Flat screens: Raise your home’s IQ

For most of us, a successfully mounted flat-screen is a serious home improvement worthy of a Saturday afternoon gloat session. Wait, you hid the wires? Watch your back, Ty Pennington!

But some homeowners want dwellings as sleek and user-friendly as their iPhones — and thankfully, there are professionals for that. We checked in with Eric Rymshaw of Fury Design and Jason Hendrie from Creative Systems — part of the interior design and tech team behind a new “smart condo” at the superposh 1706 Rittenhouse Square Street building — for some of the fanciest tricks of their trade.

Custom options for custom controls

“Clients want various degrees of technology. What’s nice about the smart homes is there are options for everyone,” says Rymshaw. Let’s just say budget or space wasn’t an issue with the 4,000-square-foot single-floor condo at 1706, which the owners essentially purchased as a blank-slate shell. In addition to “standard” features such as lighting, AC and heating that can be controlled with in-home touch-screens or remotely via Internet, an iPod dock allows music and movie playlists to be shared throughout the home. As for the owner’s dogs, they appreciate the TVs being programmed to turn on for a little afternoon entertainment.

A smooth, sleek look

“What’s amazing is that this looks like a normal house. You don’t see this system inside the walls — it’s not like there’s a computer room somewhere,” says Rymshaw. Far from it: A control system by Crestron Electronics operates by touch-screen, eliminating the need for the multiple switches usually needed for complex lighting and entertainment systems.

Energy efficiency

In addition to the obvious allure of having your favorite album on when you come home from a long day, smart homes can also make it easier to manage energy usage. At 1706, even the window dressings pitch in. “The shades open and close automatically based on where the sun is,” says Hendrie. “Of course, leaving some of them open so the dogs have a view.”

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