. (it also LOOKS like you are doing something rather than ignoring her and fiddling with your ipad to turn down the volume) :blush:


New Member
Ah, I could see where that would be a problem. I considered keeping the Harmony One remote around and having IR control in addition to Roomie just in case my parents or in-laws were at the house. It took months for them to figure out how to use the Harmony One remotes I got for them, so they would never figure out roomie. :D
Take a look at Cinemar and HAL.
I have a hybrid system with these controlling a UPB network, as well as Russound for distributed Audio.

Works great!



Senior Member
I can't speak for insteon - from watching the forum, it seems people are happy with them lately, despite early quality issues. I like UPB for the fact that it's easy to set up and program, is extremely reliable, and you don't need a $500 controller for it (nobody NEEDS the ISY, but everyone swears it's a must-have).

Insteon is single-vendor, which is a drawback - UPB has several makers and more sources. Insteon is cheaper and has a different variety of devices. It really comes down to personal feeling.

If you haven't already, take a look at the article in my signature - it has a lot of info on UPB.


Active Member
FYI. I stumbled upon a facebook posting that smarthome is having a sale on the insteon dimmers today, don't know how long it'll last, but $10 off the dimmer is a good deal.