Technology on center stage in kitchens and baths

While you might not yet consider including advanced lighting control, integrated security, and distributed entertainment with every kitchen and bath remodeling project you bid, the fact is, if you’re not integrating these modern technologies into your designs, you may soon find your customers taking their business elsewhere.

April 23, 2013
Lighting, entertainment, climate, and sercuity control can be delivered via keyp

Lighting, entertainment, climate, and sercuity control can be delivered via keypads or touchscreens.

Once the purview of science fiction, silly cartoons, and fantastic World’s Fair “House of Tomorrow” exhibits, smart home technology is becoming an ever-more-prevalent reality in the actual home of today. While you might not yet consider including advanced lighting control, integrated security, and distributed entertainment with every kitchen and bath remodeling project you bid, the fact is, if you’re not integrating these modern technologies into your designs, you may soon find your customers taking their business elsewhere.

You’re probably not a plumber either, but that didn’t stop you from installing your first low-flow toilet or bidet; and like any part of the building industry, there are certified professionals who can subcontract and guide you through the process of designing a modern, connected kitchen or an immersive bathroom oasis with the functionality of a home theater.

From world-class appliances to functional work spaces, today’s modern, connected kitchen isn’t just about looking sleek; it’s a social hub for entertaining, family gathering, and productivity—in other words, a prime location for technology to take center stage. It’s the perfect spot from which to cue up soft dinner party music, execute custom lighting scenes at the touch of a button, close motorized window shades for privacy or open them to add a bit of natural light to the homeowners’ daily routine, and even keep an eye on guests as they pull into the driveway, without ever stepping away from the cooktop. 

Sure, such technology innovations may add a bit of complexity to your K&B remodeling projects, but a certified home technology specialist can help you lay the groundwork, from routing high and low voltage wiring to determining where to put touchscreens, and whether your project is right for entertaining touches like under-cabinet TVs or architectural speakers.

Technology not an imposition on design

Advances in wireless technology have made retrofitting smart home controls easier than ever, without compromising aesthetic design. So even if your customers ask for touch-of-a-button control of lighting, entertainment, comfort control, and security, it’s easy to deliver all of this via discrete wireless touchscreens, or the customer’s own mobile devices.

Beautiful wireless Decora-style light switches and dimmers also add an essential high-tech touch without negatively impacting décor. When combined with a remotely located lighting controller—or even a more fully featured complete home control solution—wireless switches and dimmers allow you or your customers to design custom tailored task lighting or elegant entertainment scenes. The options range from “prep” and “cooking” to “breakfast” and “dinner party”—all with different mixes and intensities of lights, whether they be overhead, accent lighting, or under-counter lighting, and all activated at the single touch of a button. 

A remodeling project also affords the opportunity to add a bit of entertainment to the kitchen. Add discrete, paintable in-ceiling speakers to a kitchen remodel, and your customers will enjoy being able to listen to morning radio without sacrificing precious counter space. You might also want to suggest making custom music playlists that, when combined with the right lighting scene, really set the mood for a party or intimate dinner date.

Shining a light on bathroom tech

It’s safe to say that your clients’ bathrooms aren’t quite the same social hub as the kitchen, but lighting and entertainment technology can also go a long way toward enhancing your bath designs, as well. Water-resistant in-ceiling speakers and bathroom mirrors that conceal vanishing televisions, for example, are great ways to make sure homeowners won’t miss a minute of the “Today Show” while preparing for the day.

Wireless switches and dimmers are also a handy way of enhancing bathroom lighting, delivering full brightness for morning prep, and gentler illumination for late-night visits. You can even add occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lights when they’re not needed, and perhaps even a strategically placed motion sensor for homeowners who forget to turn on bathroom ventilation systems before climbing in the shower.

Today’s smart kitchen is more than a place to cook, just as today’s bathroom is more than a place to shower; they are spaces where lighting, entertainment, security, and comfort come together in a way that’s tailored specifically to the homeowner’s unique lifestyle.

As a remodeling professional, offering advanced technology solutions and using a qualified home tech professional will ensure that your remodeling project is a beautiful, seamless blend of technology and design. To help you find the right certified technology professional for your next remodeling project, visit CEDIA’s free online Finder Service at www.cedia.org. PR

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Dennis Burger is a writer who covers the ever-evolving consumer electronics market with more than a decade in the category and writing for publications such as Residential Systems, Home Theater, Tell and many others.

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