It’s no surprise that wellness in the home is getting a lot of attention right now in both the single and multifamily homebuilding market. Indoor air quality technology most notably has taken center stage this year, but there are many new applications to control the ambient environment of a home and can contribute to a higher quality of life for the occupants. A well-designed tech home can reduce stress, increase your well-being and make you more productive.
We talked to Sean Weiner, CTO of Bravas, and Jay Jenkins, President of Jenkins Baer Associates about the five pillars of a “well home” to get some ideas on how builders can apply wellness tech seamlessly into their client’s custom design.
Temperature, humidity and of course clean air is paramount in a well home as this attributes so much to the physical health and wellbeing of the homeowner. “We know this is important and makes for a comfortable healthy environment”, says Weiner, “but how do you do it effectively?”. In larger homes with multiple heating and cooling zones, you can have an integrated climate control system that does all the work and keeps homeowners from having to run around adjusting thermostats. How a room feels is only noticeable when it is uncomfortable, so when the home’s climate is well controlled it stays off of the owner’s mind and saves money on bills.
Natural Light & Living
People are spending 90% of their time indoors and without natural lighting, this can lead to health issues. Incorporating outdoor spaces and lighting to bring nature back into the home can help improve sleep patterns and mental wellbeing by reducing anxiety and depression . Windows and skylights with motorized shades allow for beautiful views but also protects the room or furniture from harsh lighting.
Another great feature you can add are circadian or human-centric lighting. These LED lights can change brightness and color temperature depending on the time of day and activity that occurs. Bringing the light color from outside in and making windows bigger is not only beautiful but can have an impact on the body’s melatonin levels that prepare you for sleeping, waking and productive energy.
There are obvious technologies, like home security systems, that make the homeowner feel safe but there are other conveniences that contribute to peace-of-mind. The ability to interact with your home when you are away–to turn on lights, open and close shades, or lock or unlock a door–makes a huge difference in feeling assured everything will be in order when you return.
Sound and Silence
Bringing Calming sounds into the home as well as incorporating acoustic treatments to reduce noise for a quieter space and having quiet spaces to relax has become just as important as having a home theater system that performs at the highest level.” explains Weiner.
The concept of “flex rooms” migrated from the open concept idea to allow for simultaneous multi-playing. “The concept of family living has become much more important in the market so that the whole family can be together”, says Jenkins. “Some may be watching a movie, while some may be in the back of the room chit-chatting– you want to design the space to allow for all of these different activities.” Consider acoustic absorbing materials for these spaces to keep sound from bouncing all over the room.
With all of the technology, there is a tendency to ignore aesthetic needs. Using cabinetry or well-placed architectural elements like crown molding or wall recesses to hide away wires, motors, or plastic boxes really addresses that seamless blend of technology being a part of our lives without taking center stage. “When you think about a home and the way you live and move through a space, a cluttered environment isn’t appealing to anyone,” says Weiner. “People are more focused on a streamlined and quiet visual environment. You want it to be subtle and functional but not the focal point.” agrees Jenkins.
When done well, technology can work seamlessly into a home to improve the quality of life. It’s easy for builders to sell tech when you talk about each space and what the homeowner really wants and needs. “You have to sit a client down and think about what it is going to look like, how is it going to feel when I am in that space and how can technology make it more comfortable and convenient.” says Weiner.
Weiner and Jenkins have been working together for many years bringing technology and beautiful design together on luxury projects. A key point they make for builders who want to make tech work seamlessly in a home is to by start the conversation early with designers and architects. Having a knowledgeable team is an important step in bringing high-quality function in an aesthetically pleasing. Together they can create a holistic and personalized wellness environment that is truly better living.
Watch Sean Weiner and Jay Jenkins’ session: Lux Idea Bank: Wellness & Quality of Life Applications
Written by Erin Chartier