Smart Home, Dumb Home

“Smart-home’ is a general term given to homes that appear “intelligent” due to the use of computers and digital controls that can monitor and control many aspects of a home’s operation. For example, you want to lower your home’s temperature since your travel plans have changed, and are able to remotely control the thermostat with a smart-phone, or computer.  The integration of technology, building construction and human behavior has taken huge strides the past several years mainly because it has become more affordable. and easier to use.

Smart-home systems: Bare bones (©

The interface allowing the remote control of your home is a combination of wired and wireless devices that are installed and connected to various systems in your home including security, audio visual, climate control, appliances, lighting,  emergency devices like generators or pumps, you get the idea. The devices are most  readily installed during construction when the walls are being built and wiring can be placed in the open cavities.  But many recent advances use wireless transmitters and blue-tooth like operation….Basic installed systems start around $2500 and are integrated with a security systems, outdoor lighting connections, HVAC control, and lock controls. Monthly fees of $20-50 are common-prices vary dramatically with your location.

So really there is an endless array of what can be done, just to cite a few common applications, just a few keystrokes on your cell phone:

Turn on and dim the lights

Thaw the frozen meat for dinner

Warm up the Jacuzzi

Unlock the front door

Shut the blinds

Turn on the camera to see who is there

Text the owner after the plumber has been there

Monitor the liquor cabinet, really..

Assemble a shopping list while you are in the supermarket

Be contacted when the generator turns on

and so on…

“Smart-home” to me also means that the design is “tightly elegant”. The size of rooms are neither too big nor too small, rooms are designed to accommodate multiple functions to help mitigate the need for additional rooms-it’s apartment and ship-berth design rather than bigger and ostentatious .  The construction detailing should be easy to build,  but advanced in terms of thermal resistance.

“Dumb” home design is all around us…it is what most spec houses attain…They are big, with little though of who will live in them, built with any eye on investment- return rather than actual value.  they will consume too much fuel,  contain rooms that are out of proportion, with questionable room adjacency and relationships to the site.   We strive to avoid that!Let’s talk! Please call 914 674 2950.