This green smart home was featured at the International Builders Show for its use of Lutron technology and unique design to appeal to clients who value home control and entertaining.
The modern “Solar Chic” project was Hardwick General Contracting’s featured home for the NAHB’s Custom Home Tour at the International Builders Show in Orlando, Florida.
This luxury project contains 5,500-square-feet of living space and more than 800-square-feet of outdoor areas, many of which can be enclosed with remote controlled screens.
“It’s a clean, modern design with a lot of natural light, but they also wanted to be able to cut that light out as much as possible,” says the company’s president and owner, Greg Hardwick.
The Solar Chic house was completed in 2016 and cost more than $2 million.
Lutron Shade and Light Control
Hardwick relied on major manufacturer Lutron Electronics for two major tech aspects of this project—the smart lighting and shade control systems throughout the home.
In the media room, kitchen and bedrooms, shade control is used to introduce natural light or darkness upon command, and in the master bedroom, shade control is used to conceal or reveal the sliding glass door.
Lutron light control is used in every room and outside the house. These smart lights can be controlled from engraved wall-mounted panels or with a Pico remote.
If a home is being used as a vacation property, builders should work with an integrator to program automation schedules to make the house look inhabited when no one is around.
The home contains several outdoor spaces that have been integrated with tech to help blend the inside and outside.
Retractable outdoor shades can be used to separate the main outdoor entertainment area from the backyard, which is useful against bad weather or mosquitos. Motorized shades also separate the outdoor kitchen so the client could entertain outside regardless of the weather.
Wall-mounted intercom systems help family members communicate between the house and the outdoors. This can be a useful tech feature for a client that entertains outside a lot and would value instant communication to the inside.
Aging in Place Technology
Hardwick’s subtle use of universal design helps this home become accommodating without sacrificing luxury style or aesthetic appeal.
Doorways and bathtubs are flush with the ground and hallways are slightly bigger to accommodate a wheelchair, if necessary.
Technology is also used to aid aging in place in this home. Smart lighting that’s controlled with a remote helps older clients control lights without moving around, while a home elevator helps avoid stairs and potential falls.
Luxury-custom builders should consider adopting basic elements of universal design, especially when building for an older client that plans to live in their new house for most of their life.
Integrating a LUX Space
Hardwick runs a lifestyle assessment with the client and the integrator to determine what they expect from the platform. Following this initial assessment, the integrator and buyer step in.
“Once the integrator is involved and we start with that base level of low-voltage technology, when we get into control systems for lighting and shades or overall house automation, we pretty much turn the integrator loose with the owner,” says Hardwick.
Builders can follow this example and work with an integrator to program a range of unique automation triggers reflecting client expectations. One of these unique automation triggers happens in the kitchen. Smart mirrors are located above the kitchen appliances and can be integrated to only turn on when the rest of the kitchen is in use.
On this project, the integrator was brought on early to meet with the buyer—this helps the builder stay efficient because once the home’s frame is up, the integrator can take over to run structured wiring and designate placement of electronics and control systems.