Admittedly, I'm a bit of an HGTV addict to start with. So you can imagine how exciting it was for me to learn that the 2013 HGTV Home Giveaway
is focused on the benefits of integrated smart home technology. One lucky viewer will walk away with this high-tech, shingle-style vacation home in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. In addition, they will even throw in a 2013 GMC Denali and $100,000 to sweeten the deal.
You can enter twice online per day — once on HGTVRemodels.com
and once on HGTV.com
— through May 31, 2013, at 5 pm ET.
Here are some photos of your possible new Florida smart vacation home:
A whole-home automation system brings the home’s technology — door locks, lighting, security cameras, shade control, pool control and the entertainment system — together. A magnetic mount houses two smart tablets that can be removed and used throughout the home. Two accompanying tabletop mounts, located in the master bedroom and loft areas, feature the same functionality.
To see the full slideshow
and learn more about all the cool features of this home, visit the HGTV home giveaway website. And even if you don't win this smart home, don't worry. The folks at simpleHome can help you enjoy those same features in your home. Good luck! Canvas artwork retracts to reveal flat-screen TVs. When not in use, TV covers scroll down to create a framed art experience.
Even though we only celebrate Earth Day every year on April 22, we all know every day is really Earth Day. We should all do our part to be "Green" in the choices we make and how we live our lives. Fortunately, going green does not mean that the luxury homeowner or audio/video enthusiast has to make compromises which diminish the enjoyable experience they desire. In fact, control systems and advanced electronics can be used to help us use resources more efficiently by monitoring and reducing our energy consumption and carbon footprint.
A good example of the win-win synergy of home technology and energy savings is evidenced by a recent project simpleHome was part of in Vermont. The home is featured in this article
by GreenTech Advocates, highlighting the home amazing energy efficiency. As the article details, through proper design and planning, the homeowners were able to achieve the best of both worlds; a super-fun lakeside vacation retreat and a super high-efficiency home. Who says you can't have it all?
Happy Earth Day, everyone!
Who says that you can't have it all? simpleHome worked with this California family to help them create the vacation home of their dreams in Northern Vermont. It is so cool and eco-friendly that Electronics House Magazine featured the home
in the March 2013 edition.
Keeping the electronics equipment out of the living space is key to this home's beauty and function, allowing the artwork and natural elements to saturate the living spaces. Actual trees and rocks are integrated into the home's design, blurring the line between the inside and the outside, Further, local artists were encouraged to paint colorful, personalized, large-scale murals throughout the home, adding to the cheerful atmosphere. The home is controlled by a Savant smart home system, with most of the electronics located in equipment racks in the basement. In-wall control docks with iPads and iPod Touches allow the homeowners and their guests to control the HVAC, lighting, security and audio/video systems. A Lutron HomeWorks system provides whole-house lighting control via custom painted Lutron keypads. Highlights of this smart, elegant home include: Eco-friendly:
The home is outfitted with Savant's SmartEnergy Monitoring System. This allows the energy-conscious homeowners to be aware of electricity used on every circuit in the house, thereby minimizing waste. Further, the house has an AWAY mode setting
that puts it into a highly efficient mode. In fact, the house uses an astonishingly low 520 watts in AWAY mode, including a mere 130 watts for the rack system.
The home includes a beautifully appointed dedicated 8-seat home theater
. It sports a Runco LS-12d 1080p projector with an AutoScope lens that converts images into the CinemaScope format, projected on a 10-foot-wide Screen Excellence screen. The projector is also equipped for 3D video, with a pair of 3D glasses for each comfy Fortress seat. In addition to the dedicated home theater, there are two other surround-sound systems and 19 separate zones of audio. If this family wants to listen to great quality music, inside or out, this is the place to be.
Control from Anywhere: The Savant iOS app provides complete home control from all rooms as well as anywhere in the world.
Surveillance: The home is equipped with 7 Arecont 1080p HD cameras and an ExacqVision Network video recorder (NVR) to allow the homeowners to keep tabs on their home and property from afar.
High-Tech Telephony and Wi-Fi: The homeowners chose the Savant IP telephone system and can use their iOS devices to make and receive calls throughout their home and beyond. To remedy the often non-existent cell phone coverage in their remote location, an AT&T Microcell is used to recreate cell service in the house. They don't worry about being out of touch as they float aimlessly in their boat on the lake. A Luxul Pro-Wav Range Extender blasts the Wi-Fi signal to cover the entire property.
I recently ran across a few articles using the newly coined term "Boomer Cave." Of course, the concept has been around for years. As a youngest child, I remember the jokes about what my parents were going to do with my bedroom when I went off to college. It took them several years before they actually did get around to transforming my old room into a cozy space for watching television
in the evenings that they really enjoyed in their later years. I only wished they had done it sooner and had more years to enjoy it.
But this new term, Boomer Cave, brings the old concept of repurposing your child's bedroom to a whole new level. Let's face it, most Boomers like to have fun and want to enjoy their empty nest. When the kids move out it's a great opportunity for them to think about how they want to spend their time and create a special "getaway" space right at home.
The options available for Boomer Caves abound and are only limited to your imagination. Below is a list of some of the more popular themes for today's active 50 and up crowd: Movie & Entertainment Room.
This is the classic. Who wouldn't want a special place in their home dedicated to comfortably enjoying great movies and listening to your favorite music
. Once you decide on this cave concept, you are still faced with a myriad of options to, as former American Idol judge Paula Abdul would say, "make it your own." Of course, it's best to begin with a high quality, professionally designed and installed audio/video system as the room's foundation, since that is key in this kind of space. Next, consider comfort and style, as well as how many of your closest family and friends you are will to invite in your space. Then, it's all about learning about your choices, letting your imagination go a bit wild, and having some fun. Exercise Time.
Boomers plan to be around a long time and the truth is, being healthy and fit in your later years is a lot more fun than the alternative. A custom, at-home exercise space can be a great asset in battling the aging process and keeping you feeling good. Plus, there are plenty of ways to make integrating daily exercise into your lifestyle easier and more fun. As a boomer myself, I know that listening to good, lively music
while exercising serves to both distract me from my aches and pains while simultaneoulsy drowning out the sound of my gasping for breath. A win-win, for sure.
After all that exercise, many boomers enjoy a nice glass of wine now and then. And it's not just drinking the wine, but everything that surrounds learning about, collecting, and relishing in the fine wine cultural experience. Having a special area for properly storing, showcasing, and tasting wine can be a great in-home escape. Don't forget to plan for some nice music
to add to the atmosphere as you and your friends relax and enjoy those delicious reds and whites. The Study/Den/Office.
Quiet time to read, meditate, paint, or whatever hobby you enjoy, can be something that is difficult to carve out for many active boomers. A cozy, comfortable space at home that is set apart for quiet reflection can reduce stress, providing the needed peace and relaxation time that many boomers desire.