Gaines Group Architects

Add these innovations to your home to be the coolest kid on the block

There are always those kids on the block with the coolest toys. So if you want to be the coolest kid on the block, think about getting some of these toys for your home.  I have not tested these yet, but hope to do so soon – maybe someday that will make me cool!

canaryHome security is always a top concern for anyone considering home automation. The canary might be a good answer as it not only allows you to monitor your home – it alerts you when patterns change. The device monitors temperature, humidity, noise, and air quality and allows you to check in on your phone from anywhere in the world. It also features a HD video feed to allow you to take a look to see for yourself how incredible your home looks when nobody is home – everything neat and in the right place before the kids get home. However, if someone is walking around during the workday when nobody is usually home, Canary sends you a notification and starts recording the activity. Even better, if you are home sick and don’t want to be bothered, Canary knows your phone and senses you being there turning to privacy mode.

schlageWant to make getting in your home easier when you have your hands full, this lock may be for you. This keyless entry system can be controlled with your phone from anywhere in the world – should you ever need to unlock your home while on vacation. It also has a touchscreen so you can enter a code to enter your home. However, it does not stop there, this lock system also has a built-in alarm that will alert you when someone enters, exits, or tries to break into your home. 

liftmasterHave you ever pulled out of your driveway, driven a few miles, just to think back – “did I put the garage door down?” Well now there is a solution for that – your smart phone can control your garage door. There are several on the market that allow this technology, but the one I found most interesting is the MyQ-enabled garage door opener. This system will send you an alert when the door is opened or closed and allow you to check to see if you closed it without turning around and going back home. Sounds so simple – why did I not think of that?

nest smoke alarmNest has done it again, made something boring cool and a must have for those looking to create a smart home. The Nest Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm looks good and takes that old fashion noisy alarm and kicks it in the teeth. First it tells you everything is OK by turning the light ring green. At night when things are going well it acts as a nightlight. If you see yellow, you might have some burnt toast, or you might need to check things out. It it is red it alerts you of danger and tells you where the emergency is in the home. Not at home, that is ok, it is Wi-Fi enabled so just check your phone for peace of mind. If something goes wrong, it sends you a notification to your phone. Think it is time to change the batteries, check your phone and it will let you know before that annoying chirp in the middle of the night that we have all experienced.



Home Automation Systems – What is it?

Home Automation is the residential version of building automation. It may include control of lighting, Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, appliances, door locks, stereo, window shades, cameras, or security systems.

StarterKit KPL 619

Home automation can increase the quality of life for occupants of a home as well as improve convenience, energy efficiency, comfort, and security. The popularity of home automation systems have drastically increased as the price of the systems and sophistication has improved. Simple systems may do things as straight forward as turn lights on when someone enters the room. Advanced systems control HVAC systems, music levels, televisions, or even irrigation systems. Remote monitoring allows you to see and control your home from your smart phone anywhere you go.

Most people opt to automate their lights and thermostat to save energy, monitor their homes remotely, and do a few cool things with their entertainment systems. On the energy front, a home automation system can be set to turn off any light equipped with a module when you’re not home, based either on the time of day or on whether someone is in the room (detected by a motion sensor). It can also be set to turn off the AC or heater while you’re at work, then turn it back on a half hour before you arrive home.


Traditionally sold by custom installers, home automation systems used to cost anywhere from $5,000 to  $15,000. Those expensive systems are still available, but these days you can get a basic system for a lot less. Verizon offers setups from $70 to $200 to do things like automate your lights and thermostat, with upgrades available if you want to add more appliances. After the initial installation, you’ll pay $10 a month for the ability to monitor your home from anywhere via your phone or computer.