|THE MEDIA ROOM features a Mitsubishi 65-inch DLP 1080p RPTV, Triad InRoom Bronze LCR speakers upfront, Triad InWall Bronze/4 Surround speakers, and a Triad InRoom Bronze PowerSub. A Control 4 Media Controller handles the various source components.|
Since this is the first house in the development, it has become a test bed for other projects. "We wanted to make sure we got all the kinks worked out with the contractors, the materials, and the building process," Damavandi says. While a Mexican architect designed Casa Fortuna and local craftsmen built it, the Damavandis called on CEDIA-certified designer Bruce Garipay, owner of Electronics Concierge, for his A/V expertise. "I found out what they generally wanted, such as the size of the TVs for various rooms," Garipay recalls, "and the rest they pretty much left up to me."
An installer for more than a decade, Garipay left Arizona 2 years ago after watching the custom market in Phoenix become ultracompetitive. He decided to seek opportunities in Mexico's booming resort areas, and as an avid surfer and native Southern Californian, missing the beach gave him another reason to head south.
But it hasn't been all catching waves, sipping cold cervezas, and installing high-end systems. In fact, Garipay found he faced a steep learning curve as he began carving out a niche, and doing business in Mexico presented its own hassles. Just getting gear through customs can be frustrating, time-consuming, and costly. "You have to import almost everything," he explains. "It can sometimes sit in customs for a week, there's a lot of paperwork, and on some products there can be up to 100% importation duty."
Installing gear in another country with a language barrier, a knowledge gap, and a different approach to construction can also be difficult. The mindset of local tradesmen, who usually aren't up on the latest custom-install trends, is one hurdle. "They don't really understand the concept of the integrated home," Garipay says. "So it's a challenge to work with someone who speaks only Spanish and doesn't always understand what I'm trying to do."
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