Wait! Where’s the TV?
When Technology Meets Interior Design
It’s quite the conundrum. Amid the obsession with shiplap and subway tile we get enthralled with the design trends of today. We’re into open floor plans and oversized clocks. We want large dining rooms and outdoor spaces for entertaining, but when we’re ready to settle in on the comfy loveseat for our favorite weekly drama, or curl up with the family to stream a movie, we’d like to see a TV! Have you noticed what’s missing in some of the home renovation shows? Technology! Why IS that? Granted, some embrace technology-free zones, meaning no disruptive television, gaming consoles or mobile devices in designated homework or family dinner spaces. That’s great, but many technologies actually keep us safe, comfortable, informed and entertained. LEDs, control devices, window coverings and lighting are elegant and convenient. So, why is technology so often missed in design?
Plan Now or Patch Later
First, for the best possible outcome, let the technology solutions provider (us) work with the Interior Designer from the onset of the project’s design. We can determine the technology requirements and provide the needed infrastructure before the shiplap, subway tile or custom wallpaper goes up. We can provide the cabling and determine power requirements, saving time and costly refinish work now and down the road. Sure, that painting looks great over the mantle, but would you eventually like to hang an OLED there? Let’s wire for it now so we don’t disturb the brick, wood or wallcovering later. Or, even better, let’s hang it now and conceal it with custom framed artwork that scrolls up to reveal the display! Oh yes, we can!
Wireless Isn’t the Total Answer
Windows are another key design element that require careful planning. Not only should consideration be made for the type and size of windows in media areas, but thoughtful pre-wiring for control and power will be appreciated when it’s time to install motorized shades. It’s true that control for some features can be via wireless remotes, but we still need a power source. The same holds true for keypads and touchscreens, security features, architectural speakers and especially the equipment rack. The equipment rack is the home’s technology hub, housing some or all of the system’s components. It is often centrally located in a closet that offers adequate ventilation and the ability to run cabling for every device and control interface to each room of the house. Homes with crawl spaces, basements and attics make this task somewhat easier, but here in the sunshine state we are faced with concrete or even glass walls and floors of exquisite hardwood or marble that don’t allow access. Get the picture?
Speaking of exquisite features, one “designer” that truly embraces tech is Palm Beach’s Vanilla Ice. While his over-the-top SoFla style is all about the bling, his luxury designs focus on the elegance, entertainment and fun-factor of well-planned integrated technologies. From outdoor living areas to kitchens, master bedrooms and baths to outrageous home theaters and virtual reality gaming rooms, he focuses on how the family will use the space and designs around the technology. Say what you will about a rapper turned house flipper, but his VIP (Vanilla Ice Project) designs require no retrofit (and he’s all about the fancy wallpaper).
So, let’s get the whole design team – the architect, interior designer, technology solutions provider and homeowner – in lockstep. The end result will be a happy homeowner and beautiful, untouched high-end finishes (or maybe, shiplap)!