As more homes get teched out, how do you make a home smart but stylish too? CES 2019—Las Vegas’ annual mega tech show—is showing off thousands of high-tech products, including a growing number to outfit a smart home.
From smart mirrors to rollable TV screens, CES 2019 vendors are evolving the look and function of many everyday household items. Particularly interesting is a gradual movement to the attention of detail in how these high-tech products are being integrated into a home’s design. It’s becoming less about having a massive monitor on display or smart speaker on your coffee table, and more about integrating and blending the tech into the home subtly.
The Rollable TV
Photo Credit: LG
The bulky, rectangular television set has long been a centerpiece of many family rooms. But LG Signature’s OLED TV R is disguising it. This rollable 65-inch television disappears into a box below a modern, silver credenza when not in use. When you do need it, it unrolls to its full height in seconds. You can also put the TV in “line view,” so that only about a quarter of the screen is showing. In this wide, rectangular view, the TV can be set to just display a clock, weather, personal photos, or other designs.
LG debuted a prototype of the wallpaper TV back at CES 2018, but it will be available to the public starting in the second half of 2019. Pricing has yet to be determined.
Not Just Any Wood
Photo Credit: Mui
That two-by-four piece of wood on the wall looks like a stylish accent that blends into the room, but it’s actually a smart home assistant. Voice-assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, are getting stylish makeovers and embedded into more products. The Mui smart block can be controlled via voice. Homeowners can take control over music, lighting, thermostats, and more through this discreet Google Assistant. When it’s not being used, the LCD display turns off and it looks like just any other piece of wood again. When activated, words appear on the screen and you can talk to it. It’ll be available in early 2019 for $999.
Picture Frame and Wireless Charger
Tech chargers aren’t exactly the prettiest accessory to leave lying around. Enter Twelve South’s PowerPic. It’s a picture frame that doubles as a wireless charger for your devices. It appears as a typical wooden 5×7 picture frame, but it contains a hidden wireless charger behind that favorite photo being displayed. You can place an iPhone or other compatible device inside of it to start charging. (This retails for $80.)
A Smart Mirror
This isn’t your ordinary mirror. It’s a touchscreen mirror with Google Assistant-embedded inside. This smart mirror from Capstone Connected Home allows you to ask it anything you typically would of a standard voice assistant. You can even compose email and messages from it and type directly into the mirror. The mirror is available in various sizes, starting at 19-inch by 22-inch. It’ll be available in early 2019. Pricing has yet to be determined.
Photo Credit: Philips Hue
Pick a mood and let your lights match it. Philips Hue offers a range of smart bulbs that allow you to take control over the lighting to fit the setting. Adjust your dining room lighting to create an ambient atmosphere for a dinner party, or turn a living room into a home theater with dimmed lights. Many of the bulbs can also now be controlled via voice, allowing you to change lighting without ever having to flip a switch.
A great staircase can be attention-getting in your listing. Don’t forget to stage it and highlight it in your property photos to give it the attention it deserves.
“A circular staircase creates a positive first impression as people walk into the home,” says Kurt Geschwender with Geschwender Real Estate Co. “It’s a one-two punch. You’ve created strong curb appeal to move them off the street and into the house. Then you need to close them with the first impression as they enter the home. I’ve found that a buyer will mentally buy the home after they hit the front door … and that they tour the rest of the house looking for reasons why not to buy it.”
A circular staircase can be a symbol of elegance, says John Lynn, a real estate pro with 5 Star Real Estate Pros at Keller Williams Mountain Partners. “I’ve rarely seen a curved staircase in a home that wasn’t eye-catching in either its design or placement,” says Lynn. “People see a straight staircase design and think of a wide range of purposes for that staircase from basic functionality to being a home’s centerpiece for connecting life upstairs. However, a curved staircase makes a dramatic, jaw-dropping statement in a home ad appeals to home buyers on an entirely different level.”
Stage it: Add a circular table at the bottom of the stairway to enhance the circular staircase. Include a vase of fresh flowers. If there’s space, include a chair beside it. The staging below will help accent the curve of the stairway above.
Photo credit: L.J. Smith Stair Systems
Photograph it: Be sure to include a picture of the staircase in your MLS photos. Capture it from below and shoot toward the curve to show off its grandness.
Photo credit: L.J. Smith Stair Systems
Enhance it: The trend for staircases is cool iron blusters matched with warm wooden newels and handrails, says Craig Kurtz, president of L.J. Smith Stair Systems. “That marriage of wood and iron allows homeowners to ‘play’ off both materials so that the stairway complements other design elements of the home.” Make sure the style matches the rest of the home, however, Lynn says. “The shape, style, positioning and material of a staircase can be a positive or negative in the buyer’s mind depending on how it fits into the overall design of the home,” Lynn says. “I’ve noticed that most people prefer to match the materials in a staircase to existing fixtures of the home to give a consistency of theme or design. Having a staircase with a little bit of color, material or design contrast allows them to offset or even showcase the staircase in the home.”
The paint companies have released their color forecasts for the new year. Here are the hot hues expected to make waves in 2019. Which one is your favorite?
Living Coral / Photo Credit: Furniture Choice
Living Coral: Paint company Pantone announced “Living Coral” as its 2019 Color of the Year. The orange shade with golden undertones embodies “warmth and comfort,” Pantone says. “Living Coral easily delivers a graphic pop to a space,” says Rebecca Snowden, an interior style adviser at Furniture Choice. “Introducing it through small elements will brighten up a room, creating a sense of coziness that’s also fresh and chic.” For example, the energetic tone can liven up cushions, throws, and rugs in a living room. In a dining area, color blocked plates and coasters in the peachy hue may add some spark to a table arrangement, she says.
Blueprint / Photo credit: Behr
Blueprint: Behr has gone blue with its top color choice for the new year. Blueprint is a mid-tone blue that is described as warmer than denim but softer than navy. Behr is embracing a full range of blue, teal, and grays as key color choices in 2019. “Layer light and dark blues on walls, cabinets, furniture, and decor for impactful results,” Behr says.
Cavern Clay / Photo Credit: Sherwin-Williams
Cavern Clay: Sherwin-Williams has picked a warm terra-cotta color called Cavern Clay as its 2019 Color of the Year. The color embodies an American Southwest, modern desert aesthetic. “This warm, earthy hue is both casual and refined,” Sherwin-Williams says. “It can be the backdrop of a playful, welcoming dining room or kitchen when paired with bright tiles, warm stone, and sculptural greenery.” It also compliments materials like leather and woodgrains.
Metropolitan Gray / Photo Credit: Benjamin Moore
Metropolitan Gray: Benjamin Moore expects the gray trend to continue in the new year, which is shown through its neutral pick with Metropolitan Gray. “It’s a color in the neutral spectrum that references a contemplative state of mind and design,” says Ellen O’Neill, Benjamin Moore’s director of strategic design intelligence. “Not arresting nor aggressive, this understated yet glamorous gray creates a soothing, impactful common ground.”
The kitchen was designed by Justin and Tyler Sachs of Stonington Cabinetry & Designs. The kitchen features a combination of gray and white accents and warm wood, like the walnut on the island, vent hood, and open shelving.
“Though white cabinets are still a favorite, gray is now the top wall color choice,” says Houzz editor and writer Gwendolyn Purdom. “Renovating homeowners are also opting for features such as Shaker-style cabinets, L-shaped layouts and engineered quartz counters more than in years past—and this kitchen highlights all three.”
Framing a home in a glow of lights can show off your holiday spirit and your home this season. Depending on how much you commit too, you could become the talk of the town. But there’s that fine line between magical glow of holiday spirit and, well, the one that sent Clark Griswold from “Christmas Vacation” yelling expletives.
A recent Boston Globe article offered tips from the pros in getting the former, and not the latter, in your holiday light display this season.
Select a color palette. Will you do white lights or multi-color lights? Choose one and stick to it. Keep your color palette simple, such as with just warm colors or just cool colors, suggests April Tougas-Schavone with the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Mass., which hosts a big holiday lighting event each year. “You get a much bigger impact if you stay with one or two colors rather than following five different colors in one area,” she told The Boston Globe. “It looks much more professional and refined.” Also, choose between traditional incandescent bulbs and more energy efficient LEDs.
Choose the bulb size. You also have choices of mini lights or larger C7 or C9 bulbs—plump, old-fashioned Christmas lights. Some designers like to hang these in vertical strands from high branches, or to use meteor or snowdrop lights. These lights are a dripping down ball of light through a tube. The plump C7 or C9 lights can be good for using on evergreen trees or along rooflines. Wrapping tree trunks or branches with a tight coil of mini lights is always popular, designers say. “They take the longest [to install], but they’re worth every minute,” Michael Rose, owner of Christmas Décor by Suburban Lawn and Sprinkler Co. in Framingham, Mass., told the Boston Globe.
Test out your lights first. Nothing is more frustrating than spending hours stringing lights but then finally turning them on to admire and finding they don’t work. Test the lights out before you hang.
Check for safety. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there were 14,700 decorating-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms during the 2016 holiday season. Forty-one percent involved falls. Use a sturdy ladder and be mindful of safety if you’re installing the lights yourself. Also, check that all of the lights and extension cords are rated for outdoor use. Don’t use cut or frayed cords or any lights with cracked bulbs. Experts recommend plugging the lights into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, which will automatically shut off power if a ground fault is detected from water or a damaged cord. Purchase extension cords or adapters that add GFCI protection to any three-prong outlet.