September 2011

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live at home A New Nest with Resource Robin Tag along on a journey to build a smarter home, locally By Robin Pharo Month 6: Integrating Technology Incorporating technology into the House of the Future is one of our design goals. But the question is always this: How can we use it in a wise manner and be able to upgrade the technology as it changes? Sure, it's cool to be able to control the house with a computer, but will that method become obsolete? To tackle this problem, we're looking into how we can make the technology we use today easy to upgrade in the future. We started with cell phones because of the relatively low cost and ability to upgrade and transfer content, including technology applications, to a newer model. Today I will be able to run the home from my iPad or iPhone—includ- ing playing all of my audio/video, controlling my heating, or even how much electricity the house is using— and I can do this wherever I am in the world! Unbelievable. Room for More Their portrayal in slapstick comedy and cartoons always elicits a laugh: A goofy character gets flipped up, arms and legs flailing, as a Murphy bed closes into the wall, trapping the character. Thankfully it's a far cry from reality—and these days Murphy beds are making a comeback. Invented in 1900 by William L. Murphy, a man who lived in a tiny one-room apart- ment with his wife, modern Murphy beds are trendy, functional and offer home- owners a smart way to expand living space. At Madison's California Closets, co-owner and designer Lindsay Schneider is seeing an increase in demand from local homeown- ers looking to make existing rooms serve more than one purpose. Today's popular Murphy beds are also combined into wall units that offer storage aplenty—from drawers to open shelving—for a built-in look that screams high style. Whether it's a 22 BRAVA Magazine September 2011 Murphy beds make a trendy (and space-saving) resurgence By Sammy Luterbach home office, living room or basement that needs to double as a guest room, a Murphy bed offers a space-saving way to do it all. The trend: Murphy beds are a creative and functional way of using wall space to store items vertically instead of the space-steal- ing horizontal bed, drawers, and shelving we are accustomed to. Best for: Small spaces that need to function as multiple rooms, particularly in condos and combination office/guest rooms. Cost: Look to spend somewhere in the $3,000 (and up) range for both the bed and storage/shelving unit. Where to go: California Closets, 5380 King James Way, Madison; (608) 278-8383 or But what about when these items become yesterday's news? We're work- ing to set up the house up in a way that makes sense for today's accessible, affordable technology (we specifically chose not to use any cutting-edge tech- nology unavailable in the general retail market because it's prohibitively expen- sive) and added wiring features that we believe will be used in the future. Another piece of planning for the future of the home was to make the structure more flexible itself, so if there is a technology change it is easy to incorporate. We asked ourselves the "what ifs" and then tried to find solutions. One of our solutions is to leave the floor joists open, so if needed we can pull new wiring or add new technologies without impacting the aesthetics of the space. This is our way of bringing the House of the Future truly into the future. Robin Pharo is a green building consultant and president of Healthy Homes, Treysta Group and Resource Robin. Follow the House of the Future at Photos courtesy of California Closets

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