Monthly Archives: July 2013

How Automation Can Complement Contemporary Design?

How Automation Can Complement Contemporary Design?

Think interior design and home automation technology are mutually exclusive? Think again. While home automation is a relatively new home addition concept, if planned properly, it can work hand in hand with and even enhance a home’s design. Check out these automation options that work well with modern design.


Home automation may seem futuristic but it’s very accessible and very cool.

Automated Lighting
Imagine being able to set the lighting ambiance of any room in your home with the simple touch of a button. Many exciting automation devices are making this possible and often at a very reasonable price. Some automation systems are available as smartphone applications while others come with their own high tech controllers. Whether you crave soft lighting for the evening’s dinner party or prefer bright lights for easy reading, automated lighting systems simplify the task of setting just the right mood.

Automated lighting blends well with modern design by highlighting certain parts of a room, such as an abstract painting, while dimming the lighting in other areas. Certain lighting systems can even turn on the lights when a person enters the room and turn them off when occupants leave, thus drastically improving a home’s energy efficiency. Enhance the appeal of a room’s furniture, artwork and other elements all with an automated device or app.

Improved Efficiency
As environmental awareness continues to increase, most modern home designs now incorporate increased efficiency. From furniture made out of reclaimed wood to energy efficient light bulbs, new design trends are capturing the essence of efficiency. Now, home automation systems are complementing that efficiency.

Just a few examples of automated systems that increase efficiency include intuitive and programmable thermostats, automated blinds and more. Imagine having an intuitive system that automatically turns off the AC and draws the blinds each morning and turns the AC back on each evening before you return home, all without you even having to think about it. More advanced systems even adjust a home’s HVAC system based on the month’s energy consumption.

Intuitive Home Entertainment
Are you hosting a party this evening but are running late at work? No problem. Set the mood to complement your home’s modern design by turning on the music, adjusting the television and more, all from a distance.

Many automated home devices allow you to set specific moods based on the evening’s plans. For example, you could create a mood for movie nights that will instantly adjust your home entertainment system, draw the blinds, adjust the temperature and dim the lighting, and it’s all done by touching one button. These features of home automation are all about simplicity and convenience and perfectly accent similar trends in modern home design.


Tired of paying too much for utilities each month? Find the solution in home automation.

Home automation may be a fairly new concept, but it’s already making a big splash in the home design world. From automatically setting a room’s lighting with the touch of a button to controlling your stereo system from anywhere in the home, there are many ways to complement and enhance your home’s design with automation technology.

Photo credit: Advanced Telemetry

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Automation Startups With an Eye for Design

Automation Startups With an Eye for Design

The home automation industry is still in the early stages, but a few startups are already garnering attention. The best blend technology with sleek design. Take a closer look at these startups and maybe get in on the ground floor before they make it big time.


Automated systems such as the learning thermostat from Nest Labs are making big splashes in the home automation market.

Nest Labs – Learning Thermostat
Nest Labs made a big splash in the home automation and energy efficiency market with the release of their learning thermostat. Unlike old school thermostats that must be left at one temperature for the entire day, the learning thermostat learns your schedule, programs itself and can even be controlled from your smartphone. If you train it well, the company’s learning thermostat may lower your heating and cooling bills up to 20 percent. It truly is the next generation thermostat and its sleek design is the perfect complement to modern and efficient home designs.

KISI Systems – Automated Apartment Entry
An old school house key and lock don’t exactly complement an urban property design. KISI Systems offers the solution with cloud-based apartment or house access. Enter your apartment with the push of a button or grant visitors access even while you’re away on vacation. 

The system also provides access to such information as a record of when key holders have entered your residence and for how long. The system utilizes advanced security technology and also integrates with a traditional key locking system. If you happen to lose your smartphone, you can simply change your password and use your physical keys. 

iControl – Openhome Platform
iControl is making a name for itself in the home automation market by making the ‘connected home’ a reality for average consumers. By working with leading broadband service providers and home security companies, iControl offers next generation home management and automation services at an affordable price. The company’s automation solutions include interactive home security, energy management and home care. For example, the home security platform allows for distance monitoring of your modern home from your computer, smartphone and more. 

Leviton – Intuitive Lighting
One of the best complements to modern home design is automated lighting. As a top light automation provider, Leviton offers automated lighting control solutions in wired or radio frequency wireless configurations. The company’s lighting solutions are offered for residential and small commercial applications. 

Whether you desire soft lighting to complement a modern dining room setting or need bright lighting in the kitchen or bathroom, the company’s automated systems allow you to achieve the perfect lighting with the touch of a button. Use the system’s presets to program your preferred lighting and simplify the task of brightening or dimming the lights at any hour. The company also offers a slew of other products aimed at improving energy efficiency and more.

Home automation is new and exciting and several startups are leading the trend. From automating your home’s lighting to improving the property’s energy efficiency, learn how you can utilize the best of these startups to incorporate automation into your home’s design.


How cool would it be to control your entire home’s lighting with the touch of a smartphone button?

Photo Credit: David Berkowitz

Photo Credit: James Coverdale

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4 Reasons Britain’s Most Expensive Home Was Worth It

4 Reasons Britain’s Most Expensive Home Was Worth It

Recently, One Cornwall Terrace, located opposite Regent’s Park, became Britain’s most expensive home after selling for an astounding 80 million, and that was 20 million under the original asking price. The property sold with ease, largely because of the complete home automation system, but was it worth the price tag? Here are four reasons why the answer is a resounding, “Yes”.


How would you like to call this swanky mansion home?

Impressive Automation
Imagine being able to control your entire home’s lighting with a touch of a button. One Cornwall Terrace features iPad-controlled lighting. With 21,000 square feet and seven bedrooms, saying that this lighting automation offers convenience is quite an understatement. Yet, the property’s automation doesn’t stop with the lighting. 

The property’s high-tech security gates are also automated with a number plate recognition system. The system undoubtedly increases the owner’s sense of security and simplifies the task of allowing visitors in and out of the massive property. These features of automation and others are becoming increasingly important for property owners because of the convenience they provide and also for the increase they bring in property values. 

Location
The notion that location is everything still rings true and was certainly an influencing factor in the selling price of One Cornwall Terrace. Sitting just opposite of Regent’s Park, the property is an impeccable status symbol and will remain a hot topic of conversation throughout the UK even after the selling dust has settled. 

Design
A property’s design influences everything from the comfort it brings an owner to which features can be included in a renovation. As far as swanky features and endless space, One Cornwall Terrace has it all. The mansion boasts seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, nine reception rooms and an impressive catering kitchen with marble and limestone-lined halls in between each room. The property’s sports complex includes a gym and a swimming pool while the exterior features a 40-meter long landscaped garden. 

Each area of the mansion is impeccably designed and the layout offers an attractive and convenient flow from kitchen to sports complex and beyond. This design blended with the mansion’s modern automation features make the property a true one-of-a-kind.

History
One of the most interesting features of One Cornwall Terrace is its history. Originally built in the 1820s by architect Decimus Burton and overseen by John Nash, the mansion features notable architectural elements including a neo-classical Stucco elevation with Corinthian pilasters. The property’s two-story bay is outfitted by columns that resemble the Greek goddess Artemis. It was the official residence in London of the New Zealand High Commissioner from the 1950s to the 1970s and, recently, underwent an extensive overhaul before being placed on the market. 


How much would you pay for a mansion like One Cornwall Terrace?

Sure, not everyone can purchase a swanky property like One Cornwall Terrace that is 336 times more expensive than the average UK home. However, regardless of your budget, ensuring the property you do purchase is worth the price is easy by assessing such factors as in-home automation, design and more.

Photo credit: Elliot Brown

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Color Juxtaposition, the ones that do not normally work.

Color Juxtaposition, the ones that do not normally work.

If you ask a group of interior decorators what colors are not compatible with each other, you may be surprised to find out that many designers believe that all colors are meant to go together, but the shades, hues, intensity, saturation and amount of color needs to be tweaked for the best results.

Color Wheel

The color wheel is a way to assess the compatibility and contrast of one color to another. Primary colors are blue, yellow and red. The colors between the primary colors are called secondary colors and are made by mixing combinations of blue, yellow and red together.

Secondary colors

Mix red with yellow, and you create orange. Mix yellow and blue together, and you get green. Red and blue mixed creates purple. Therefore, orange, green and purple are considered secondary colors.

Tertiary Colors

Tertiary colors are primary and secondary colors that are mixed together. The six tertiary colors are red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.

Colors in Context

Colors look different depending upon the colors they are near. For example, a red square stands out on a white background but is hardly noticed on a brown background. The same shade of lavender will look reddish on a blue background and bluish on a purple background. Colors change drastically depending upon the colors around them.

Color harmony

Color harmony is the midpoint between too many colors that may cause over stimulation and not enough color that is boring and uninteresting to the eye. Harmony is achieved by both trial and error, and by following some basic rules of color theory.

Paint Chips and Fabric Swatches

There is a reason interior designers collect a variety of paint chips and fabric swatches in the process of renovating or redoing a living space. Even the trained eye of an interior designer may not be able to select the perfect color without trying out some combinations.

Color Theories

Yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-orange are three colors that sit side by side on a 12-part color wheel. Any three colors next to each other are called analogous colors and usually are pleasant to the eye.

Complementary colors, those colors opposite each other on the color wheel, also are deemed universally compatible.

Exceptions

Some designers believe that if you follow nature’s palate of colors, it doesn’t matter what colors are placed next to each other. Designers will often use a picture taken from nature as an inspiration for color hue, saturation and intensity.

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Top 6 Interior Design Trends of 2013

Interior Design Trends of 2013


Design trends for 2013 invite everyone to get comfortable.

Interior design trends for 2013 are all about simple yet bold statements, raw materials, and leaning toward sophisticated, masculine lines throughout the home and not just in the man cave.

The idea isn’t to overwhelm your space with every new trend, but to incorporate a few ideas with your own perennial decor.


Beautiful wood grain doesn’t need ornamentation.

Lots of Natural Woodgrain
Focus on the grain of the wood instead of design details. The wood’s unique pattern becomes art instead of just a construction material. Exotic species such as tigerwood don’t need elaborate details to stand out. 

Wood is nothing new, so you’ve got to look at it a new way. A custom paneled wall might be out of your budget, but a single 4 x 8 sheet of furniture-grade plywood isn’t. Wrap the raw edge with veneer and seal the whole thing with shellac, and it becomes art for a large, bare wall. 

Really Green Walls
Pantone named Emerald Green the color of the year for 2013, but green walls aren’t just about paint. Living panels bring in the year’s hottest color while acting as a natural air filter and humidifier. Think of it as a vertical garden. 

For about $30, you can buy wall garden foundation panel, which looks like a wall cubby system. The planter sections are slanted so the dirt won’t slide out. Any plant with a shallow root system works. Imagine an herb garden on the kitchen wall or ivy in a bathroom. As plants grow and fill in, they blend into a contiguous, green wall.


Updated for a modern home, authentic vintage appliances work as well as new.

Comfortable, Warm Kitchens
Vintage meets modern in a warm, inviting kitchen where friends and family want to gather. Mix materials instead of aiming for a sleek, uniform room.

A new AGA cookstove has the right look, but the $9,000 price tag puts it far from reach for the average homeowner. Find a vintage stove from the 40s or 50s for a few hundred dollars, invest in a professional overhaul and you’ve got the genuine article.

Funky details like multicolor glass tile countertops, mixed cabinets and floors that look well worn make your kitchen feel less like an art show and more like a place to mingle.


A coat of paint is all you need to give a cupboard a big splash of color.

Daring Colors Spice Things Up
Color is the thing. Bold reds, greens, blues and yellows are everywhere from carpets to walls and furnishings. If your’e not ready for a fuchsia lacquer wall, add a few chunks of color to liven things up. 

Fire engine red on a filing cabinet, sunny yellow on a pair of nightstands or a dining room hutch that’s robin’s egg blue: paint is your friend when it comes to adding a lilt of color. 

More Focus on Masculine
Men spend more time at home now than in recent history, and the design trends for 2013 show it. “Masculine” isn’t easy to define, but designers are leaning toward simple, sophisticated furnishings such as leather club chairs and oversizes sofas with clean lines.

Substantial pieces that stand up to wear aren’t confined to bachelor pads. Think chunky end tables, large mirrors with thick, simple frames and a sofa that isn’t just for looks. 

Feel-Good, Sumptuous Textiles
Forget about choosing between attractive and durable. Layers of sumptuous textures that you want to touch means homes are more comfy and less for show. 

A thick wool rug feels warm and lovely underfoot, and a microfiber duvet makes bedtime delicious. Look for easy care fabrics that don’t require dry cleaning and upholstery that you aren’t afraid to use. 

Simplicity is the key for 2013. Overdone, contrived decor where no one feels comfortable gives way to lived-in, luxurious spaces that make home feel like the best place on earth.

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