Monthly Archives: July 2016

Mindful Design

I have been told by numerous experts that updating our blog every week is a must do to optimize/improve our search engine optimization (SEO).  Now that I am no longer working for Deschutes County, I am in charge of stepping up our marketing efforts.  So here I am writing a blog that I am fairly certain no one will read, but still wanting to make it interesting….just in case…..This week I am abandoning search word criteria and target audiences to write about mindfulness, which is something that I am passionate about. One morning, as I was reading through my Flipboard account looking for topics to write about, I came across the quote below:

Mindfulness Quote

Mindful design can mean a lot of different things.  For me it is taking care of your home space where in return it will take care of you.  Mindfulness means you can engage fully in what you are doing at any moment, and when you are mindful, difficult thoughts and feelings have much less impact and influence over you. Be curious about the underlying thoughts when there is dis-appointment or frustration.  For example, perhaps you are not able to have the exact layout of the dining room, and great room as you had hoped.  You are concerned that there will not be enough room for friends and family to congregate.  Think about the values underlying this desire. Is it really about a bigger great room? Or is it about a more connected family? While being mindful, think about everyone together and whether or not having the exact configuration you had hoped for will prevent togetherness.

Mindful design starts with integrating the land with the architectural design of the home and continues through every phase of construction including tile selections, lighting, plumbing and more.  During the initial design phase it is important to consider natural occurring features of the land to create a home that will be more than just a structure to live in, but a home that nurtures the lives of its inhabitants and its natural surroundings.

I approach home design with thinking about how I want to feel when I walk into or sit in each room?   Will I be in there alone, sharing with one other person or is it a place to gather with friends and family?  How many people use this room at different times?  The answers to those questions help define the space – adding or leaving out walls, windows, built-ins and other design elements.  Do I want morning light or evening light?  How does a big expansive wall feel, should it have a design element to break it up, how do I feel when I look at these color combinations?  Am I energized, relaxed, contemplative.

For instance, we are designing a home that will be for sale in Tetherow and we are working through the design of the master bedroom.  We need to locate it in a certain part of the house to maximize the cascade mountain views it will have, while maintaining the mountain views in the great room.  We want to create enough separation from the two spaces, but maintain the view for both.  When looking at our design options I knew I did not want to see a door from the great room space.  A door felt closed and created a negative and unwelcoming feeling, not the welcoming and warm energy we wish to create.  I believe we were able to create a path from the great room to the master bedroom that maintains the feel and separation we were trying to achieve.

Design can be a fun and creative expression of who you are and what is important to you.  Be open, listen to your gut, be curious about frustrations, and above all have fun!!

6 Smart Home Features Trending in 2016

6 Smart Home Features Trending for 2016

The following article explains the most popular trends in smart home technology today.  Visionary Homes has experience with several of the smart home features listed below.  Many of the smart home features also contribute to sustainable and green building practices, which is a priority for Visionary Homes. During the process of home design and construction with Visionary Homes there is a careful review of smart home technology currently available and itemizing features the home owner wishes to incorporate into their custom home.

Below are excerpts from an article by Teresa Mears dated March 24, 2016.  The entire article can be found here.

Homeowners are moving toward some smart home products, including thermostats they can control with smartphones, automated lighting solutions, keyless entry and security and entertainment options.

When choosing smart features homeowners tend to gravitate toward products that are simple to use and less expensive, making remote control of temperature and lighting popular choices.

Hertzberg finds that consumers like products like the Nest system, which includes thermostats, security cameras, and carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. The system integrates with a number of other products and can be operated via an app. The thermostat costs $249 (some energy companies offer incentives), making it a small investment for significant convenience.

“It’s very easy to install, it’s not that expensive to put in, it’s easy to use,” Hertzberg says. For a low cost, they can also get a simple product that enables them to control the air conditioning or the lights from the bed, he says. People can get separate thermostat or wireless lighting products or integrate the system by choosing a “Works With Nest” device.

“Consumers are really looking for simplicity in the interfaces for their systems,” says John Galante, president of AE Ventures, which just organized a smart home trade show in Orlando, Florida.

“Unless you’re looking for a very limited solution … you’re best served to have a level of pro installation involved,” Galante says. “Once you get beyond a single room, it tends to get complicated.”

Houzz recently started looking at home technology room by room. The 2016 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Survey found that smart appliances weren’t being widely used, and the biggest smart feature utilized in the kitchen was color touchscreen displays. “Actually, the kitchens are not as high-tech as you would think. The appliances aren’t really talking to your smartphone,” Nino says. The Houzz survey found that only 6 percent of respondents used built-in apps with recipes and only 5 percent used wireless controls via smartphone or tablet to control a refrigerator or range oven.

As home entertainment technology improves, theater rooms are less popular. “The movie rooms are going away,” Hertzberg says. “You no longer need a dark, dark room and a projector.” Newer televisions provide a great viewing experience anywhere. “The price point has come down, and the systems have gotten so much better,” he says.

Here are six smart home features that homeowners are embracing now:

Smart thermostatsThermostats have grown beyond a mechanism that you can program to raise and lower the temperature. Today’s smart thermostats can be controlled via your computer or smart phone and will even learn habits such as when you’re usually at home and if you raise or lower the temp when you get up or at certain times of day, like when you go to bed.

Lighting controls. Being able to control all the lights in the house with one device, to operate dimmers or to turn off the lights after you are already in bed are all functions homeowners value and can add at minimal cost.

Alarm systems. Today’s home security systems include controls for thermostats and lighting and have features that allow you to arm and disarm them remotely, using a computer or a phone. Security cameras also have fallen in price and grown in popularity among homeowners.

Keyless entry systems. With these replacements for standard locks, homeowner don’t have to worry about carrying keys. They can also give instructions to others on how to get into the home when they’re not there.

Shade control. Homeowners are embracing technology that allows them to raise and lower window shades at the touch of a button, plus set the shades to raise and lower when they are not there, to save energy or make the home look inhabited. “Shade control is taking off,” Galante says.

Hidden or unobtrusive built-in speakers. Wired speaker systems are still popular, but the speakers are smaller and there may be more than two to a room, Galante says. That makes it easier for homeowners to customize sound for, say, a party.

You can expect to see more of these four smart home innovations in the future:

Smart refrigerators and other appliances. Few people are buying refrigerators that include an app to tell them when they’re out of milk. “I don’t think we’re quite there yet on the value proposition,” Galante says. But Hertzberg says he is starting to see some smart kitchen appliances in high-end homes. “Those things will go from wow factor to expected in the future,” he says. Controlling the stove and oven remotely is likely to catch on first.

Smart ventiliation systems. Look for heating and air conditioning systems that will not only adjust the temperature, but will also detect and compensate for humidity and air purity.

Smart building materialsShingles will be able to notify you of leaks, drywall will detect moisture and wood framing will report termite infestations. “That’s the stuff that’s coming seven to 10 years down the line,” Galante says.

Smart irrigation. Precipitation sensors and moisture sensors for soil exist but aren’t wildly used. A new Houzz survey of landscaping trends found that 24 percent of homeowners doing an outdoor remodeling project were installing motion-sensitive lighting, but only 8 percent of respondents were adding precipitation-sensitive irrigation systems, which shuts off the sprinkler system when it rains, and only 2 percent were adding smartphone connected plant sensors.

Progress Updates

Visionary Homes continues to be busy with projects around Central Oregon. 3483 Denali Lane, in the Awbrey Park neighborhood on Awbrey Butte, is furnished and listed with Cascade Sotheby’s. It is a contemporary 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath home with a spacious open floor plan. Pictures of the home can be found here.

The project on Tyler Road in Bend OR is coming along with the lower foundation in place and waterproofed, the well finishing up, and the backfill getting ready to begin for the upper foundation construction. This will be a great project to follow.

Visionary Homes is waiting on Permits to start the next two custom home projects in Tetherow and Awbrey Butte, and anticipate breaking ground in July. The Tetherow project has a mix of modern and traditional exterior features. A rendering of the project can be found here. The Awbrey Butte Custom Home has a Prairie style exterior with low sloping rooflines. A rendering of the project can be found here.

After completing one remodel project in Terrebonne, Visionary Homes is working on another remodel project, in the Widgi Creek Neighborhood of Bend OR.