Modern Tech Upgrade in Classic 1950s Home

Owners preserve their home’s 1950s style while adding technology of today.


High-tech amenities can easily take over the aesthetic of a home. But not in this remodeled house, built sometime in the 1950s. The owners chose their technology carefully and enlisted the help of custom design and installation firm Audio Video Excellence, Birmingham, Ala., to blend keypads, TVs, speakers and other electronics seamlessly into the architecture.

The incorporation of a home automation system from Savant wiped out much of the “wall acne” that may have otherwise pockmarked many of the walls of the house, according to AVE’s Mary Petty. Only a few Lutron keypads, slim and color matched to the wall surface, are mounted to the walls to enable the homeowners to quickly turn on and off the lights as they enter and leave a room; for everything else, they use the Savant app on their iPhones and iPads. From the screen of their mobile devices they can regulate thermostats, move motorized shades up and down and operate audio and video equipment. A few other tricks for downplaying the appearance of technology in this house:

• Matching the ceiling speakers to the color of the ceiling surface.

• Disguising flat-panel TVs as artwork. The ArtScreen system from Vutec covers the screen with canvas artwork the retracts into the frame when the owners press a button.

• Hiding motorized rollers for the window shades by concealing them behind custom valances.

• Minimizing the amount of buttons needed to operate electronic devices by automating several functions. For example, when the TV is turned on the overhead lights turn off for a better viewing experience.

More Info: 9 Things to Consider in a Home Control System


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