Recent advances in ‘smart home” technology impact building trends. Innovative builders are incorporating comfort and convenience, all with just the touch of an app.

Say Goodbye To The Home Office. Although more and more people are telecommuting and working virtually, the space consuming home office is becoming a thing of the past. Gone are the days of bulky space grabbing PC towers and big electronic components. Cloud storage has eliminated the need for space for shelves and filing cabinets. The abundance and ready availability of mobile technology eliminate the need for large, separate home offices.

Today’s smart homes feature pocket offices or small areas specially designed to accommodate a laptop and mobile device charging station. Many kitchen designs incorporate a workspace with a wall-mounted touchpad to control household activity from drawing a bath to scheduling dishwasher and laundry appliance operations for off-peak times when low electricity rates apply.

Glorious Kitchens And Grand Baths

Home buyers demand grand, distinctive spaces with a heightened interest in master bathrooms fitted with jumbo showers with body sprays, rain heads, steam cabinets and touchscreen technology to control lighting, music, water pressure as well as room and water temperature.

Kitchens that celebrate eye-catching islands with digitally controlled cooktops, app-controlled appliances, built-in beverage centers and other smart home technology elements that showcase the kitchen’s role as family gathering place are an integral element in today’s home designs.

Elegant Electronic Wine Rooms

Once found only in the catacombs of the dwellings of the very rich, in-home, digitally controlled wine rooms gain popularity in new construction plans. Often tucked under a grand stairway or as a retreat off the main dining room, these private “man caves” are digitally equipped with state-of-the-art sound systems, alarm systems, entertainment centers, soundproofing, ventilation systems that by-pass the main house system, and humidity, moisture and temperature storage for vintage wines, liquors and fine cigars.

Owners can relax and savor a cigar without offending others in the household or draw guests an icy cold brew or hot beverage from built-in keg taps or beverage brewers.

Built-in wine rooms or owner retreats, replace the home office or den as a place of solitude to escape the flurry of household activity and the demands of the outside world.

Home Entertainment Theaters Or Media Rooms

Space once used for the “family room” or den in older construction has a new purpose as defined by today’s building trends. The home entertainment theater, also known as the media room, provides a designated space for creating a true cinematic experience complete with drop-from-the-ceiling viewing screens, the finest in surround sound, mood lighting, and room temperature controlled with just a flick of a switch on your favorite mobile device.

Home Gyms

The growing trend in physical fitness and maintaining a healthy lifestyle has given rise to the popularity of incorporating a home gym or physical fitness room into building design plans. In upscale designs, this area is often designed as a complete “mini-suite” equipped with a full bath, sauna, steam room and hot tub or physical therapy tub with all room functions controlled by an app activated by your smartphone.

Design features may include an infinity lap pool, digital scales, and cardiovascular monitoring with a recording feature to keep track of your physical fitness goals and progress. If you include different types of exercise equipment such as a tread climber, elliptical machine, exercise bike or stair master with digital controls, smart home technology allows you to synchronize and record the time spent daily on each activity as well as the number of calories burned in total.

Many smart homes include intercom and visually invisible camera interaction between rooms. Now you can get a full workout while monitoring that the baby is sleeping soundly, and the rest of the household is running smoothly.

Imagine!

With a smart home, you are only limited by your imagination. If there is a function in your home that operates electronically, your electrician or technology consultant, working with your builder, can incorporate it into your smart home design.

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Installing smoke detectors in the rooms of your house is a leading way to keep your home from catching fire. Detectors have to be in good operating condition. Rather than simply removing batteries from smoke detectors that have started beeping,replace the batteries. A beeping smoke detector can be annoying. It’s also an indication that the device’s battery is running low.

More steps that can keep your home from catching fire take less than minute to complete. Stay close to the stove when grilling or frying food. Place food in pans that are deep enough to keep grease from dripping into the oven.

More Easy Ways To A Fire Safe Home

Before leaving the kitchen for an extended period, check to see that the stove and oven are completely turned off. Your iron, grill and table roaster should also be off. Don’t assume that these appliances are off, as they might only be”close” to off. Keep your home from catching fire by also:

  • Be careful with crock pots. They are slow cookers, but they still put out heat and are hooked to electric power. In a similar vein, avoid cooking while you’re sleepy. Before you know it, you could drift into sleep, leaving food in the oven or on the stove.
  • Put out all lit items. Examples of these items are cigarettes, cigars and incense. Rest cigarettes, cigars and incense in fire resistant holders while they are lit.
  • Smoke outside if you smoke. Also, consider ceasing your smoking habit.
  • Stack wood in a safe place.
  • Clean the fireplace. Place a safety gate in front of the fireplace and teach children and pets not to play around the fireplace.
  • Make sure that embers are all the way out in the fireplace.
  • Turn off stoves and ovens during storms. They could rekindle when electricity comes back on.
  • Blow out candles fully. Candles have remained lit for longer than 24 hours. A small ember could cause lots of trouble overnight.
  • Try to avoid space heaters. Make sure that they aren’t near anything that could catch fire if you do use them.
  • Don’t put aluminum foil in the microwave. It’s a quick way to start a fire.
  • Store matches, lighters and lighter fluid out of the reach of children. These items should also be in safe areas that are away from heat, smoke and fire.
  • Read your grill’s operating and maintenance instructions.
  • Place a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and in the garage. As with fire detectors, test fire extinguishers to ensure that they are operating effectively.

Should your home catch on fire, you and each member of your family need to know how to evacuate. It takes two minutes to conduct a home fire evacuation drill.

Protect valuables by storing them in a fire resistant safe. Keep a copy of important documents like your will, insurance policies and retirement account information in a separate locked area like a bank safe deposit box or a post office box. And as with any emergency, call 911. Also, let your family know that you experienced a fire at your home.

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