Last Thursday I was given the opportunity to take a business trip to New York City with our Designer, Jessica Chabot, to attend the Architectural Digest Design Show. This annual event comes with much anticipation and this year the design show brought in 40-45 thousand consumers.
Upon arrival, the line was already wrapping around the lot and it was clear that there was certainly no lack of passion for home design. Once inside it became overwhelmingly clear that this event brought together architects, designers, engineers, artists and countless exhibitors, all who share the desire to learn how to make homes of their clients even more desirable.
The vendor list was longer than the line to get in the door; Jenn-Air was the lead sponsor with an exhibit displaying some of their newest home kitchen appliances, including a refrigerator that was made entirely out of stainless steel –smudge-proof for that matter- and a much anticipated refrigerator housing an charcoal black interior. Additionally, we were able to view some of the finest home-furnishings brands, designers and dealers for both indoor and out, contemporary and classic lighting, carpets and decorative accessories; as well as more than 150 artist galleries featuring fine art, sculpture, textiles and lighting. Most importantly for us was the reFRESH showcase which housed one of the largest collections of luxury and premium kitchen, bath, and building designs with products from more than 100 companies. For Hawthorn Builders, this is always an area of interest because we want to provide our clients with innovative options for ovens, ranges, countertops, tile, bath and decorative hardware. I couldn’t possibly go into detail of all the wonderful, high-end and creative items that I saw, however I have included a few pictures of some of the stand-outs.
One of the best take-aways from our trip was listening to a seminar on “Designing in the Age of Connectivity.” The panel of speakers included Steve Brown, GM of Jenn-Air; Stephen Fanuka of DIY Network’s Million Dollar Contractor; Campion Platt, President of Campion Platt Interiors, Inc.; and fan favorite Maxime Veron, Head of Product Marketing for Nest. This highly acclaimed panel of speakers boasted enthusiasm and lively dialogue about the concept of a “smart house.” A smart house entails building and designing a home that integrates next generation products that anticipate the homeowner’s needs while seamlessly fitting into their lifestyle.
In other words, giving client’s devices and products that will do basic functions in a simple manner to make life easier. The panel could not emphasis this ratio enough; the importance of low bother to high benefit. To achieve this balance, an automated smart home design must first start with thorough planning of the devices and products. Overall the concept of integration is key. Homeowners must really consider their family habits, how much they want to be connected and how capable they are at utilizing the technology. Luckily, ease of use is a high priority in the design process. Maxime stated that 80% of Nest customers only spend 30 minutes or less installing their products.
To highlight some of the newest products discussed, Nest has a “smart fire alarm” that can be turned off with the wave of a hand (say if your family is prone to burning toast). This alarm also has an app that allows you to check the battery level from your phone. Additionally and most well-known for Nest is their masterpiece of a Thermostat which predicts your family’s habits and can anticipate when you need certain temperature changes. Personally, my mind was blown at the concept of a new age crockpot that lets you control the temperature and timing through an app on your phone. Goodbye over-cooked, dry chicken! Or maybe the idea of a meat thermometer that plugs into your phone and gives you an accurate reading of internal temperature is more your style. Whatever it may be, it was apparent that technology in the home has come a long way over the past ten years. Steve Fanuka was like a kid in a toy store when discussing the prospect of the future, “imagine, by 2020 we will be so advanced that our homes will include programs that when you say ‘good morning’ your blinds will open, your coffeemaker will start and your car seats will begin to warm.” Seems like a modern day episode of the Jetsons…either way, Hawthorn Builders is excited to learn more about integrating new and efficient products into our building design and we are eager to hear what you think as well. We will have follow-up blogs from both myself and Jessica which will highlight some of the specific products and vendors that we would like to integrate into our home design. Stay tuned and please let us know your feedback!