Zen Outdoor Shading a Huge Hit in Southwest Florida Neighborhood

One custom Zen project leads to another … and another, creating a motorized shading bonanza for AVLT Solutions

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Three Neighbors, Three Problems, One Solution
An awkward doorway leading from a screened-in porch to a backyard barbeque grill, a 14-foot-tall glass door soaked with intense afternoon sunshine, and a hot, buggy backyard–three very different problems, but with one single solution: the Zen motorized outdoor shading system from Screen Innovations. Highly customizable, Zen enabled the Southwest Florida-based systems integration team at AVLT Solutions to devise three very different shading solutions for each unique application. Here’s how they did it—and in the process built a great reputation and ongoing business within a neighborhood of bona fide customers.

Solution #1: 16-Foot Section of Motorized Shading Creates a Convenient Pass-through
Word travels fast when something’s shaking in the neighborhood. Screen Innovations’ Zen motorized outdoor shading system was the talk of the town recently in a suburban Florida , after AVLT swapped a section of a screened-in patio for a slick, motorized screen. “The owner wanted a more seamless transition between the enclosure and the backyard—a way to get in and out without having to pull a door handle while carrying a tray of burgers for the grill, for example,” explains AVLT owner and CEO Ryan Tallman.

AVLT Solutions - Florida - House 2 - Shade as Doorway Up

After a thorough analysis of the existing structure, AVLT fabricated custom brackets to mount the Zen housing and established a few presets–up, down, and halfway—for the Zen motor to engage when signaled by a waterproof Somfy remote. AVLT specified a shade that’s 16 feet wide and in a fabric that matches the existing partitions of the enclosure.

Zen allowed us to create a larger and hands-free doorway that still looks like a natural part of the screened-in porch and is just plain cool. The customer loved it so much he told his neighborhood friends, some of which turned into customers.

— AVLT owner and CEO Ryan Tallman

AVLT Solutions - Florida - House 2 - Lania Shade as Doorway

AVLT Solutions - Florida - House 2 - Shade as Doorway

Solution #2: Custom Screen Door Blocks the Sun But Lets in the Breeze
As the above project unfolded, neighborhood curiosity grew. “We had to do a lot of work to the framing of the enclosure, utilizing a wench to put the components in place, so people were naturally interested in what was going on down the street.,” Tallman recalls. After seeing the results of the clever custom shade install, a neighbor asked AVLT to see how a similar shading system could be added to the sun-soaked door at his front entryway.

AVLT Solutions - Florida - House 3 - Door Shade

“Glass panels on each side of the door were introducing an abundance of sunshine into the house, which the owner wanted to block on occasion,” Tallman relates. To ensure that this unique Zen installation proceeded without a hitch and met HOA approval, AVLT sent a sketch of the doorway to the design team at SI. In just a few days, AVLT had a perfect-size zip track to mount to each side of the doorway and a Zen cassette with a roll of 14 vertical feet of designer fabric inside. “We killed a lot of birds with one stone on this project,” Tallman says. “A solution that looks and operates better and is sturdier than a conventional screen door, lets in a breeze, blocks the sun when necessary, and can be opened and closed to different presets from Control4 mobile app or keypad.

AVLT Solutions - Florida - House 3 - Shade as Doorway

Solution #3: Motorized Shades Create a New Bug-Free, Air-Conditioned Outdoor Living Space
This project may have been the most conventional of the three but is the most expansive in scope. Repelling insects from an outdoor living space was the objective, and Zen combined with SI’s No-See-Ums fabric handles the job beautifully for a 25-by-15-foot lanai. The owners typically leave the shades down and the sliding glass doors of the house open to allow air from the AC to cool their new enclosed outdoor area, but all it takes is a tap of a button on a Control4 mobile app or touch screen to create an open-air entertainment space or to open only one side to let the dog out. “Zen allows the owners to enjoy their lanai comfortably year-round, giving them another space to entertain and add valuable square footage to their home,” Tallman says.

AVLT Solutions - Florida - House 1 - Shades Half Way

AVLT Solutions - Florida - House 2 - Shades Up

AVLT Solutions - Florida - House 1 - Shades Up

AVLT Solutions - Florida - House 1 - Shade Half Way

AVLT Solutions - Florida - House 1 - Shades Down


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