I am looking for strategies others have seen or used to disguise the interior units of ductless heat pumps or AC units from being the ugly bump homeowners so frequently mention when they look at example pictures/renderings. Anything from decorative covers to integrating it into the wall assembly to integrated interior design strategies would be great (so long as it doesn't significantly inhibit performance or air flow). I think the aesthetics are a huge obstacle to the deployment of these units in the correct climates (I'm in the south) and a few creative minds might go a long way toward overcoming these problems. Looking forward to anyone's pictures and ideas.
I have seen them hidden in soffits, using ducted mini-splits, part of cabinetry, etc...
As for ugly - check with the manufacturer, some have ones designed as artwork (a little past halfway down: http://blog.sls-construction.com/2012/acecets-grand-opening-ribbon-...) & then others can just blend depending on your designer & system chosen (also halfway down http://blog.sls-construction.com/2012/ibs-2012-day-2-green-right-wrong)
Some are going to ducted systems. Ductwork is VERY short with ultra low static pressures.
There are a number of options - one manufacturer 9LG ductless) makes a square wall unit that can have a picture/art in the front. There are also heads that can be installed in a ceiling ( if you have enough space) so all you see is something like a register. These would be placed in the center of the room. You can also use ducted heads that can be hidden or placed in a ceiling or floor space but there are strict limits to how much duct can be used.
If you are looking at heat pumps http://www.mitsubishicomfort.com/ has the best performing units I have seen. Look at the web site and you will see different options for your question.
Agree with Steven, if you want aesthetics, look at LG
How about slim ducts that recess in the wall and/or ceilings . I believe Fujitsu and Daikin both make such a unit
I use the ducted mini-split and very thin supply trunk and thin supply to make turn in to the wall. We use "color" AIA gal who will turn the grill look into wall detail. trim line or door line or what detail will make the grills just fall in to the shadow.
Last house 1200SF shot gun with one ton AC and the person who did the home morgage said no heat/or AC or grills in building, and would not do a morgage with out heat so I had to show him the stat and inside air handler behind a door. The cost to make the grill disapperar is in the trim and paint and where the eye goes. The air flow should be so low that's not going make a lot of noise most of the time. If the building is very well seal and High R will not take much heat there for small duct is needed. Just run the numbers ACCA MD use .03 duct size vs most new work is .1 sp new work then ends up at .25 with long duct, Total SP ends up with above 1" water and units are rated for .3 to .5 www.ericsenergy.com I have some on my web sight