Magazine article Sunset

The Future Is Here: We Show You How to Up Your Home's IQ in 10 Steps

Magazine article Sunset

The Future Is Here: We Show You How to Up Your Home's IQ in 10 Steps

Article excerpt

If you're feeling outsmarted by smart-home technology these days, you're not alone. While the Internet of Things is intended to simplify life, the vast number of options can be intimidating. We get it: In fact, we're currently hard at work designing what we're calling the Sunset Smart Cottage, a high-tech, high-design space we'll be revealing at this year's Celebration Weekend in Sonoma. From life-changing gadgets to clever decor solutions, here are some of the most genius discoveries we've made so far.

BEFORE

1 SIGN ON FOR A MAKEOVER

A truly smart home starts with good design--and a newish crop of virtual decorating sites make that a possibility for almost anyone. These budget-friendly services will match you up with an interior designer who will tackle your problem rooms by offering 3-D renderings and product recommendations. For the Sunset Smart Cottage, we're working with Ashley Redmond of San Francisco-based Decorist. Plans start at $299; decorist.com.

Caption: ASHLEY REDMOND OF DECORIST OUR COTTAGE FLOOR PLAN

2 CREATE A COMMAND CENTRAL

If you dream of a house that will anticipate your every need, start by choosing your smart hub. For many people, the Nest is the gateway drug into home tech; its thermostat, smoke and carbon-monoxide alarm, and security cameras are easy enough for a DIYer to install, and it works with 100s of other smart products. If the prospect of any kind of installation makes your palms sweat, consider the Vivint Smart Home system. This complete security setup is also compatible with other devices--and professional installation is included. Nest thermostat, $249; smoke detector, $99; and indoor or outdoor security cameras, $199 each; nest.com. Vivint Smart Home system, prices vary; vivint.com.

Caption: NEST THERMOSTAT

3 MAKE IT HACKPROOF

Passwords may not be the sexiest things in the tech world, but setting a strong one is vital to your privacy since most smart products connect to Wi-Fi. Be sure your router's network name doesn't use your name or address. Then, set a password that's a long, preferably random combination of numbers and letters.

4 HIRE AN ASSISTANT

Siri and Alexa are becoming household names for good reason. In the world of voice-controlled assistants, Amazon Echo was first on the market and it shows, with impressive "skills" that range from coaching you through a workout to controlling smart lights. But Google Home is catching up fast, with a stylish, customizable exterior to boot. For HomeKit, no extra speaker is required--only your iPhone. Amazon Echo, $179; amazon.com/echo. Google Home, $ 129; madeby.goog/e. com/home. HomeKit, apple.com/ios/home.

Caption: AMAZON ECHO

5 GET PEACE OF MIND

Prone to forgetfulness (or paranoia)? With the August Smart Lock, you can make sure your door is locked even when you're in the middle of a meeting. Add on a tricked-out doorbell like the models from Ring or SkyBell, and you can virtually tell the mailman he can leave the package at the door. August Smart Lock, $229; august.com. Ring Video Doorbell, $199; ring.com. SkyBell, $199; skybell.com.

Caption: SKYBELL

Caption: AUGUST SMART LOCK

6 SET THE MOOD

Smart lights go way beyond clap on. Connected LED bulbs emit light that mimics the sun to help you wake up in the morning and shift to a warmer, calmer hue to help you fall asleep at night. …

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