You tricked out the C. Wonder dressing rooms with touch screens that adjust lighting and music. I want that!
You can do it—even in a rental apartment. Get an electrician to replace your switches with Lutron RadioRA wireless dimmers. Then fire up Lutron’s iPad app and, for $150 per switch, you have iPad-controlled lighting.
What would you do differently for a $1 million home?
There are just more devices. Say you have a six-story townhouse and want music and TVs in every room, along with climate control, security, and intercoms. We would integrate everything and create a single app to manage them.
What’s the basic approach to wiring an apartment?
Think about what devices you want now, and try to anticipate what you’ll want in the future. If you’re not sure, run networking cable. It’s extremely flexible and can send basically any kind of data.
How can renters hide unsightly wires?
For now, use super-flat taper wire from Home Depot. There are, however, some new technologies that are still being developed, like conductive paint. You’ll literally be able to paint wires onto the wall. It’s still several years away from being available, but I’ve seen it. It’s very cool.
When should a professional be called in?
When you need to network disparate systems together.
And those are connected through Wi-Fi, so what Internet provider do you find most reliable in the city?
If you’re in a Verizon Fios service area for Internet, sign up for it. Time Warner now has faster wideband. For those who can spend serious money, get both services and then put in a load-balancing router.
What’s the simplest way to stream video content to the television?
Apple TV is a no-brainer. It easily pushes content from your IOS devices to your TV through AirPlay. It’s $99, has movies on demand, and can sync with Netflix. Unless you’re a big sports person, you don’t need cable.
Many people play music through their junky computer speakers. Got a better idea?
Bowers & Wilkins’s multimedia MM-1s are serious—you’ll look around to see where the subwoofer is hidden. My favorite by far is Sonos. The Play:3 all-in-one speaker and player is $299. Connect it, download their app, and then you can access subscription music services like Rhapsody or Spotify and control it all from any device.
Besides conductive paint, what else does the future hold?
Everything will be networked. They’re already shipping Sub-Zeros and other appliances with Internet interfaces. It’s less sexy than we’d envisioned—my refrigerator telling me there’s no milk in the fridge—but it’s all about being energy-efficient and able to self-repair.
Upgrade To a Sonos Music Player
“The sound quality is amazing, and you can easily install it yourself.”
Illustration by Kate Francis