The Better Homes and Gardens Innovation Home
Home innovation should solve real-life problems and make life better, focusing on the people, not simply the systems, inside. To demonstrate, we decided to build, furnish, and tech out our ideal house: the BHG Innovation Home. Check out these useful and accessible products and ideas.
Everything In This Slideshow
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At Your Fingertips
Automated products for the home are becoming more common at the places you already shop. Home centers, appliance stores, and electronics stores carry all kinds of smart gizmos at all prices. The best part is you’ve got control literally in the palm of your hand. Whether you’re using a remote or an app on your smartphone, you can instantly communicate with your door locks, window coverings, thermostat, lightbulbs, and more.
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Classic elements get a fresh take -- from a bold blue front door and black mullioned windows to a porch with modern lines. Fiber cement siding and architectural trim from James Hardie stand up to extreme cold and heat. The siding’s smooth factory finish has a modern feel and is a clean backdrop for standing-seam metal roof accents from McElroy Metal.
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Good for Gathering
The great-room is arranged for catching up with friends and for family movie night. The Heat & Glo gas fireplace is operated by remote control and has instant ignition to cut down on gas usage. The web-connected TV from LG uses OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology and features a curved screen designed to provide the best possible picture.
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Wall-to-wall floating walnut shelves on both sides of the fireplace offer the same usefulness as traditional built-ins but have a higher style score. French doors lead to the master suite.
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The kitchen features custom cabinets from Plain & Fancy, including a raised walnut buffet built on to the end of the blue island and a freestanding dish hutch. Every bit of energy savings and convenience counts: The LG refrigerator reduces air loss with a special, see-through compartment; no more holding the door open. And cabinets are outfitted with LED strips that turn on when doors or drawers are opened.
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Glossy tiles -- basic subway tile in a herringbone pattern -- cover the entire wall behind the vent hood for a high-impact, low-maintenance backsplash. Drawers below the cooktop simplify food prep by putting pots and pans within easy reach.
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Here’s a kitchen faucet you don’t have to touch with messy hands. Simply wave your hand under its arc to turn it on and off.
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An extension of the kitchen's style and function, the butler's pantry stores spare dinnerware and serves up beverages during parties.
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They look like French doors when closed, but these Pella doors leading to the screen porch are actually space-saving sliders with automated shades between the glass panes. Sensors on windows and doors let you know (via your phone and a lighted panel) if they’re open or even unlocked.
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Wraparound steps provide a railing-free connection between the deck and the backyard. The PVC decking from Azek Building Products is especially resistant to stain, scratches, and extreme weather conditions.
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In the master bedroom, a Sleep Number mattress uses sensors and an app to analyze how you sleep. A room-darkening roller shade from Pella disappears behind a valance when it gets the order from a phone or a remote control.
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Wall with Impact
A bumped-out wall in the master bedroom unites the TV, fireplace, and a walnut mantel in a low-profile, modern arrangement.
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Bathed in Light
In the master bath, the vanity “floats” within a surround of Cambria easy-care quartz-surfacing, and the medicine cabinet has a TV built into its mirrored doors. A touch screen near the tub lets you play music, sending sound waves through the bath water for a relaxing soak.
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No on-off lever in this shower! A touch screen operates the showerheads, side sprays, and overhead sprays. This digital system from Kohler lets you controls water temperature and spray sequence with a programmed "playlist." You choose: energizing, relaxing, or your own mix.
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Loaded with Function
These appliances create a high-efficiency laundry room: A washer reduces wash time, and a heat pump dryer reuses the air it heats.
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More than a Hallway
Give a hallway the same design attention as a room. Here, the top of the stairs includes a console table (with drawers for batteries, lightbulbs, and flashlights) and barn doors that dress up the guest room doorway.
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Open to Ideas
Clopay composite garage doors look like wood but won’t rot or warp. Their charcoal color was inspired by asphalt shingles with a wood-shake look from GAF.
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Partners and Sources
To create the BHG Innovation Home, we teamed with architect/builder Lakeside Development Co., interior decorator Lauren Liess & Co., kitchen and bath designer Janice Pattee Design, landscape designer Elements Design Studio, and these product manfacturers:
Azek Building Products
Crate and Barrel
Heat & Glo
Plain & Fancy