Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography
We have had the pleasure of working on many amazing homes with integrated technology, but very few come close to this luxurious smart home in terms of aesthetically pleasing design and simple-to-use controls. This residence has nearly every kind of technology you could possibly want in a home. This client has been gracious enough to open their doors for Design & Living Magazine to highlight the ways various forms of technology can increase the use and function of a home without distracting from its architectural elements.
About Smart Home Technologies
Smart Home Technologies was founded in 2014 with a team of like-minded individuals driven by our shared passion for all things technology. With more than 50 years of combined experience, we handle all aspects of home technology, regardless of the size or scope of a project. We apply this same standard of excellence to our commercial projects as well. Our love of this industry pushes us to create the absolute best experience for all of our clients.
Home Technology Tour
For this project, the client trusted our experience and expertise. While they approached us with a specific list of needs, their primary request was for the home to function in a simple, reliable and fully-integrated capacity. This required us to work closely with the architect, builder, interior designer and several other important trades to deliver a truly exceptional user experience.
Centralized lighting is a different approach to controlling the lights in a home. Typically, a light fixture has a switch on the wall that turns it on and off. Depending on the room, there may be multiple locations where that same light can be turned on and off. This requires additional light switches. In a home with centralized lighting control, a simple-to-use keypad with engraved and backlit buttons replaces all of those light switches. This not only reduces wall clutter, but also provides a much better user experience.
The keypads still provide control of each individual light (as you would normally have with a light switch or dimmer) and give you the ability to turn an entire room or area on or off with one button press. We add buttons to the keypads near the exit points of the home to provide “All Off” or “Away” presets. This gives the homeowners peace of mind knowing all of the lights are off when they leave their home. Additional conveniences can be added to the “Away” presets such as turning off all of the televisions, closing the motorized shades and setting the thermostats to the “Away” state to save energy.
In this particular home, the client asked us to take things one step further than “on” and “off” functions on those keypads. They found themselves turning on the same lights throughout the home and raising or lowering the brightness depending on the time of day, so we created lighting scenes called “Day” and “Evening” that allow the client to turn on lights they normally use to a preset brightness of their preference, depending on time of day, all with the touch of one button.
Most homes have some sort of window treatments, whether they are shades, drapes or blinds. These are typically operated manually with pull-strings or chains. Depending on the size of the home, opening all of the window treatments can be a time consuming task. Some rooms also have large windows or windows that are out of reach. Motorized shades offer a convenient solution to those challenges while providing a seamless look for interior designers and clients alike.
Whole-Home Music System
Many of our clients share our love of music and this client was no exception. The sound system in this home was built for entertaining. Every room has concealed speakers to provide outstanding sound that flows seamlessly from room to room without compromising the architectural elements of the home. We even incorporated an extensive outdoor audio system consisting of over 50 satellite speakers and subwoofers that are inconspicuously placed among the landscaping around the home. This gives the homeowner the ability to move between any of the outdoor entertaining areas and listen to the same sound that is being played indoors. These speakers are capable of playing sound from TVs as well as streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify or Apple Music.
Whole-Home Video System
As Television technology continues to evolve, TVs continue to get thinner. What hasn’t changed is the number of devices needed to enjoy all of the shows and movies you love. In this home, we integrated a distributed video system that allows every TV in the home to access all of the video sources including HD cable Television, blu-ray players, the home’s video surveillance cameras and online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, iTunes Movies and Amazon Video. This helps keep the user experience the same in every room, regardless of the TV or sound system being used. It also helps eliminate the clutter of needing to have multiple pieces of equipment in each room by consolidating them in mechanical room equipment racks.
You can see that no details were spared in the design of this home. During the design process, we relied on technology to disguise the TV screens so they would not detract from the decor. Ordinarily, a TV is placed where it is most comfortable to view. However, features like a waterfront view or highly-detailed fireplace take precedence over screens. The master bedroom is an example of how technology can be used to disguise a TV, which we executed by installing a motorized lift that raises the TV from the floor. The end result was exactly what the client and designer had in mind, so we applied the same logic to the fireplace wall in the garage where the TV folds up into the ceiling.
State-of-the-Art Surveillance System
This residence includes a number of buildings with a gate at the front entrance of the property. In addition to addressing the homeowner’s audio-visual needs, we installed a state-of-the-art surveillance system throughout the entire property for peace of mind when our client is away. All of the televisions and touch panels are capable of displaying video from any of the cameras, including visitors awaiting entry at the front gate.
One-Touch Control for the entire home
Technology can be intimidating, especially when all of it operates in different ways. To simplify control of the home, we centralize all aspects of home technology into one, simple-to-use interface. In this home, we placed large, tablet-like, touch-screen panels in strategic locations throughout the home that can control everything. Lighting, shades, audio, video and temperature can all be controlled from any of those panels or the homeowner’s smartphone.
Technology at the Forefront
Technology doesn’t need to take a back seat when it comes to architecture and design. This home represents how many different technologies can enhance our client’s daily lives while remaining inconspicuous to the eyes of even the most discerning designers. There was a lot of careful planning and attention to detail that went into this project that began long before construction even started. We are proud of the finished project and thrilled to have been a part of this beautiful home.
Technology for All
Home technology is for everyone. Smart Home Technologies helps our clients identify what areas of technology best meet their family or business needs. We enjoy working on all projects, big or small. While this home is an extreme example of what is available today, we also love getting people excited about the tech that can be integrated into homes at every price point.
Smart Home Technologies
De Giulio Design
1121 Central Avenue Wilmette, IL
PO Box 1808
Detroit Lakes, MN
Joan Hebert, JH Design
412 15th Avenue N. Fargo