My First TecHome: Controlled Lighting Lessons and the Power of Choice

A project by Hardwick General Contracting.A project by Hardwick General Contracting.

From lighting control to fully-automated platforms, Greg Hardwick’s custom homes have certainly evolved over the past eight years.  

Every home is different, of course. In custom homebuilding there are no models or specs, so the ultimate product boils down to whatever the client is looking to accomplish. In the early 2010s, one of Hardwick’s clients asked him to use controlled lighting in the home.

It’s a move that ended up becoming a monumental learning experience and growth opportunity for the president and owner of Hardwick General Contracting, strongly influencing the future choices made within his company.

MORE IN THE “MY FIRST TECHOME” SERIES:

From Wired to Wireless: Shawn Evenhaim, California Home Builders

From Automation Standards to iPads as Standard: Chad Williams, Pepper Viner Homes

Custom Home with “All the Bells and Whistles”: Chris Tennant, Mt. Lincoln Construction

Tackling Immediacy to Stay on the Cutting Edge: Jeff Hansell, Swiftwater Custom Homes

Greg Hardwick (Photo by Orlando Business Journal)
Greg Hardwick (Photo by Orlando Business Journal)

Learning from Past Mistakes

Incidentally, this wasn’t Hardwick’s first experience with controlled lighting. His first encounter with the technology involved the installation of what Hardwick deems a “flavor of the month” company, a choice that only resulted in headaches for the homeowner.

“Literally, within a year, the buttons were falling off of keypads,” says Hardwick. “These days, I feel like we’ve weeded out, and the industry has weeded out, those types of companies. We’ve now identified those top-tier companies with products that are going to be durable through normal residential use.”  

One year later, Hardwick found himself working with a controlled lighting system that has remained his tried-and-true choice—Lutron Electronics. As Hardwick continues to expand his connected offerings in the home, he seeks other manufacturers that will stand the test of time with high quality components.

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Choosing the Right Products 

Hardwick cites an approach that stresses “systematic thinking and strong focus on the connected devices being installed.” First and foremost, he wants to make sure the technology being used is something that the client both desires and is educated on. Secondly, it needs to be something he can offer to these clients with conviction.

Hardwick's team in action on a custom build.
Hardwick’s team in action on a custom build.

“Now that we’ve done this and been around the block a couple times, we are able to sell and discuss with more confidence the idea of expanding automated offerings,” says Hardwick, who now includes connected and controlled technologies such as shades, drapery tracks and showers.  

Hardwick continues to recognize the value of all connected products being added to his arsenal of offerings. He promotes them consistently within his company and has showcased them via show homes, some of which have even won awards.

Additionally, collaboration has become an increasingly important aspect of Hardwick’s trade. He is always verifying—regardless of what technology is being used—that he, the integrator, the electrician and the interior designer are all seeing eye-to-eye.

He concludes, “We are now an active part of home technology in every project, whether it’s a kitchen renovation or a two-million-dollar custom home.

Stay tuned toTecHomeBuilder for an exclusive feature and video tour of Hardwick’s latest project with Lutron, a show home on display at this year’s International Builders’ Show (IBS).

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About The Author

Greg Vellante is a staff writer and multimedia specialist at TecHome Builder, as well as a content coordinator for AE Ventures events. He has over a decade of experience writing for various publications on topics that range from cinema to editorials to home technology. His favorite technologies fall into the A/V and home entertainment realm, and he’s keeping a close eye on the rising trends in robotics and virtual/augmented reality. Greg resides in Boston, holds a degree in Media Studies from Emerson College and pursues screenwriting/filmmaking in his free time.

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