Intelligent Design

How to automate your home with smart home technology?

Adding to LA’s standing as a hub for technology is the wealth of individuals with technology focused careers who are early adopters of tech in their private lives too. This makes for a landscape that is ripe for incorporating the latest home-automation and intelligence features to streamline daily processes and enhance a homeowner’s overall living experience.

“A well-designed tech integration can really elevate the desirability of a property and take a home to the next level,” says LA technology entrepreneur Ted Dhanik, formerly of, and most recently, founder and CEO of the cross-device company engage: BDR. “Taking out all the work for a potential buyer is attractive—all you have to do is move in and customize your desired settings, instead of having to worry about design and installation processes. These types of integrations make a house able to feel more like home on day one.”

Take, for example, Dhanik’s personal abode at 2118 Beech Knoll Road in the West Hollywood Hills, wired from top to bottom with smart-home technology. During the course of six years, Dhanik redesigned this 4,538-square-foot home in thoughtful stages, taking his inspiration entirely from Dwell on Design tours and expos. With touches of reclaimed wood, steel and concrete, the three-bedroom home not only offers sweeping views of the city skyline from all three stories, but also features a Control4 home automation system with touch panels and smartphone access that allows residents to subtly tailor the space to their own needs— from preferred shower settings and mood-specific lighting and music to remotely viewing cameras and opening gates, the garage and doors.

2118 Beech Knoll Rd Residence; Developer: Ted Dhanik; Location: West Hollywood, LA

“The wow factor is how little you notice it compared with the impact it makes,” says Dhanik. “Imagine waking up by having your shades rise to provide natural light at your desired time; the shower knows the perfect temperature; your coffee is ready at the perfect time; and the music is just right to put a pep in your step. That’s a pretty great way to start your day, with no work involved on your part.” Meanwhile, the Savant home automation system at a new Bradley Bayou-designed home at 9233 Swallow Drive in Doheny Estates also lets one operate the entire house via a smartphone. “Simply everyone is on their phones, so it’s an added selling bonus to say you can literally control every incredible facet of this home from your smartphone,” says Ben Bacal of Rodeo Realty, who is listing the property for $14.25 million. “When you can say you can turn the spa on from a restaurant, turn on the music from your iPad and dim the lights when that time is right, it’s a sexy factor that makes you go wow!”

Then there’s The Wave House, built by LA architect Mario Romano in Venice in 2016. Here, one finds unprecedented design technology throughout, with wholly original walls and floors carved and textured into non-repetitive and large-scale surfaces—a level of design technology only achievable with massive computer processing, algorithmic software and robotics. Meanwhile, material technology was used to provide finishes that are flexible, easy to repair, durable and non-conductive, as well as impervious to mold and bacteria.

“Technology has the potential to make our homes more energy-efficient, ergonomic, intricately constructed and visually compelling,” says Romano. “Technology is a worldwide trend in general, influencing more and more aspects of our lives. We are now seeing it infiltrate into all aspects of our homes.” When it’s all said and done, technology means convenience…and convenience is the ultimate luxury.


Written by Wendy Bowman | Photography Courtesy of Dana Meilijson and Kevin Wong

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