While more and more of our digital life is becoming wireless, wireless solutions continue to be plagued by signal strength issues and download/upload speeds. In a room over a garage finished off as a home office space, a Design Basics customer recently reported intermittent signal losses and average download speeds of only 2-4 Mbps, compared with 50 Mbps throughout the rest of the home. The solution was wiring an Ethernet connection in that space – not an easy task after the home was built.
Whether it’s HD video or the latest multi-player online games, for stationary applications, hardwired Ethernet is preferable to wireless connectivity for dependable performance and to get the most from your entertainment and computer systems. Ethernet provides another important advantage, low voltage power for your device can be run over the same Ethernet cable so you can eliminate additional electrical wiring and those bulky AC transformers.
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More and more products for the home can be monitored and controlled by an App. Some are for convenience, such as an app for your coffee maker; while others are for your piece of mind, like Roost’s family of products.
Roost’s Smart Smoke Alarm has advanced features, such as a Wi-Fi connection. Powered by a Smart Battery (see below), alerts are sent to your smartphone via the Roost App. Depending on which model of smoke alarm you choose, alerts for smoke, fire, carbon monoxide, and/or natural gas detection are in the palm of your hand!
Water and Freeze Detection Alerts
Toilets, bathtubs, and sinks that overflow…water heater tanks that rupture…washing machine hoses burst…such “contained water leaks” in homes (as opposed to flooding due to heavy rains) cost insurance companies more than residential fire damage. Sure, insurance can help with repairs and replacement costs, but you’re responsible for the deductible and then there’s all the disruption and the associated hassles. Roost’s Wi-Fi enabled Smart Sensor detects water leaks and sends an alert to your smartphone (and family and friends’ phones) so you can address the problem before it becomes catastrophic. In addition, should temperature and/or humidity in your home fall outside predetermined levels, the battery-powered Roost Smart Sensor will alert you to these dangers as well, helping you avoid damage from freeze or excess humidity.
Wi-Fi Battery and Alerts
If you’re tired of being startled awake to smoke detector “chirps,” the Roost 9 volt Wi-Fi battery is great technology for standard smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. Roost sends “low battery” alerts to your smartphone to call attention to the need for changing the battery. But you won’t get those alerts very often, as the Roost battery lasts five years (then just replace the lithium battery pack). Everyone at work/school? Roost sends emergency alerts to your smartphone as well as family and friends’ phones.
To learn more, visit: www.getroost.com
(Note: Product spotlights are for informational purposes only; we do not formally endorse any product or service.)
Many construction materials are made with formaldehyde, which off-gasses for several weeks to several months, contributing to that “new home smell” which, unfortunately, is quite unhealthy. Sherwin-Williams™ Enhanced Harmony® interior paint has “Odor Eliminating” and “Formaldehyde Reducing” technologies to help reduce the levels of formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air from potential sources such as insulation, carpet, cabinetry, fabrics, and other building materials according to the manufacturer. Unlike most paints, Harmony paint itself is a zero-VOC formula and contains anti-microbial agents to resist mold and mildew from building up on the paint’s surface.
To learn more, visit: www.sherwin-williams.com
Form and function. Beautiful and practical. Great home design has to have both.
The bathroom in an owner’s suite has always been a “hot button” for home buyers. Hence, bath design receives lots of attention. Designers often start with creating the first impression–what you see when you first walk into the bathroom. We’ve been wowed by some visually stunning master baths only to discover practical considerations, such as convenient towel storage, were obviously afterthoughts. Many people like to dry off in the warm shower area rather than walk across the bathroom, wet and shivering, just to get their hands on a towel!
Nothing in the home is as personal to us as the master bathroom. So the design of this space is often modified from an original layout to one based on individual preferences. Here are the most common changes, and reasons for those modifications:
- The original owner’s bath layout presents a large, doorless walk-in shower, compartmented toilet, and separate vanities.
- Alternate bathroom layout #1 shows a single vanity with two sinks and adds another storage closet.
- Alternate bathroom layout #2 utilizes the same single vanity with two sinks but shows a traditional bathtub in lieu of the extra closet.
- People looking for a pampering bathing experience would likely opt for alternate layout #3 with its deluxe bathtub, large dual-sink vanity, semi-private toilet, and more generous walk-in closet.
Bathroom design, like your wardrobe, should be tailored for a perfect “fit”!
For more on bathroom design, click here.
Sometimes placement of the laundry room presents a unique situation for venting the dryer. Maybe your vent needs to run up before it can exit the home. This can cause energy and safety problems as lint can become trapped in in the vent and more frequent cleaning is needed. Introducing a ventless dryer!
The new breed of ventless clothes dryers not only use less energy, they also eliminate the need for a dryer vent. Even if you are disciplined in cleaning out the lint filter regularly, dryer vent hoses/pipes typically clog over time, lengthening dryer cycles, wasting power, and shortening the life of your dryer. Some vent hoses snake around the home’s framing and are very hard to clean out, a leading cause of the 2,900 home clothes dryer fires reported annually (U.S. Fire Administration). Whirlpool’s HybridCare™ True Ventless heat pump dryer offers a large, 7.4 cu. ft. capacity and dries clothes in about the same amount of time as the company’s traditional vented models.
For more information, visit: www.whirlpool.com
Note: Product spotlights are for informational purposes; we do not formally endorse any product or service.
Natural light is an important design element. Not only does it make us feel good, natural light also provides many health benefits such as increased vitamin D production and improved calcium absorption, lowers blood pressure, improves concentration, and reduces irritability and headaches. You can increase the number and size of windows in your home, but think about how great it feels to bask in the sun coming from above!
Skylights are a great addition to your home as they not only bring in natural light, but they also serve as a design element. Forget the old “bubble” style – today’s skylights are both functional and stylish, and are available with several options.
One such new feature is from VELUX®, the world’s largest manufacturer of skylights. VELUX raised the bar with Solar Powered “Fresh Air” Skylights. Rather than having to hire an electrician to run power to the roof, the skylight’s solar panel uses daylight to recharge its concealed battery that opens and closes the skylight (the practical side of ushering in fresh air and exhausting warm air trapped near the ceiling). It can also power an optional skylight shade.
Design Basics’ HER HOME™ publication teamed up with VELUX to showcase some of the possibilities for brightening your home. View this digital plan book with approximately 40 home plans with skylights incorporated into the design. This edition also features information on why natural light is so important, not only to your home design, but to you and your family!
HER HOME™ VELUX® Edition
Learn more about VELUX® skylights: www.veluxusa.com