Irwin Weiner ASID - One of my clients spent over $10,000 on an in-wall surround-sound speaker system for his bedroom. He had me update this bedroom recently, and in the process, he ripped out all the in-wall equipment and went with a simpler wireless system he bought off the shelf. When I saw this video on the new Crestron showroom in NYC's D&D building, I had mixed feelings. First, I do believe in every home having a "brain" or control system that helps regulate the home's various systems: security, lighting, temperature, appliances and TVs, draperies, and so on. But, and this is a big reservation, as an interior designer, I would rather have my client spend the design budget on elements that make each room more livable, beautiful, and valuable. I'm not convinced that technology doesn't quickly become outdated, or that it's the sizzle factor that's appealing (a toy) versus the steak (a must-have necessity).
If it came down to spending a lot of money on a whole-home control system versus higher-end furnishings, wall coverings, and window treatments ... I've got to go anti-technology, I'm afraid. With that said, I would love to turn on the lights in my home from my iPhone when I pull up the driveway at night, and I'd love to press a "Reading" button and specific lights go on in certain zones. And there's something James Bond-ish about having draperies automatically open and close. But I have yet to meet the client who isn't willing to do those things "manually" if it means spending less on their home design project.
The expense of buying premium property, remodeling, and new construction often leaves little budget room for the technology piece. What do YOU think? Is a home technology system appealing? Would you willingly add the cost to your overall design and decorating budget, without skimping on design and decoration? (I can be swayed yet! <wink>)