Planning for High Tech
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Planning for High Tech


Planning for High Tech

By Sherry Moeller

GTM Architects shares some of the latest technology when designing a new custom home

GTM Architects Custom Home with Motorized Blinds
Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Spring is nearly here! And so are home renovations… If you are considering making your home more tech-oriented, make sure to read the advice GTM Architects gave to John Eric Home in our most recent issue…

When planning a new custom home, home automation and high-tech controls are usually part of the initial conversations between architects and homeowners. “We discuss lighting controls, motorized shades, home automation, and home security with clients,” says Luke Olson, senior associate at GTM Architects, “These can be installed throughout the house or in specific rooms.”

The key is to plan ahead and know the homeowners’ must-have technology requests. Doug Roberts, senior associate at GTM Architects, says systems for iPads and phones that control lighting, temperature, audio/video, security, and shades are among the popular high-tech features. Homeowners may also want to discuss CAT wiring, elevators, heated flooring, and solar.

Mark Kaufman, principal at GTM Architects, agrees that a centralized home control system for lighting, speakers, HVAC, and security is what homeowners often request when designing a custom home. Read more about the high-tech elements these architects are adding to homes today.

Whole House Automation/Security

“For home automation, home security, and lighting controls, we’ll typically refer the clients to a low voltage consultant and then from there, we just need to plan for a well-ventilated dedicated closet for the equipment rack,” Olson says. “I’ve seen Control4 used for home automation, while Sonos is the standard for whole house audio,” Olson adds. Lutron is often used for lighting controls.

GTM Architects Custom Home with Temperature-controlled Wine Room
Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg


“This might not be as flashy or new, but zoning your HVAC system to provide customized heating and cooling, both for comfort and energy efficiency, is something we often recommend to clients,” says Olson. “It is usually tied into the rest of the home automation via a smart thermostat and controlled from your phone or tablet via an app. It’s basically standard for any of our new custom homes.” If the homeowners are installing a wine room, they might have to consider a dedicated HVAC system, too.


“Most of the tech here is in the water closet with electronic bidets that have memory for different users, electronic thermostat-controlled radiant floor heat, speakers, heated shower floor and bench, and films on shower doors that change from translucent to transparent with a switch,” says Kaufman.

GTM Architects Custom Home with Motorized Blinds and Screens
photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Window Treatments

“We’ll ask about motorized shades/blinds/screens pretty early on as we often need to plan for them in the framing of the house,” says Olson. For motorized blinds, Olson says he often uses Lutron or Hunter Douglas, but has also started using J Geiger, as well as motorized screens by Phantom Screens or Fenetex.


Among the outdoor tech items are speakers, mechanized screens, electric heaters, solar panels with metering to track savings and production, and light sensors controlling sunshades, says Kaufman, who also mentioned pergolas with mechanical louvers that can adjust throughout the day.


Car lifts are a recent request by homeowners, says Olson. Plus, golf simulators are on the rise. “We’ve done three projects with these,” he adds. If incorporating a golf simulator in a new home, planning needs to occur early in the design process to provide enough clearance and ceiling height for the system.