Back to the future: How a 1960s home was made smart & future-proof
When planning got underway at a hillside property in the greater Stuttgart area, the young couple who owned it knew they had a big task on their hands. The property was built in the 1960s and needed a lot of extensive work. This wasn’t just in terms of aesthetics or even basic infrastructure. They also wanted to give it a technological upgrade by turning this old house into a future-proof smart home.
Planning with foresight: Creating more living space for a growing family
The couple were planning for a large family and while the property was big, it wasn’t big enough.
After consulting with architect Alexander Gregorcic, they resolved to turn their single-storey conservatory into a two-storey modern extension. Combined with the extended roof truss and a new attic, this home increase from 120 square metres to 150 square metres. From the living room on the first floor, the widened balcony with glass parapet now offers a stunning, unobstructed view of the valley.
Beautiful and refined details of design
The outer façade of this 1960s home was transformed, as was the interior. Inside, the partition walls were removed which created a huge amount of open space. The old, wooden staircase has been given a fresh lick of green paint, which transformed it into a quirky design object that serves to connect all levels of the home.
In the open-plan kitchen, dark steel beams now create a striking contrast to the white walls. In between selected designer pieces, you can find plants and rustic oak floorboards in the classic country house style. This, in particular, serves to create a homely charm. And on the walls, you can see the Gira Esprit switch series, in white glass.
Clever networking: Smart transformation from the 60s to the modern day
As part of the renovation, a new heating system with an efficient gas condensing boiler was installed. The owners also had a photovoltaic solar panel system attached to the roof. This provides enough energy to meet the family’s needs – and keep energy costs down. While these were important points, the couple also wanted to emphasize the importance of installing a smart home control system.
By coordinating with an electrician, the couple had control cables laid along with their new electrical installation. The KNX system essentially links different components of intelligent building services together and is powered by the Gira HomeServer as the central interface. It is through this infrastructure that the residents can easily and conveniently control all functions of the home with their tablets or smartphones.
Flexible smart home control for maximum ease of use
While controlling the smart home’s functions can easily be done with personal devices, there are also two other options. On both upper and lower floors, two control units were installed. These provide an overview of all the home’s functions. For example, with the Gira G1’s multi-touch display, the residents can change settings, set timers and test connected devices. A camera connected from the outside of their front door transmits images onto the Gira G1 screen. It is the best way for the family
to instantly know who’s standing at the gate and open it remotely (if they want to).
Wall switches in every room make the smart home easy to control and manage. The couple programmed specific functions into the Gira push button sensors. With this, they can control the lighting, blinds and heating at the tap of a finger. The “central off” setting is also extremely useful: all lights, connected devices and sockets outlets in the home can be instantly deactivated.
Secure modernisation for the future
When leaving the newly done-up 1960s house, security features already ensure that it is safe and secure. Electronic contacts on windows and doors show whether or not door entrances are closed. Should there be a break-in, sensors linked to the alarm system automatically alert the security company. And of course, preparations have been made for other emergencies: thanks to Gira smoke
alarm devices on the ceiling, early warning of smoke or fire development is given.
What about going on holiday? Burglars tend to target homes that are empty, so simulating presence is a must. The smart home is more than capable of doing that. Switch the lights on, switch them off, open the shutters, close… All from a distance.
KNX: The future-proof basis for comfortable living
“Old-fashioned” is no longer a thing with this 1960s home. Future-proof smart technology has literally been built into the very bones and core of the building itself thanks to the international and
open-source KNX standard. At any time, new applications and devices can be retrofitted or changed. This is truly an intelligent home and one that is prepared for any challenges the future might bring.
If you were modernising your home, which smart home applications do you think would be particularly important? Tell us in the comments!