Northern Michigan Smart Homes - featured image

When planning a custom home in Northern Michigan, regardless if it is your primary residence, seasonal, or a weekend “up North” getaway retreat, Smart Homes or Home Automation can make your life a bit easier, more secure, comfortable, and give you peace of mind.

Weather, distance, busy lifestyles, and managing family schedules are all part of living in Northern Michigan. These can sometimes present unique challenges that a Smart Home system can help you manage. Being able to monitor your home’s temperature and environment, controlling lighting, and monitoring the security of your home from anywhere in the world can be convenient and a time saver.

A home automation system can even save help reduce energy costs and may even earn you a discount on your homeowner’s insurance.

Smart Home technology has become affordable and is much more sophisticated, all while being much easier to use!

When planning your new custom home you may wish to consider many of the new Smart Home features. Many of the features mentioned below can be installed individually but a system wide approach can yield more benefits.


Basic home security systems monitor your home against burglars or intruders. Door and window sensors along with motion detectors are typical of most systems but with new technology, your home can be even more secure.

Fire, Smoke, Water, and More.
Protecting your home is more than just deterring thieves. Keeping your home and your family safe also includes monitoring for smoke and fire, carbon monoxide, water and flood detection, and radon gas too.

New smart style detectors can text or email you alerts when smoke or carbon monoxide is detected. Similarly some water sensors can also detect water leaks and automatically shut of the main water supply.  Temperature and humidity can also be monitored as well.

Doors, Deadbolts, and Locks
Have you ever wondered if you closed all the windows and locked every door when you were driving away from your home? Andersen Window and Door VeriLock® security sensors are an optional feature for windows and doors. These discreet sensors allow for remote monitoring with a smartphone app so you can be assured that everything is secure. The VeriLock® sensors work with many different security systems so you won’t have to have a multitude of apps to sort though.

If you shop online and dread having UPS leave your package on the porch, you can add a programable garage door keypad to allow the drive access to your garage. Even better is that you can assign a temporary passcode for each order so that you maintain security. No more sharing a code and having to deal with complex reprograming.  This is also helpful if you need to permit access for anyone else. You can even receive text alerts when the keycode has been used so you know when and who is at your home.

Entry doors can also have keyless PIN pad locks that allow you to set individual codes for each person and send a text message when it is used. This makes it easy to monitor who is coming and going, if your children have arrived home, etc. Individual doors can also have sensors that can track movement through your home.

A home automation system can give you extra security and peace of mind by creating the illusion that your home is occupied while you are away from home. If you are at work, away on vacation, of if your house is a seasonal or getaway home, it will appear to be occupied thereby reducing the chance of intruders.

Being able to control lighting is convenient both while at home as well as remotely.  Outdoor lighting can enhance your security and deter burglars.

Lights can be programmed to turn on and off in a manner that looks natural. Window blinds and shades can be raised or lowered to enhance the “at home” appearance.

Of course being able to turn on lights before you arrive home after dark is both comforting and convenient.

Many home security systems include cameras that allow you to see in live time what is happening at home. With monitoring from inside your home or remotely, they can give you peace of mind knowing who is at your door before opening it. Most cameras have motion detection and night vision and can record activity as well. Some can even alert share video with the police if an intrusion is detected.

Beyond basic home security, cameras can be great for monitoring pets, children, and babysitters. With an intercom or two-way speaker system, you can communicate with them while away from home. This can be especially calming to a nervous pet allowing you to remain in contact during your absence.

Comfort and Convenience

Beyond basic programable thermostat features, newer thermostats can monitor the health of your furnace including diagnostics. Some thermostat displays even have weather radar and forecasts.

Virtual Assistants or Smart Speakers like Amazon Echo (Alexa) or Google Home, allow you to control many of your home’s devices either while away or from the comfort of your favorite recliner. Adjust the lighting, temperature, music, or brew a cup of coffee with a voice command

Home Audio
It used to be when you set up a home audio system, you had wires connecting your audio components to your speakers. The wires often dictated where you could place your speakers. Today you can build a high-quality home audio system without wires. This allows much more freedom in speaker placement and you are not confined to just one room either. New audio systems also allow you to play different music in each room if you wish.

Irrigation for Lawn and Garden
With traditional lawn irrigation systems, they run on a set schedule. With a smart system, you can have a lush lawn and beautiful landscaping and garden by watering as need and not necessarily on a set schedule. Your lawn, flowers, and plants get the precise amount of water when they need it. No more watering your lawn while it is raining.

Home Appliances
Most home appliances are now available with Smart Home Technology. Washers and dryers, refrigerators, stoves, and vacuum cleaners are all available with convenience and time saving features.

Why waste time waiting on laundry? Get text alerts when your wash is done. Same when your laundry is ready to come out of the dryer. How about an oven that can let you know how much longer until your roast is ready while you’re relaxing on the patio or dock?

Some refrigerators can send you suggested shopping lists. You can remotely control the temperature and get alerts if the temperature rises too warm.

Increasingly popular is furniture with USB ports, and charging for your phone, but have you considered a cooler coffee table? No more running to the kitchen for a beverage. They do however require some planning to accommodate electrical outlets.

Robotic vacuum cleaners like Roomba or Neato can keep your floors tidy while you’re away.

Virtual Home Gym
Virtual home gyms have taken off due to the pandemic. The Peloton stationary bicycle along with Echelon and Zwift have led the way. You aren’t limited to cycling however, there are virtual coaching systems for weightlifting, yoga, and other workouts. Tempo Studio and Mirror are two popular options.

Smart mattresses that can monitor your quality of sleep, automatically adjust your room temperature while you are asleep, and even waken you with a gentle vibration are now available. Lighting options for automatic dimming and filtering of blue light are popular.

Are you ready to make your custom dream home a reality?

Contact us today to make an appointment to discuss your home building plans. We’ll be with you every step of the way to guide you to the perfect home.