From voice-activated faucets to touchless locks, there is a deluge of new smart home features rolling out every year. We asked five designers—Clara Jung, Leyden Lewis, Melissa Morgan, Paul Sherrill and Mimi Wittstruck—how often they actually use that technology in their work.
“I have not used smart home tech in several years, as devices such as Alexa and Sonos now allow wireless interface with the home and act as user-friendly shortcuts. I’m not sure if clients think about asking about it as much anymore as we review their needs [during] the initial conversation. It’s about asking the questions ‘How much automation do I need? What are the costs, and will it actually improve the quality of my experience in my home?’ When clients are up for it, we love to install lighting control and smartphone integration with audio, video, music and security.” —Leyden Lewis, Leyden Lewis Design Studio, Brooklyn, New York
“I find that the majority of clients, even in very high-end projects, do not want to use very much smart home technology. So often, the system is out of date before it’s even installed. Also, the issue of privacy is a concern, as household smart systems are more and more connected. That said, a home with the right amount of technology tailored to a specific client can be a great asset.” —Melissa Morgan, M Interiors, San Antonio
A select few
“Although we live in the Bay Area, where technology is prevalent in many aspects of our lives, it seems that most people have found that the tried-and-true works just fine for their homes. That said, I have recommended some smart products, such as Bluetooth light switches or motorized shades. For other new tech products, I confer with my vendors to get their take and see if they’ve had [any] issues using tech-forward products.” —Clara Jung, Banner Day Interiors, San Francisco
“We embrace smart technology when it adds value to the client’s experience, not when it adds complications. The latest technology is not necessarily relevant for all clients, and we make sure we really understand the client’s needs before we propose any smart technologies. For some clients, pressing a button on their phone to have the bedroom curtains close is a must. For others, they want the assurance of physically drawing the curtains themselves. They enjoy the old-fashioned romance of hand-drawing their own drapery, the luxurious swish of fine fabrics, a simple moment of drama and ceremony to begin and end the day.” —Paul Sherrill, Solis Betancourt & Sherrill, Washington, D.C.
Made in the Shade
“The most common tech-related request I get from clients is for smart shades. They are a lifesaver for projects in sunny Texas. You can program the shades to raise and lower at certain times of day, all from your phone!” —Mimi Wittstruck, Mimi Wittstruck Interiors, Austin, Texas
Homepage photo courtesy of Leyden Lewis