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Checking Out Crescendo Designs' "Experience Center"

We took a ride to Southampton this past Saturday to meet up with Crescendo Designs' president and cofounder Chris Brody and check out his company's new Experience Center. More than just a showroom, the Blaze Makoid-designed Experience Center is meant to mimic how the high-end audio, video, lighting and smart home technology Mr. Brody's company sells and installs would look in one's home.

The idea to try something like this has been in the back of Mr. Brody's mind for a while, but it wasn't until his initial idea for the space fell through that he went for it. Originally, he was going to use the building as a warehouse and showroom for high-end appliances. According to him, though, "PC Richards freaked out" when they heard of his plans. After that, the suppliers he had lined up all backed out within the week. Since he had already signed the lease, he decided to make the most of it. Nova Design Studio was brought in to outfit the place and the Experience Center was born.

Upon entering, the first thing we noticed was that the place smelled as new as it looked. In reference to the space itself, we jotted down "bright, open, clean, surprisingly spacious" while we waited for Mr. Brody to join us. Once he did, we were given a pretty thorough tour of the pseudo- living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and outdoor patio as well as the technology integrated within each "station". We now know that a television can be placed pretty much anywhere. We also learned that "smart homes" are becoming less of a novelty on the East End. "About one in five of my customers install some level of system nowadays," says Brody. Additionally, we were once again reminded that we should have studied finance.

As you would expect, this stuff does not come cheap. A very basic system ("lighting, sound and a few tvs") runs about 40K to install. Add some more bells and whistles and that price can jump substantially?the most expensive system Crescendo has installed ran around $1.8M. While number is dramatic enough, consider that most of the technology used will be obsolete in about 5 years. Mr. Brody acknowledged that this is often the case, but most of his clients "are on to a new house" before that happens.

· Crescendo Designs [Official Site]