The house on a northeastern Illinois lake protects not only the owners but also a cherished friend—the environment. Inside and out, it connects with nature, yet it is technology that shelters all, the kind of complexity that Digital Home Technologies simplifies.
“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,” wrote Shakespeare more than 400 years ago. Here’s a touch: the four-foot octopus sculpture on the family room wall. Another is the exquisitely carved turtle on the living room console. That is not to mention a second but smaller octopus statue accompanied by a cast iguana on a table across the room. Even the napkin holder in the kitchen speaks nature: a laser-cut lizard climbs up its face.
Harboring these treasures or meaningful whims is the house that engineering imagination built.
As envisioned by Kipnis Architecture + Planning, the home’s energy concept dictates that all systems are electric, which reduces the use of fracked natural gas. Natural gas burns only as a starter for a high efficiency, sealed combustion fireplace and for a back up generator. Lighting is completely LED. Solar panels provide 32% of the home’s energy. The remaining electricity comes from 100% renewable energy credits from the grid.
The mechanical system and appliances are ultra high efficiency and are controlled by an integrated smart home system. An induction cooktop, hybrid electric water heater and hybrid electric dryer complete the items that typically employ natural gas.
Fingertip control of these complicated systems arrived with Digital Home’s introduction of the award-winning ELAN smart home system. No matter what device the homeowner taps—mobile phone, tablet or wall pad—ELAN’s intuitive interface eliminates head-shaking frustration whether one is trying to open a garage door, turn on lights, check a security camera or regulate the house’s temperature.
The high-end entertainment and security systems integrated by Digital Home meld with ELAN. There is Denon surround sound in the family room and Coastal Source outdoor audio for the home’s modest private island. Apple TV and Denon Heos provide streaming entertainment throughout the home. And one of the home’s five televisions even drops out of sight into a cabinet at the foot of the bed in the master bedroom. This lets the homeowners enjoy a view of their lake or, if the mood moves them, take in the news or a movie.
In a home infused with a love of nature, Digital Home Technologies imparts finesse to the hidden hand that bridges modern life with forces as old as the planet itself.
Photography: Scott Fincher Photography
Architect: Kipnis Architecture + Planning
Audio Video Integrator: Digital Home Technologies