Author: Amara Holstein Writer. Lover of all things to do with architecture, art, design, travel and books. Chocolate aficionado. Aspiring runner. Former Dwell magazine editor.
Boosting a home’s IQ with smart systems
This story is from our Trend Report email series.
Smart home tech is more popular than ever. The 2019 Houzz and Home study found that one in four homeowners has purchased a smart assistant when remodeling, with more than one in eight homeowners buying a smart light fixture, thermostat, alarm or detector. “Lights, fireplaces, music, locks, security, even automated blinds can now all be tied into one app,” says Heather Lindbo, business manager at All Systems Integrated in Puyallup, Washington. The customization is seemingly endless, and clients are eager to adopt.
Current appeal. Homeowners are increasingly seeking out ways to streamline their lives. “Being able to control devices in your home from a programmed event, a smartphone app or by voice provides a simplistic way of operating things in the home,” says Gary Flax, owner of Smart Automation Solutions in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Plus, “smart homes have the wow factor,” says Rex Aguirre, president of ICC Automation in New York City. “And they sell faster.”
Biggest benefits. Flexibility is a big benefit, Aguirre says, with elements like smart locks that have individual user codes, and programmable lighting that can be set for vacation, bedtime and arrival home. Home security and increased energy efficiency are other pluses, he says. Lindbo adds that communication and control are advantages: “Because everyone is so busy, they like the efficiency of managing their homes when they’re not there. They have a pulse of what’s going on in their homes at all times.”
Most popular applications. Flax says that smart TVs top his clients’ lists. Lindbo says that outdoor TVs are especially big, as well as motorized TVs that are moved into place when they’re on and pushed flush against a wall or into a cabinet when not in use. Aguirre adds that clients love the ability to control the temperature of a house, getting their home ready when they’re coming back from work or vacation. Smart indoor and landscape lights also make clients happy.
Not all or nothing. “That is the beauty of the industry,” Flax says. “You can start small and build on to your system over time when you’re ready to expand, since every client’s budget and needs are different.” Adding music in the main living areas, like the kitchen, living room, dining room and deck, is often a starting point, as well as adding home security and lighting controls throughout the house.
What’s next. On the horizon are voice-controlled systems that allow for multiple commands at once, more “art TVs,” which look like paintings when not turned on, and 3-inch-square speakers that disappear when integrated into base moldings. “Whether it’s a traditional or modern home, whether it’s a primary residence or vacation home, smart tech is suited for it,” Aguirre says. “It’s on everyone’s mind, regardless of whether they’re high-worth individuals, baby boomers or millennials.”
Resources: Trend Report: Smart Home Technology