Interiors & Design

Smart Home Trends Shaping Design for 2020 and Beyond

From systems that can learn our preferences, to those that make life more convenient—today’s smart-home trends are more integrated, more intelligent, and more stylish than ever

Connected entertainment, security, and climate systems have become the cornerstone of high-spec residences, as “smart” has become synonymous with luxury. The number of such devices has doubled since 2015 and is set to reach 75 billion by 2025, according to a report by iProperty Management. So, what are the next wave of luxury smart-home devices and systems set to make our properties work harder? Read on for the cutting-edge trends of 2020 and beyond, including an exciting reveal from technology fair CES 2020 in Las Vegas.

Invisible Charging

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Messy wires and fiddly batteries are a thing of the past with invisible infrared charging from Wi-Charge.

With the growing number of smart devices comes a drawback: the wires and batteries needed to charge them can be the bane of beautiful homes. Enter the emerging technology for wireless charging, from providers like Wi-Charge. Its R1 ultra-compact chargers plug into light or power sockets, or the technology can be embedded directly into devices by partnering brands. It powers with pinpoint accuracy at 30-foot (9 m) range via infrared beams, so charging is literally of sight, out of mind.

The TV of the Future

The winner of a CES 2019 Innovation award, LG’s forthcoming Signature OLED TV R is a futuristic voice-control set that’s so much more than a television. It’s a dashboard with Google Assistant and Alexa built-in, and five other modes including music, mood, and lighting. The feature that really sets it apart is the hidden 65-inch (165 cm) roll-out screen which can turn your room into a home theater and shrink to Line View mode, a compact bar, so you can enjoy the panorama while you play music or check the weather.

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Line View mode allows this LG OLED TV R to shrink down to a compact bar when playing music and expand to a movie screen at the touch of a button.

More Intuitive Kitchens

The latest in smart kitchen fit-outs offer hidden technology and learning capabilities to make cooking and entertaining more intuitive. Italian brands Pedini and Tipic—which has a partnership with Offmat—have developed AI features that respond to voice and gesture respectively. You can ask the Hi Pedini app to change mood and lighting, open cupboards, and even update you on what you need to add to your grocery order. The Tulèr concept kitchen has integrated modular technology, so you can open drawers or activate countertop scales with just the brush of a hand. From Moen, the U smart faucet is the first of its kind: a hands-free faucet that can dispense as little as a tablespoon of water, at the desired temperature.

Homes that Set the Mood

Brad Russell of Parks Associates predicts that ambient voice control for the entire property will be a growing trend for luxury homes in 2020. Residences with up to 1,000 built-in devices will be able to orchestrate all systems as one by using Savant or Crestron Home systems. Ask Savant’s Multistat control to call up custom in-app “scenes,” like “relax” to simultaneously dim the lights, lower the shades, cue your chosen Sonos playlist, and light your gas fireplace all at once, or hit “goodnight” to shut down your whole house.

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The U smart faucet from Moen can dispense as little as a tablespoon of water and is the first of its kind.

AI Personal Assistants

The most exciting reveal from CES 2020, the consumer technology fair that took place in Las Vegas in early January this year, was Samsung’s tennis ball-shaped robot Ballie. This smart-voice assistant is capable of making real-time decisions based on its owner’s mood and previous requests, such as taking a picture when the lighting is good, or cleaning up dog mess before it is asked to do so.

Elsewhere and already on the market, voice assistant Josh.ai uses natural language processing, which means it has the potential over time to predict behaviors and make complex decisions. “A truly smart home needs to utilize machine learning to improve and personalize based on the owner’s preferences,” explains Parks Associates CEO Alex Capecelatro. “We’re working to bring about a future where your home is predictive, helps improve your sleep and eating habits, makes sure you don’t forget something, and overall helps you to feel more content and at peace when behind closed doors.”

Personalized Security

Thirty-five percent of US broadband households faced a data security problem in 2019, according to Parks Associates, which included the hacking of smart doorbells and other security devices. So, systems that identify individual family members have obvious benefits. Most “biometric” security systems are by commercial brands, but more consumer solutions are coming to the market. For example, Kwikset has just launched the Halo Touch fingerprint-enabled lock, which needs just your digit to give you access and can hold as many as 100 profiles from 50 users.

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AI personal assistants such as Josh.ai are becoming increasingly adaptable, and their minimalist design fits in perfectly with any style of decor.

Self-Sustaining Smart Homes

Homeowners value energy efficiency more than ever. “With the growth of zero energy homes and increased connectivity in the home, there’s an opportunity to create a holistic home energy management system,” explains Chris O’Dell from Parks Associates. This is an area already tapped by S²A Modular Advanced Construction, whose Green Lux home is billed as “the first electrically self-sustaining, custom luxury home.” With tailor-made features, high-end materials, and smart-connected living, it has the style to match its high-tech spec, and even has the potential to produce “surplus energy income” by overproducing electricity, which could—in theory—be sold back to the grid.

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Personal trainer unavailable at short notice? Peloton’s new app for Amazon Fire allows you to connect with personal trainers and classes all over the world at a time that suits you.

The Virtual Reality Home Gym

For those with new year fitness and wellness goals, it’s the perfect time to explore the latest smart exercise devices. NordicTrack’s X32i treadmill can reach an incline of up to 40 percent and offers on-demand class settings or virtual trails in locations around the world. A personal trainer on the other side of the screen will auto-adjust variables like speed and push you towards your goals. For yoga or meditation fans, fitness platform Peloton’s new app for Amazon Fire enables users to join interactive classes from elite trainers in any room with a smart TV.

What is the future for our connected homes? The ultimate promise is devices and appliances able to adapt to the behavior and preferences of a whole family and their network. “As various artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics technologies mature, we will move towards a smart-home experience that is increasingly more personalized, predictive, and proactive,” says O’Dell. “These technologies will allow an experience that identify individual household members and tailor responses with minimal engagement.” While seemingly small, these new technological leaps should allow for big changes to everyday lifestyle and convenience in the connected home.

On the Market

Perfect Pied-à-Terre at One57 in New York, New York

Residence 37A is a one-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom apartment on a high floor of One57, a luxury residential tower designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc. The Thomas Juul-Hansen-designed interiors are fitted with smart-home technology and top-of-the-line finishes.

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc’s One57 tower on Manhattan’s Billionaire’s Row is the tony setting for Residence 37A. This high-floor one-and-a-half-bathroom apartment features 11-foot-high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows, which frame panoramic views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline. The Thomas Juul-Hansen-designed interiors include smart-home technology, motorized shades, custom-designed hardware and light fixtures, and radiant-heated floors. With its prime location on Manhattan’s Billionaire’s Row, this is the perfect pied-à-terre.

Lake Norman Waterfront Estate in Denver, North Carolina

Old World charm and cutting-edge technology converge at this meticulously crafted manor house on the shores of Lake Norman. The high-tech features include a smart-home system and outdoor media lounge. A private helipad adds another level of luxury.

This private, gated estate occupies a prime 2.5-acre setting on Lake Norman in Denver, North Carolina. The 7,289-square-foot manor house is appointed with reclaimed wood beams and floors, custom-designed fireplaces, and walls of windows to take in 180-degree vistas of the lake. The high-tech features include home automation and an outdoor screening area with retractable blinds and built-in heaters. The amenities are outstanding: Interior highlights include the master suite with upstairs fitness loft, the two-story wine grotto, and the private club-style lounge with humidor, antique bar, and billiards table. The grounds are a lakeside haven with a pool and spa, loggia with outdoor kitchen, pier with sundeck, and a private helipad.

Original article by Hayley Spencer (January 2020)
Lifestyle journalist and editor who has written for The Telegraph and fashion magazine Porter

Updated by Lucy Carsen (April 2020)
Christie’s International Real Estate