Modern luxury homebuilding isn’t just about square footage and exotic materials. The best new homes today incorporate smart designs that minimize energy usage, maximize living comfort and provide aesthetics that perfectly match the owner’s personality.
Florida homebuilder Josh Wynne of Josh Wynne Construction knows this better than most, and combines designs that utilize the natural elements of a building’s lot with smart home technologies that make home life simple and efficient.
In his latest award-winning LEED-platinum certified home, dubbed “The Pearl”, Wynne has taken eco-conscious design to a new level, achieving the certification without the use of solar panels or rainwater cisterns. In addition to making the home friendly to the environment, Wynne made sure the home was friendly to the owners, installing the ELAN g! Entertainment and Control System that gives them complete control over everything from climate to pool controls with the ELAN g! Mobile app on their iPhones and iPads.
The home is custom designed from top to bottom, including exposed trusses that Wynne hand-built himself. Because the owner likes to host parties but is also a private-minded person, the home features a progression of public spaces, intermediate spaces and private spaces, both indoors and in the landscaping.
To make all these spaces comfortable and easy to manage, Wynne had Mark van den Broek of SmartHouse Integration design and install a variety of high-tech systems. With van den Broek’s help, Wynne delivered the owners a level of home comfort that they couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. Everything in the home – lights, air conditioning, heating, irrigation, TVs, multi-room audio, security, surveillance and even pool controls – can be turned on and off, scheduled and adjusted from a single iPhone app.
“This home is a culmination of the owner’s aesthetic tastes, my unique mind for sustainable luxury design, and Mark’s technological know-how,” Wynne said. “Walking into the huge open kitchen and living room area, the sense of space and freedom is incredible. We were able to extend the awe even further by implementing smart home systems so the owner could walk into that room and hit a single button to dim the lights, turn on their favorite playlist and adjust the climate to the perfect temperature. It’s a home that uses technology to simplify living.”
With TVs, speakers and lights both indoors and outdoors that can be controlled on an iPhone or iPad, every area in the home can be custom programmed with scenes for different scenarios such as cooking, hosting a party, movie viewing, or even an “Away” mode that turns off most systems and automatically sets the security and surveillance systems. One special part of the security system is a custom-designed digital “gate” on the driveway that alerts the homeowners whenever a vehicle approaches the homes.
According to van den Broek, “The home has three driveways, so a gate wouldn’t have been feasible. I came up with a solution using laser triggers on each driveway, so when a vehicle crosses the beam a video feed of the driveway comes up on the large touchscreen in the kitchen and master bedroom. And if the home is set to ‘away’ mode, the system turns on indoor and outdoor lights and sends an alert to the owner’s cell phone. It’s a surefire way to protect the house when they are away and a convenient way to see when friends are arriving.”
The most important aspect of the home’s technology is that the owners can use it without any training, without any hassle, and without any stress. When people drive up, the camera feed simply appears on the touchscreens. When they are away, they can open the ELAN g! Mobile app and check their surveillance cameras and even view histories of which lights have been on and what the indoor temperature has been. If they are home and want to watch a movie, all they need is an iPhone to turn off the lights, turn on the TV and Blu-ray player, and raise the volume. For parties, switching audio sources to different zones and adjusting volume is a breeze with the on-screen sliders.