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.

Security

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.

Lighting
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.

Cameras
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

Thermostats
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.

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

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.

Rustic Elegance – New Custom Home in Traverse City - featured image

The homeowners of this new custom home in Traverse City weren’t aware of the term “Parkitecture.” It’s a unique term used to describe homes that have been designed and built patterned after National Parks. “Parkitecture” homes are true to the manner of the environment, using materials that are rustic and natural, with interiors that utilize an abundance of natural timbers. This seems to be the perfect description of this three-story home built two miles west of Traverse City on the highest, most densely tree-covered hilltop, also known as Radio Hill. “From the top floor looking out, the trees are so close you feel as if you are in them,” share the homeowners.

The home, which appears smaller than it actually is, integrates linear elegance, rustic flavor and European flair. The homeowner shares, “Most people come in and are surprised at how the space, totaling 5,000 square feet, is used.”

Builder Chris Mason, of Lakeshore Custom Homes, describes the home as “rustic elegance.” Copper gutters, a custom-domed entry door, and log railings accented with iron detailing, showcase the exterior elegance.

After extensive travels in Europe and developing a fondness for the architectural interest of domed entrance doors, it became a must for this country dream home.

The homeowner and his father built the door which layers top and bottom Douglas fir over ¾-inch plywood. A heavy-duty door jamb was built to match. The rivets were purchased from a hardware store in Austria.

The challenge of this spectacular site, with its five acres of pines and hardwoods, was the driveway and maintaining as many as trees as possible. The drive takes a 90-degree turn at the bottom of the hill. To make the drive safe and user-friendly during the winter months when it is covered with ice and snow, a two track was added as a safety measure at the curve to prevent any slide-offs.

The owners give Mason credit as a master builder and master craftsman. They boast the fact he is on the building site every day, and adapts easily to making the unexpected changes that were required in using unique building materials. For example, there were no specs for the rough sawn cedar timbers and beams. The homeowners described what they wanted and Mason was able to create, to a tee, what they described.

Because the lower level ash timbers didn’t have the manufacturer’s prefabricated stamp required by law to meet building requirements, the building inspector wouldn’t give his approval. An engineer’s approval was needed for them to pass inspection. “He told us the timbers would hold up three houses the same size,” shares the homeowner.

The respect for nature is also displayed in the home’s wood floor, which is constructed of simple-styled maple boards hand nailed with exposed square head nails, along with its pine and cedar walls, and ceilings.

According to Mason, the finished product has an element of surprise and a grand flourish of style. “I have built rustic homes and elegant homes, but this is the first to combine elements of both styles. I have to say, it worked amazingly well.

Lakeshore Custom Homes is proud to be your Traverse City custom home builder.

Delightful Open Kitchen Shelving Ideas - featured image

Open shelving in kitchens, most often stirs up one of two reactions: You either like or dislike them. We think that the open shelving we did for the owners of a Lake Michigan home turned out quite extraordinary. We can’t take all the credit however, as the homeowner beautifully organized the shelves. The result is visually appealing as you can see. The combination of warm white cabinets and shelves with natural wood counter tops give the kitchen an organic, cottage-like feel. The entire space exudes warmth and hospitality.

The reasons to like open-shelving is apparent. Open shelves provide an opportunity for one to display dishes and collectibles. They are a great design element that can make a room look and feel bigger. Some may say that open shelves tend to give a European flair to the room. They can be functional by eliminating the need to open and close doors as everything is clearly within sight and reach. People who like open shelves may find the necessity of keeping them tidy as an incentive rather than a deterrent. People who do not like the idea of open shelves normally loathe the idea, feeling that the necessity to keep them organized and clean is the source of their disdain. The visual effect of open shelves may also be seen as clutter rather than art to them. There are many open kitchen shelving ideas out their, you might just like it.

What side of the open kitchen shelving debate do you fall on?

Lakeshore Custom Homes is all about improving your quality of life. We genuinely care about people and our community. We have integrity. We specialize in building quality custom homes and home remodeling projects. If you are looking for a reputable custom home builder, please contact me at Lakeshore Custom Homes (231) 642-0724.