Living Beautifully, in Simplicity

Coming home, at its best, should be simple, rejuvenating and exciting.
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Coming home, at its best, should be simple, rejuvenating and exciting. “How do you live beautifully, but also simply and authentically at the same time?” asks designer Christopher Kennedy. “How do you live really well, but without a lot of ostentation, without a lot of pretense?”

Kennedy, an internationally renowned interior designer based in California, brought this sensibility to the showcase home he created for Palm Springs Modernism Week 2015. Founded in 2006, Modernism Week celebrates the mid-century design and architecture for which Palm Springs is known, while also showcasing contemporary trends in innovative and sustainable living. This year, the weeklong series of home and neighborhood tours drew more than 60,000 visitors from all over the world. Kennedy first appeared with a show house last year, a home that the Hollywood Reporter called “The #1 must-see event for Palm Springs Modernism Week 2014.”

Kennedy’s 2015 show home showcases world-class designers and Crestron control technologies to create a space that truly embodies Kennedy’s philosophy of beautiful simplicity. The home serves as inspiration for homeowners looking to enjoy their spaces in lively, luxurious new ways.

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Crestron’s shades complement Hartmann&Forbes wallpapers in the home. In Palm Springs, with its desert escapes and sundrenched vistas, the barriers between outdoor and interior living fall away. The Christopher Kennedy Compound is a 1964 ranch-style home that epitomizes this lifestyle, complete with rooms that welcome warm breezes and a stunning pool and sundeck. Walking through the house, it’s clearly a space meant for both entertaining and relaxing.

Kennedy loves the area for its history of laid-back style. “Palm Springs has had a long line of celebrity residents, from Bob Hope to Frank Sinatra,” he said. “And for many, like Rock Hudson, Palm Springs was the only place in the world where they were truly themselves. To this day, Palm Springs captures that idea of beauty combined with ease and realness in a very palpable way.”

The home’s 2,500-square-foot layout features open, sunlit rooms, perfect for entertaining guests visiting to soak up the sun, or simply as a space to enjoy with family and friends on a quiet weekend. “I designed the Palm Springs home for how I live today,” Kennedy said. “There’s absolutely no wasted space–it’s comfortable, it’s secure, and it’s inspiring.”

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Christopher Kennedy The streamlined living spaces are complemented by Crestron control technologies, which figured into Kennedy’s designs last year as well. “Ideally, technology and design are seamless,” he says. “Both should enhance the client’s life in every sense.”

The home springs to life in the unique designs of each room, be it butterfly-patterned wallpaper in the master bedroom or the bright green lounge chairs that face the sparkling pool. After his success during Modernism Week 2014, Kennedy had a number of designers eager to join him in creating this year’s home, and these designers hail from all over the country. Each of the rooms is outfitted with Crestron technology that gives homeowners greater control and ease in adjusting the space to their needs.

Control Systems for Simple Living

Kennedy has worked with Crestron technologies on past projects, but this is the first year that the house has included Pyng, Crestron’s new easy-to-modify home automation solution.

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Kennedy loves to tell clients that they’ll be able to hop on a plane in Seattle, adjust the thermostat from their seat, and have their house cool and comfortable by the time they touch down in Palm Springs. With the Pyng app, adjusting lighting, shading, environment, entertainment, and security systems is easier. With just the touch of a button on an iPad or iPhone, users can dim and shade the media room for movie watching, or have music playing before they even set foot in the door. Kennedy loves this level of control as a way to help make his clients’ lives easier. “It’s fantastic to be able to hop on a plane in Seattle, adjust the thermostat from your seat, and have the house cool and comfortable by the time you touch down in Palm Springs,” he said.

Pyng offers several unique, crucial advantages for mid-century designers like Kennedy. First, it can be set up directly from the iPad, using a simple, step-by-step process to set lighting levels and save presets to maximize the dramatic effect of his or her design.

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Crestron now partners with Hartmann&Forbes to offer natural fiber shade options. That’s great for smaller homes like Kennedy’s 2015 show house. The app’s interface offers a simplified user experience that makes automation as simple as possible.

Second, the app can control lighting, climate, lighting and AV components wirelessly, so there’s no need for extensive rewiring, which can be time consuming and costly in older homes. “We saved a lot of time, money, and stress this year, with no need to tear out plaster to accommodate technology,” Kennedy said.

This year’s home showcases Sub-Zero and Wolf smart appliances, which have been integrated into the Crestron system. Users can check the status and functionality of their appliances even if they’re halfway across the country.

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With the Crestron Pyng app, adjusting lighting, shading, environment, entertainment, and security systems is easier. The house also features Crestron-controlled Yale door locks, which can be unlocked and re-secured remotely by users who might receive deliveries or guests while they’re away. The Yale locks can communicate with the Pyng hub so that when a person enters the home, lighting presets immediately adjust to the preferred settings for that time of day.

At the 2015 home, the ambiance is accentuated with a Crestron-controlled fireplace and Crestron shading and motorized draperies, now with designer fabrics by Hartmann&Forbes.

“Historically, shades were always synthetic and utilitarian, although companies have tried to make them more appealing in recent years,” Kennedy said. “It’s wonderful that Crestron now partners with Hartmann&Forbes to offer really beautiful natural fiber options. And of course the shades complement Hartmann&Forbes wallpapers beautifully, as they do in our media room.”

Kennedy said the show house will help more and more people understand the advantages of smart home technology, and he looks forward to further work with Crestron. “As a designer, you look for partners that you enjoy working with, and whose values align with yours,” he said. “Crestron has been a good fit for me.”

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