Tag Archives: automation

How to Integrate Home Design and Technology

Taste and forethought lets you put speakers anywhere.

If you want the very best in speakers mixed with the highest end of home design, it’s going to take some work. But don’t despair. You don’t have to choose between your Roche Bobois seating and your sleek, stylish speakers. There are all sorts of options to bring your taste for the best in both together without it clashing.

Hide Them In Plain Sight
One of the simplest methods to have your speakers fit in with your décor is to blend their designs. For example, you might place your front facing speakers in a fresco or wall design that’s patterned around your speaker’s baffles, or you might simply have a contractor create some nooks on either side of your flat screen or your stereo so the speakers recess into the wall and only draw attention when you want them to. You can even build screens or shutters across these alcoves so, when not in use, your speakers are protected.

This gives you an added advantage of being able to tuck wires into areas specifically designed for them, letting you access them when needed and hide them when not. It will depend, however, on whether you can carve out a section of the wall; speak to a contractor about whether this is possible. Also, you’ll need to place your speakers carefully to avoid acoustics problems.

Create a Specific Environment
Another way, especially if you have room, to blend things is to create a specific environment where your audio equipment helps to dictate the design. This has its advantages; you can construct a more discreet sound system for the larger house to entertain guests and for day-to-day use, and even tie it to your equipment so you have total control of the playlist during parties. When you truly want to enjoy your music, you have an oasis of sound built specifically for your gear with better acoustics, soundproofing, and defense against power surges and other threats to your equipment. 

You will, however, need to speak with a contractor about how feasible this is in your home, and soundproofing is practically a must.

Hiding speakers can be done in walls, furniture, even floors and ceilings.

Another method is automation. Speakers, monitors, and other audio-visual gear can be hidden behind discreet panels and screens that open at the click of a button. It’s especially useful if your taste in gear means most other methods won’t work, and we won’t pretend it’s not a lot of fun. It is, however, relatively expensive and depending on what’s possible may limit your choice of components.

Custom Work
The most direct option, of course, is to simply build your speakers to match your décor. Remember, it’s not the outside of the enclosure, per se, that matters, but the acoustics on the inside and the tolerances your drivers are engineered to that gives you those rich tones and perfect fidelity you want out of your music. That said, it is recommended that you contact the speaker manufacturer directly about custom enclosures; they may offer options you might not be aware of, and there may be engineering factors at play.

You may even be able, depending on the manufacturer, be able to paint or decorate the enclosures, but check carefully before deciding to do so. This may affect the sound.

No matter how you choose to pair your speakers and your décor, know that you don’t have to compromise on either. You can have the very best of both. You just have to think carefully as you integrate them.

Photo credits: Adomadom, mkosut


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


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