What are some unusual features that would be great to add to a new home under construction?
by Brett Bilbrey
I’m in the process of remodeling a house, and here are some of the features I’ve added:
In linen closets, where the light is at the top, and the shelves tend to block that light so that you can not see well on the lower shelves, I used RGB strip lighting around the door frame so that the lower shelves have light.
We used RGB lighting throughout the house. But I went a step further and added ‘intelligence’ and proximity detectors. The house controller knows what time it is, so when you get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, the lights automatically light your path at 10% brightness so you are not blinded with glare. During the early evening hours, the lights work at normal brightness.
Since we have a smart house controller, and a security monitoring system, when a person approaches the front door, the security system ‘detects’ a person at the door and can:
- Ring the doorbell to alert your someone is approaching.
- Send you a text or email to let you know someone is at your door. So even while you are away, you know what is happening at home.
- Record video of who was at your door.
- Play a message if you desire (“The party is in the back, please use the side gate.”)
- Turn lights on as guests approach.
- Any combination of the above, or other similar actions.
I decided to put RGB strip lighting under the eaves around my house. As evening approaches, the smart house controller knows when sunset is each day, and can slowly ramp up the eave lighting, and then ramp it down after it gets late. Also, I can choose colors for special occasions. Red and green lighting for Christmas. Red, white and blue for Fourth of July. Orange for Halloween, etc. So not having to put up, or take down “Christmas lights” – they are always up!
The house has ‘voice control’ of music, lights, HVAC, and other functions. I can say something like, “Play favorite music playlist” or “I’m cold, turn up the temperature 2 degrees.” I can turn on specific lights, as well as lock the doors.
I’ve used Kevo keyless entry, Nest thermostat, Nest Protects, Philips Hue lights and they are all tied into the smart house controller. I can have notifications sent to me when someone enters the house, to remotely turning off lights while I’m away from the house.
We also put light controllers next to the bed so that we can control the bedroom lights, reading lights, and controls to turn off (or on in an emergency) all the lights in the house.
In the master shower, I added a ‘towel warmer’ that you can start when you go into the shower, and by the time you get out, you have a warm towel.I’ve also added an aroma function to the steam shower. So there is a nice soothing smell while you take a shower.
My goal is not to ‘add gadgets’, but to determine which features work best and are really useful. I figure the best way to do that is to live with all these features for a while, and see which are indeed useful, and which only sound good but are never used… 😉
Hopefully, this provided some inspiration on some features that might be nice to add to new construction.