Motorization has taken home technology mainstream. By this, I mean that technologies that you might have never considered adding to your house can suddenly make sense when they can be motorized to hide away when they aren’t in use and reveal themselves only when you need them. Items like video projectors can really clash with a traditional family room decor, so motorized lifts offer a way (as long as there is enough room above the ceiling), to hide it so your family room can function as a family room then press a button to command the lift to lower the projector into position when you’d like to watch a movie. However, the sky is the limit when it comes to motorization. Many manufacturers offer prefabricated lifts for projectors and TV, but lifts can also be customized for unique applications. Be sure to also check out the websites of Future Automation, Auton, Chief, and Inca for other ideas, and consider these popular motorization setups when designing technology into your home.
1. A TV mount equipped with an arm that moves.
You’d love to be able to see the TV in the family room more easily while you whip up a snack in the kitchen, but it’s twisted just a little too far to the right. By placing it on a motorized arm that attaches to the wall, you can swivel the TV on command from a remote to face your direction. Similarly, the arm can extend the TV from the wall for a better view then retract it back into place when you’re finished watching it.
2. A credenza fitted with a lift that raises a TV up into view.
Nothing beats watching TV in bed, but if you’re not a fan of clutter up your master suite with technology, a bedroom-based display probably clashes with your aesthetic preferences. By having a motorized lift installed inside a credenza at the foot of your bed—or anywhere else for that matter—the TV stays hidden inside until you hit the Play button to signal the lift to raise the TV to the perfect viewing height.
3. A motorized cabinet in the kitchen.
Would you like to be able to wipe away the coffee maker, the toaster, and other small appliances so your kitchen countertop looks tidier? If you’re willing to sacrifice some cupboard space, a motorized storage area for your countertop clutter can be designed to lower the items completely out of sight then ascend them back onto the countertop when you need them.
4. Doors and windows that open and close on command.
Skylights and huge banks of sliding glass doors can be a real pain to deal with, making motorized openers extremely appealing as a mode of operation. Instead of having to manually crank open a hard-to-reach skylight, you can press a button on a wall-mounted keypad or remote to do the job in a fraction of the time. And, rather than struggle to push open heavy doors, you can do the same button-press trick without spilling an ounce of your drink.
5. Window treatments that adjust automatically.
There are a couple reasons why attaching drapes, shades, and blinds to motorized rollers and tracks is a good idea: One, it makes moving them a cinch, and two, it precludes the need for unsightly pull cords. Manufacturers including Lutron, Crestron, QMotion, Hunter Douglas, and MechoSystems, offer a variety of options (motorized hardware and fabrics) that can fit nearly any size or shape of window.
6. Projectors and screens that roll up into the ceiling.
You may not have a spare room available to turn into a home theater, but doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck. Available are motorized assemblies that can roll a video projector and projection screen above the ceiling when they aren’t being used, allowing you to maintain the look and feel of your family room, den, or wherever else you want to put the gear. Only at the touch of a button will the screen and projector descend. Bam! You’ve created a room with dual functions.