Cedia Exhibit and Show Dallas, TX

Cedia Exhibit and Show
Dallas, TX

By Katherine Rodriguez
Special Contributor

We had the treat of attending the 2015 CEDIA Future Home Experience. And what an experience it was to get a sneak peek into the future of home technology.

The CEDIA expo is an annual convention showcasing the top trends in home technology. This year it was hosted at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center. How cool is it that Dallas hosted such a techie and trendy event?

Steve Elliston over at Elliston Systems and Design gave us our access passes to 2015 CEDIA Future Home Experience. He’s one of the top smart home installers in the country.

“Spaces will continue to be designed interactively using smart phone and tablets to control smart technologies,” Elliston said. “Modern technology in home design is important, but we never want to distract from the aesthetic of the design. So we work hard to ensure the integrity of the space remains the same, but the technology increase efficiency and brings new life to the home.”

The showroom floor was incredible. Everything that goes into a smart home system was there (even products we didn’t know existed). Strolling through the awesome interactive booths, we learned tons of new ways tech is being integrated into the home.

With so many innovative solutions, it was hard to pick, but here is a breakdown of our favorites.

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Mickey Munir

All photos: Dan Piassick

When Mickey Munir built the luxury home at 14929 Havenshire Pl. in Addison 17 years ago, it was intended to be a model home to showcase his capabilities as a custom builder and architect. He is the founder and CEO of Sharif Munir Uncustomary Custom Homes and many of the houses in this neighborhood were built by him.

Every aspect of the home is grand, and in its two years as a model, Munir estimates he sold ten to 15 build-to-suits after clients saw it. But at the end of that time, Munir and his wife Michele decided to call it home, and have been here ever since.

They’ve been happily splitting their time between this house and one on Lake Texoma. But their kids are grown and this house rarely gets visitors (unlike the Lake Texoma house), so it’s time to sell.

Mickey Munir

The entryway foyer and grand staircase

This is a 7,400-square-foot luxury home in the exclusive Bellbrook Estates, sitting on half an acre with four bedrooms, four full bathrooms, and two half bathrooms. There’s also a 12-person formal dining area, dramatic entry foyer with grand staircase, geothermal heating and cooling, gourmet indoor kitchen, outdoor kitchen, 40-foot lap pool with a sunken conversation pool at one end, a private master courtyard with spa and fireplace, and so much more.

“It’s loaded with so many features, every trick in the book you could put in it in 1998, and it has all been updated to current standards,” Munir said. “It’s got a lot of great technology, like an AMX home automation system, Lutron lighting system, an eight-seat theater with a new projector, screen, and speakers.”

The home belongs entirely to Michele, a point he wanted to emphasize: “We’ve lived through four recessions. This protects her in case the sky falls on me.”

The house is contemporary with a blend of neoclassical and Biedermeier architectural styles, built for company.

“It’s designed for adults with grown children, an entertaining house,” he said. “This house was out-of-the-box in 1998—everybody wanted a French or Mediterranean house—and this was purposeful. Nancy Dubick of Dallas Design Groups, Interiors personally did the interior work in collaboration with us.”

This home is listed for $2.45 million by Grady Yates with Sharif & Munir Ventures, Inc.

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Central Dallas Home

Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, the old saying goes. If that’s the case, then the post-war beauty at 5824 Palm Ln. won’t be on the market long, so take a look while it’s still available.

This 2-2 is renovated from the top to bottom of its 1,479 square feet. The reno includes newly refinished and stained hardwoods, crown molding, surround sound capability, Wink home automation, a luxury master bathroom, and a kitchen that wows with its look and amenities.

The North Stonewall Terrace neighborhood in central Dallas is a prime location, near Mockingbird and Matilda, just three blocks from Central Expressway, three miles from White Rock Lake, and 3.5 miles from NorthPark Center.

It’s also zoned for Stonewall Jackson Elementary School, rated “10” by GreatSchools.org.

Our Thursday Three Hundred was listed June 5 by Damon Williamson at Keller Williams Park Cities for $399,900, and we bet this Central Dallas home will find a buyer soon.

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The spec house at 6115 Desco Dr. will look similar to this. Photo courtesy Shoot2Sell.

The spec house at 6115 Desco Dr. will look similar to this, also built by LRO Residential Development.

Spec homes are a sign of strong builder and bank confidence in a market, as they are created without any specific buyer in mind, just the belief that one will be interested once it is completed. The higher the price tag, the higher the stakes.

In our inventory-parched market, homebuilder Les Owens, President of LRO Residential Development, has that confidence in the Dallas market, even at multi-million-dollar levels. He’s starting two spec houses this month, one in Preston Hollow for $3.15 million, and another in Devonshire for $2.2 million.

Both houses are available for customization, but Owens is breaking ground now and says he will complete them in late summer/early fall this year.

As we reported earlier this month, luxury home sales in Dallas-Fort Worth skyrocketed in 2014—those with prices of $1 million and up grew 15 percent year-over-year, the second highest sales volume in Texas (bested only by Houston).

Luxury home sales in DFW represented 1.2 percent of the market, and top-performing luxury brands are seeing more multi million-dollar sales in areas that have strong resale value and high existing demand.

“Established neighborhoods and homes of significance in coveted areas such as Highland Park, Preston Hollow, Greenway Parks, and The Volk Estates are desperately pursued, and the quality of the design continues to be a driving factor,” said Caroline Summers, a Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s agent. Jump to read about the houses and see photos!

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Photo courtesy Greico Modern Homes

Photo courtesy Greico Modern Homes

The homebuilding market in DFW is super hot, and with a new year comes new trends. Candy already mentioned the emergence of the skullery, but there’s more!



We’ve asked the best and brightest North Texas homebuilders to look into their crystal balls and make predictions about homebuilding trends for 2015. They’ve also given us some sublime photos that illustrate those trends in action in their own work. You won’t want to miss this—jump to read the whole story!

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Nest Protect

More and more buyers are opting for “wired” homes that fully integrate alarms, media, and safety, but it’s not accessible for all price ranges.

Until now that is.

Today Nest, the creators of their gorgeous interactive programmable thermostat, launched “Protect.” It’s a full-featured smoke detector that not only works with Nest thermostats, but can send push notifications to your smartphone when something’s up. It also has a motion detector, and in case you like your bacon crispy, it can be deactivated with a gesture instead of furiously batting a spatula or tea towel at it. And it’s gorgeous, too.

Nest Protect and thermostat

Here’s the dish on how it works from Gizmodo:

Protect is packed the the gills with sensors—for smoke and CO of course, but also for heat, light, motion, and ultrasonic waves. These sensors aren’t slapped on to add shelf appeal, or turn your home into a life-streaming Big Data experiment gone wrong (see your home’s microbe count visualized!). Rather, they’re all part of a use case in which Protect is a truly heads-up device.

Nest Protect Push NotificationLet’s pretend for a second that you’ve screwed up a grilled cheese (again? You doofus!). After detecting smoke, Protect will issue a vocal warning that smoke has been detected, rather than going off at full blast. (A fascinating aside: The voice is female because, according to Nest, studies have shown that young children are more easily woken by a female voice than by an alarm). If you’re in another room, the motion sensor will sense it and beam the warning to the nearest Protect via Wi-Fi. The newly-overhauled Nest app will also send a push notification to your phone, along with the option to call emergency services. The ring of LED light at Protect’s center turns a vibrant yellow—something’s up.

Then, since it’s a false alarm, you can silence Protect by waving your hand nearby, or dismissing the push notification. If the smoke doesn’t clear up, though, the warning escalates into a full-blown horn alarm (and the LEDs flash red). After the danger has passed, Protect’s voice system lets you know everything is back to normal, and the LEDs glow green.

All this for just $129 — quite a bit cheaper than retrofitting a ranch with full-featured wired home automation. What do you think?