Today’s Trends: Driven and Powered by Technology
Over the last few years, technology has fully come into its own in the home. From smart home systems to motorized accessories, you can now simply press a button and watch as a cabinet door silently opens and closes. Welcome to a new era, one’s that here to stay.
While technology-driven trends can be found throughout modern homes, we primarily see them at play in three categories: lighting, accessories, and appliances. And in each category, we can sum up the advantages of technology with one word: more. Technology gives home-owners more ways to enhance their quality of life. Whether it’s more options for lighting a room to more opportunities for saving time and energy, technology is quickly becoming a homeowner’s best friend.
Lighting: Now that light-emitting diode (LED) technology is a mainstay in design, homeowners have more choices than ever for how they want to light any space in their home. To begin, homeowners can adjust the lighting to pull different color temperatures so that accents in their artwork are accentuated. Similar to museum or theatre lighting, LED can make whites pop or accentuate the warmth of red tones. In addition to being one of the most energy-efficient technologies on the market, it’s also one of the most agile. Given its design, LED lighting can be integrated into a number of architectural elements, as well as routed and hidden in cabinets. Finally, LED lighting provides security-based comforts, as well. If you’re on vacation or away from your home, you can adjust your lighting remotely, no matter if you’re hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
Accessories: Interested in a vanishing entertainment TV mirror? Technology has brought this trend, and many others, into the home. From kitchen cabinets to bathroom showers, we see the smart home at work in technology-driven accessories. Preparing dinner and have your hands full? Handle-less oven doors can be opened with the simple lean of one’s hip, while kitchen sinks can be turned on with a quick tap of the faucet. Want to change the temperature of the water in your shower? No need to manually adjust faucet knobs. You can set your shower to your desired temperature with a few clicks on your cell phone. Technology eliminates the need for hardware in several appliances, allowing homeowners to move about their space as freely and efficiently as possible.
Appliances: Get ready to put technology to work in your home in ways that will save you time and help you stay one step ahead of the game. Need to pre-heat your oven during your commute home from work? Click an app on your cell phone and it’s done. Is your refrigerator encountering a cooling problem and needs a diagnostic test? Yes. And before you’d even know that there’s an issue, a diagnostic ticket has been sent to the refrigerator manufacturer’s service department, without your even having to make a phone call., making it possible to tackle problems before they arise. The end result: you get the information you need when you need it. Minimal effort on your end; maximum benefit out of your appliances. That’s what we call smart home living.
At KBC, we are dedicated to reimagining the space you call home. If you’re considering designing or refreshing your dream closet, contact us. We’d love to discuss how we can bring our expertise to work for you and your whole home. Reach us at kbcpgh.com, and get social with us on Facebook @KitchenBathConceptsofPittsburgh and on Instagram @kbcpittsburgh.
Style & Technology Work Together
– By Andrea Bernstein Rodarte
Imagine not being able to reach your child for a daily after-school check in, or conduct business while away from the office. Cell phones have made the days of "flying under the radar" obsolete.
Smartphones aren't the only advancement we use every day. From 'nanny cams' to high tech home security systems, creating an environment that works as hard for us as we work for it means exploring some of the most recent tech toys on the market. Vision- and voice-controlled systems have moved into the home.
How to achieve a 'smart space'? Consider voice command tools such as Siri, Google Assistant, Google Home and Alexa (on Echo). Speak your request to activate the system, whether it's ordering an item from a store or commanding your freezer to make more ice. Although currently offered by a limited number of manufacturers, speak-to-control appliances are an innovation that is taking off with lightening speed.
In addition, voice controlled devices are now programmable to react to various voices and the implement's small attractive design make them unobtrusive in the home.
To integrate a smart home system that will operate from your computer, house the computer's brain or CPU (Central Processing Unit) in cabinetry or a closet.
Apps keep the home safe and comfortable. The temperature in your home can be controlled by a smartphone. Replace your thermostat with one that learns your habits and will automatically reset the temperature to save you money.
Set programmable window shades to automatically open and close throughout the day to control light and temperature. Remotely lock doors or check that you closed the garage door, all from your phone.
On the horizon, look for the Windows Hello biometric facial ID system, and a context-aware user interface for the future that Microsoft dubs Gaze, Gesture, and Voice (GGV). Imagine!
Andrea Bernstein Rodarte is an executive editor and author for national publications including home design publications. She has written extensively about topics ranging from luxurious kitchens and baths to gourmet outdoor kitchens, exterior living spaces, sophisticated child-proof pool fencing, and high tech home security systems. With her extensive history in kitchen and bath products and trends, Andrea brings a knowledgeable and unique perspective to her work.