COVID: 1 Year On – 5 Lessons for Whole-Home Automation COVID: 1 Year On – 5 Lessons for Whole-Home Automation

By the time you read this, we will have been living under the new normal for just over a year. For some, that means a year of lockdown in your home. If you live in a large or luxury home, then the last year has probably been kinder to you than many others. Having space to move about, rooms to work in, or just an area you can call your own is a luxury.


Of course, we hope your family has been spared the worst of COVID, and if not, no gadget will make it any easier for you. We too have family and friends affected, and we share your loss.


At BRAVAS, our mission is to design and deliver technology experiences that improve the way people live, work, and play in their homes. As we look back on this year, we have learned a lot about how people use their homes, and here are five things we have noticed about whole-home automation. 


Stream On! Music Streaming Services for Whole Home Music Systems Stream On! Music Streaming Services for Whole Home Music Systems

How we listen to music has been constantly evolving since the invention of the Gramophone in 1887, but the last few decades have seen some truly huge shifts in how we enjoy music. The internet brought us a free-for-all land of pirated music that largely soured the music world on digital media. iTunes eventually provided the alternative model that allowed people to easily purchase music digitally and paved the way for digital music to become the mainstream distribution model.


While they weren’t the first streaming services, Pandora and Spotify both paved the way for the idea that you don’t have to own your music library, you can have access to most of the music available in the world as long as you don’t mind paying a low monthly fee. Streaming services have also revolutionized the way whole-home audio systems work. Read on to see what streaming services we see our clients using the most.

Creating a Real, Automated Luxury Home Creating a Real, Automated Luxury Home

Most technology areas are a mixture of DIY/hobbyist, semi-professional and professional. The difference between these is typically apparent and is often signaled by price. A good example may be cameras. Assuming you want a separate camera (more than your smartphone), you can spend a lot less than $1000 as a hobbyist and get yourself a great Canon or Nikon and an excellent kit lens.  You can upgrade your camera body and lens as a semi-professional and easily spend closer to $10,000, or you can, as a professional, buy the top-of-the-line camera body and spend close to $10,000 just on that. The additional lens a professional will use can cost the same again, if not more. Of course, you can, as a DIYer, spend $25,000 on your first camera, but it’s probably not going to happen.


The same does seem to hold true for home automation companies. When considering what you are going to do in your home to make it automated, there is a significant jump between semi-professional and professional. In this blog we will review why there is a big jump and if you need to take that jump.

Feature Product of The Month Feature Product of The Month

A common word used to describe luxury goods is “refined.” In context, it often describes things in which the smallest of details improve the ownership experience substantially. A custom-tailored suit, hand-stitched leather, or a complicated watch movement all come to mind. In a luxury home you will probably find natural stones, solid metal door hardware and high-end plumbing fixtures, but even the most expensive homes will still typically share one detail with your average starter home - cheap plastic light switches.


Lighting control has long been used to streamline the number of switches needed to control the home, removing unsightly clutter from the walls. But even those lighting control keypads, a luxury item by any standard, have been made from unattractive and cheap-feeling plastics. This is even more surprising when you consider how often you interact with your lights. In a truly luxurious space, the things you touch are one of the most important details to consider, yet we have seen more expensive materials used on gutters than on keypads.

Combining Art and Sound in a Luxury Home Combining Art and Sound in a Luxury Home

In one of our previous blogs, we discussed the balance of sound and silence in luxury homes and the impact the combination can have on your health and well-being. Designing for healthy sound is only one aspect of creating a great sound environment. 

Sure, we can add speakers into a beautiful space, "but is it art?"  


With more clients working with interior designers and architects to create a beautifully planned space, adding an unsightly speaker could compromise a room's home audio-video design. When it comes to speakers, how things sound has generally been the most crucial aspect; but more recently, once it sounds up to a certain level, how it looks may be more important to clients. In this blog, we'll explore sound options that combine function and decoration for art and music lovers.  

Lighting in Layers Lighting in Layers

If you are like most of us, you live in a home with poor lighting, but don’t worry, it isn’t your fault. What has become the standard for residential lighting, often referred to as “four cans and a fan,” is pretty poor lighting by most standards. Sure, it is efficient and safe, simple and effective, but it certainly isn’t attractive. It is an improvement over a single light in the center of a room, but that is a pretty low bar.


If you agree that your home could look better with different lighting, read on to find out exactly how experts think about the three layers that create beautiful spaces; ambient, task and accent lighting.


A Brilliant Lighting Idea A Brilliant Lighting Idea

For most of us, there is often a least one picture that hangs on a wall that means more to us than all the rest. Maybe it's a picture you created for yourself, something to found in a small store on your honeymoon, or a family favorite. You may be lucky and have more than one. Whether it is one or more, while we all cherish the picture and the memories it evokes, few of us do an excellent job to light it well.


If next time you look at your favorite picture, you wonder why it's in the dark or at least not as vibrant as you remember it; here are a few ways to make it the center of attention again with the help of a residential lighting designer.

January’s Featured Product of The Month January’s Featured Product of The Month

There are thousands of home automation products that get announced every year. Some of them are brilliant, and some of them are frankly useless. We need first-generation ideas and rehashes of old ideas. There are even some stupid ideas for your smart homes. What makes most of these silly products stupid is not that they don't work (although some do not) but because they don't make your home smarter - they make you work harder.

At BRAVAS, we want to start highlighting some of the products that we see that make your home smarter and your life easier. Not all these solutions will make sense to all homeowners, but they may solve a specific problem or spark an idea. Some of our focus products may not fit your home automation platform, but we may solve an issue with a product that does. Let us know if we can help with that.

Air Quality You Can Smell Air Quality You Can Smell

A well-designed smart home relies on technology proven to provide safe spaces and peace of mind for our families. One of the cornerstones of this is to ensure we are all breathing the cleanest air possible. In a modern, well-designed residence of today, incorporating advanced air filtration is a great way to start and has never been easier. What is more, when you have cleaner air, everyone says you can smell the difference.

Everything you needed to know about lighting but were afraid to ask! Everything you needed to know about lighting but were afraid to ask!

One of the subjects we get asked most about at BRAVAS is lights, lighting, and lighting control. Many people looking to update or build a new home want to explore how to get the best light in their new environment. While some builders and architects know this space well when it comes to power, they are more focused on selling you "four cans and a fan" in each room.

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