1950s Smart Home
How a couple transformed a 50s seaside house in East Sussex into a smart home.
13:55 15 October 2017
Gigi Sutherland and her partner Matt Sellers wanted a smart home that does not look robotic and flashy but highly functional and efficient. Thus, when they redesigned a 50s seaside house in East Sussex, they made sure that the mood was far from futuristic.
Sutherland said: “We wanted to use technology to make life easier,”
The house’s walls, which are made from basic building materials, effectively hide smart speakers, motion sensors and app-controlled energy and security systems.
The house has an app-operated 300-litre MegaFlow boiler and Haverland RCTTT radiators. They use geofencing technology to send a signal to the wifi-enabled radiator valves to turn them on and off when not in used.
“When we reach a GPS point – we chose about 16 miles from the front door – they turn on, so it is warm when we arrive,” says Sutherland. “For us, old‑fashioned timers would waste energy, because we don’t always get home at the same time every day. If I’m away from the house, I can look on my phone and see instantly if, say, we have left the hot water on,”
Talking about their projector screen that slides on the living room ceiling, Sutherland said: “It’s like being at the cinema, but with a wood burner and comfy sofas,” The screen plays DVDs, Blu-rays, YouView TV or images streamed via a five-channel Yamaha RX-V473 AV receiver.
The house is also wired with motion detectors and cameras that send alerts to the couple’s phones. “If a sensor is triggered, it sends us an alert, along with an image of the area,” says Sutherland. Talking about a recent incident where their camera spotted someone lurking around, she said: “There’s a built-in speaker, so I said: ‘Hello, can I help you?’ They quickly disappeared.”
The couple also uses an HD video doorbell, which can be answered remotely using a phone, PC or tablet. “I can see and talk to someone at the door without them knowing whether I’m busy inside or away from the house,” says Sutherland. “It’s useful for asking couriers to leave a delivery by the door – and even better for politely sending cold callers on their way.”
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