Monthly Archives: February 2018

Smart Home, Smart Investment

Are you part of the 25 percent of people who own some kind of smart home product? If you’re not, you’ve probably at least heard about Amazon’s Alexa, if not seen its latest Super Bowl commercial.

What you might not have heard is that smart home technology is taking the real estate industry by storm. In fact, artificial intelligence and other smart home technology can actually increase the resale value of most homes – an important factor to consider now that more and more Millennials are buying homes and interested in smart, connected devices.

This trend makes sense. Smart home technology can increase energy efficiency, saving homeowners money on utility bills, while also providing eco-friendly perks. Combine money-saving with the added convenience of controlling your thermostat and connecting all of your media, to the safety and security of keyless entry, video doorbells and 24/7 monitoring, and it’s no wonder why so many homeowners are investing in this tech and making the switch to a smarter home.

Houzz also reported an increase in the desire for smart technology integration amongst home buyers, especially first-time buyers, in their 2017 Houzz and Home renovation overview. This came along with an increase in “green” energy and material trends, as well as improving the functionality of a home and alleviating health concerns, which can also all be addressed with the right smart technology.

Controlling every aspect of a home is so crucial to some home buyers, that integrating these systems can not only increase the overall market value of your home by 3-7 percent, but also speed up the time it takes to sell it. Need help deciding which tech to implement before you sell? According to A Lot Living, “the [automation systems] that can add the most value include whole house lighting control, automated door locks, temperature control that works from a phone, and security cameras, as well as home alarm systems.”

In a culture where people are busy and constantly connected, more and more home buyers are prioritizing the connectivity and convenience offered by home automation, artificial intelligence and other smart technology systems. So whether you’re looking to buy your first home or sell one you’ve had for a while, consider the benefits of a fully-automated home.

Weaving an Integrated Lifestyle

The choices in color, weave and design of window shades are anything but beige!

We’ve been touting the benefits of automated window shades for years. They’re an elegant choice in window treatment and offer a variety of unique shading solutions across your home. They save energy. They filter glaring sunlight, adding comfort while protecting your furniture from fading. They can be programmed to simulate that your home is occupied, acting as a deterrent for would-be burglars. And the list goes on. But, as extensive as their features and attributes, are their exquisite array of color and fabric choices.

Motorized window coverings can provide anywhere from minimal coverage to complete blackout. If you’re in need of multiple shading solutions, such as a sunny living room that transitions into a cozy, dark TV viewing area, dual roller systems are available, providing an option between the two. The level of sheerness is referred to as the “openness factor”, a ratio of the open space in the fabric. The denser the weave, the higher the light filtering properties. Sheer shades are typically measured in the 1% to 10% range while a blackout shade is at 100% for total blocking of light. A sheer shade filters glare while still allowing clear visibility to the outside. A translucent or dim-out fabric, on the other hand, can range from a low openness factor up to 95% but creates privacy by limiting the amount of detail seen through the weave. Blackout shades block all light and are perfect for home theaters and bedrooms.

The weave, or pattern is also a consideration for both design detail and design requirements. Roller fabrics are commonly offered in basketweave, twill and jacquard weaves, each with a unique, directional pattern and manufactured in limited widths. If you have an expansive window opening, the fabric can be turned horizontally and pieced together. This is referred to as railroading. Factoring weight and pattern, certain fabrics lend themselves better to achieving these widths. We’ll guide you through it.

One of the nicest features about custom motorized shades is that they can be programmed to stop at select intervals, lowering and raising them throughout the day. Not only does this allow you to take advantage of capturing or filtering daylight, but aesthetically, it enables the shades to rest at desired design features such as mullions or chair rails.

Customization doesn’t stop there. Your shades can be programmed in harmony with your lights, music and more to create custom “scenes”. “Good Morning” may lower the shades 50% and brightly light the kitchen while “Good Night” closes the shades and softly illuminates your nighttime paths. For specialized windows, wirelessly controlled shades are the ideal custom solution. Skylights, French doors and dramatic, impossible-to-reach, feature windows all benefit from the energy savings and privacy that motorized shades provide. And color? Check out the available color match solutions that allow you to pinpoint your pantone color or match the exact shade of a favored object!

The selections and solutions are endless, so how do you determine the right openness factor, weave, color and control? Let’s set up an in-home consultation. If you’re working with an interior design professional, we’re happy to work together to design window coverings that will complement your décor, add value to your home and weave elegance into your automated lifestyle.

Resources:

Lutron’s extensive wireless solutions

Lutron Fabric Collections Inspiration gallery

Lutron Roller Shade Fabrics

Crestron Shading Solutions and Custom Color Match

Audio & Aesthetics. The Soundbar Solution.

As the choices in mounting options for TVs grow, so do the challenges in speaker placement. Today’s thin, sleek, lightweight displays can be mounted just about anywhere; above the mantle or slim console, in a custom alcove or on a clean, open wall. So, where do you place the speakers? While in-walls offer an elegant solution, installing them is not always feasible. Enter the soundbar and its versatile installation and feature options.

Many leading audio manufacturers offer a soundbar solution, an all-in-one speaker system that delivers high-quality audio without requiring the space of a home theater receiver and surround sound speaker system. Mounted or placed below your display, they offer exceptional sound and stunning design. A remarkable improvement to your TV’s speakers, the soundbar features a center channel and often a full LCR (left, center and right channels) experience. Some are designed to be paired with surround speakers and a subwoofer while others replicate full surround sound.

Connectivity, control and quality are prevalent across today’s models, offering conveniences such as music streaming, wireless connectivity and simple IR learning for integrated control through your current remote.

Touting exceptional performance, Triad has an extensive array of options ranging in size and capabilities. They offer micro and mini LCR’s as well as a micro 3-in-1 speaker designed for use with shallow flat-panel televisions. New to their line-up is their on-wall Mini LCR 3.0 SE (Special Edition), offering “unparalleled” performance with 3 separate audiophile speaker systems integrated into one sleek, acoustiperf-grilled package.

Custom fit & finish

An elegant choice, James Loudspeaker offers a variety of soundbar solutions. True to their brand, their line of soundbars is completely customizable and offered in an array of both standard and custom colors. The line-up includes an extensive variety of formats to suit client preferences and range from center channel, stereo bar, or complete LCR package. James’ soundbars are custom fit to the TV for seamless integration and elegant design. For added design versatility, they are available in vertical or horizontal configurations. And the sound, well, they raise the “bar”!

Dimensions of sound – Dolby Atmos

Dolby Atmos has the sound “bar” even higher and a select few manufacturers have integrated the immersive technology into their soundbar line-up. Dolby Atmos “frees” sound from its channels for heightened impact by enabling finer control of individual sounds. Through strategically positioned speakers, sounds move around the listener from every dimension for an immersive, life-like experience.

Samsung has this mastered. Paired with one its breathtaking 4K displays, Samsung delivers a seamless 4K Hi-Res Audio experience with its HW-K950 Soundbar speaker system. The system replicates cinema-style sound with 15 built-in speakers including 4 upward-firing drivers and rear wireless speakers for crystal-clear sound all around.

On-wall or on console, wireless and Bluetooth, surround sound or Dolby Atmos, the choices are endless but all are great solutions for incredible audio and gorgeous design. Give us a call. We’ll help determine the best features and solutions for your overall system requirements, connectivity, control and space.