Smart Features from DIY Network Blog Cabin 2015

Browse pictures and get inside information on the high-tech, home control features built into this year's home.

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Photo By: Eric Perry

Come Right In

In designing this year's house I really wanted a front airlock. Not only would this room be a great place to kick off snowy boots but it also buffers the interior of the house against a rush of cold winter air. Form fitting function, We left the concrete exposed and dropped in a metal grate so you could kick the muck off those boots. 

Snow Melt Wire with Automatic Sensor

The front door exterior slab was poured with snow melt wire keeping maintenance at bay during the winter. Who wants snow shoveling to be their first task when pulling up to this beauty of a house? With this snow melt wire, you can enter right in and snuggle up next to one of our three fireplaces. The snow melt system also has its own exterior sensors that know when to automatically come on. 

Radiant Heat Wire and Metal Grate

Because the air in this room doesn't commingle with the house, the slab has radiant heat wire in it. The radiant heat is felt instead of circulated keeping energy use low and comfort high. A digital thermostat runs the entire system and can even talk to your smart phone so you can turn up the heat on your way home from the slopes.

Multipurpose Space

Now, step over with me into the library. You can see we really packed a lot into this space while keeping it comfortable. When the People's Choice vote came in for a TV in this room, we originally planned it over the fireplace. But because the room is small it made a lot more sense to relocate it lower on the wall near the flip-down desk that Rescue My Renovation host John DeSilivia and DIY Network Blog Cabin 2015 host Chris Grundy built. This little corner makes a perfect multipurpose space. You can still enjoy your favorite DIY Network shows from the window seat or hook up your laptop at the desk and use the TV as a second monitor.

High-Efficiency Heating and Cooling

Next, let's check out that master suite. Set outside of the footprint of the original house, this area houses the master bedroom, bathroom, and upstairs lounge. A common problem in multiple level houses is a fight over the thermostat. We've solved that problem. If you like it a bit cooler while you sleep, you can control the temperature in the bedroom from the remote.

In-Wall Air Conditioner

Gone are the days where you had to heat or cool the house to the same temperature allowing for a great energy savings. An infrared sensor on the head unit can direct air towards the spots that need it the most. Additionally, these high-efficiency heat pumps stand up to the coldest Idaho nights where standard heat pumps loose their ability to perform. 

Custom Dual Zone Mattress

Speaking of controlling the temperature from your bed, the master suite mattress also lets you tune the firmness to your own perfect preference. Two zones allow each person to enjoy a firm or soft mattress. Staying downstairs? Don't worry each mattress in this house allows the same customization.

High-Tech Bathroom Amenities

After an amazing night's sleep on that mattress, start the day off with an invigorating shower experience. This master bath is simply luxurious with an amazing marble floor and large glass shower. But there's nothing worse than waking from a good night's sleep and walking across cold tile only to wait for the hot water at the shower. This bathroom features heated tile controllable from the wall thermostat or your smart phone allowing you to get it going before even getting out of bed.

Smart Shower Experience

The digital shower valve and touchscreen has a warm up routine that goes straight to your preferred temperature ensuring almost no wait. The whole house recirculation pump also purges the cold water out of the lines automatically, keeping water waste low.

Clever Chromotherapy

Once you are being showered by one of our (3) body sprays or (4) rain heads, you can also set your own chromatherapy light pattern while playing Bluetooth tunes from your smartphone. 

Low Voltage LEDs

Back out in the rest of the house, you'll find that during the day there's plenty of natural light. With a well thought out design and ample windows, light fills most of the house reducing the lighting needs and electricity usage. However, we've incorporated a number of accent and mood lights to help set the tone and put light only where it's needed. Because the lights are low voltage LEDs, they consume very little electricity for the output.

Illuminating Kitchen Design

In the kitchen, there is another People's Choice vote for cabinet cove lighting. These LEDs make late night kitchen visits easy without the brightness of the overhead lights. At the island breakfast bar, there's more LEDs under the walnut top illuminating the copper epoxy bars in the upcycled stools. We even included USB ports in the outlets for morning tech charging.

Warm LED Lighting Under Stairs

Heading down the grand open riser stairs, we added LED strips under each tread giving a soft glow to the tread below. No need to turn on the ceiling lighting for safety on these stairs. Plus I think it really accents the beauty of the large glue laminated treads.

Locally-Sourced Features

You may recognize this year's hot tub. Set right outside the spa bath and dressing room, this hot tub came from the same company that helped us out at the home in Maine. We love all things local at DIY Network Blog Cabin and this company is headquartered right in Seattle, Washington. The tubs are also built from Northwest sourced cedar.

High-Tech Hot Tub Control

One major concern for hot tub maintenance can be the threat of freezing in the winter if its not drained down. This system however features a smart controller that will keep the water from freezing when its not on. Additionally, with the optional WiFi module you can control the tub settings from anywhere. Got a chill from a long day on the lake? You can have the tub ready to go when you pull up.

Maximized Hardscapes

Geography can influence design more than anything else. Last year at DIY Network Blog Cabin 2014 in Winter Haven, Florida, we had lots of palm trees and other manicured tropicals. But this year, we wanted the landscaping and house to feel like it had grown out of the mountain naturally. So we minimized lawns and maximized hardscapes. Drystream beds handle roof water while basalt rock mulch keeps weeds at bay.

Zoned Irrigation System

To keep the winner focused on all of the Idaho fun, we also installed a zoned irrigation system to handle our two small lawn areas, all the house plantings, and the drip system in our People's Choice herb garden. This system is run on an easily programmed digital timer, which can vary the patterns by day of the week and even water at night when evaporation from the sun and wind is low.

Closed Loop Waterfall

Since water is a limited resource everywhere, we strive hard to minimize its use while maximizing the effects. The waterfall system is a closed loop so its not using water when its running. There is an underground chamber that catches the water and loops it back to the top. Only an occasional top up will be required.

Hands Off Outdoor Lighting

I love night ambiance and this location is to die for. There is something so magical about a full moon over the lake while curled up next to one of our outdoor fire features. To increase the aesthetic as well as safety, we have exterior accent and path lighting controlled by another timer and photocell. Many of these lights are LED and I even snuck one under the front rock bridge.