Q: Find out how one couple made their decision
One of the toughest things about building a new house is separating your wants from your needs. You need an efficient heating and cooling system, sure. And top-grade kitchen appliances are probably a good idea if you love to cook. But do you really need that big-screen TV and those super-duper surround-sound speakers for the master bedroom? And what about that portable color touch panel to control all the lights, thermostats, audio/video equipment, window blinds and gas fireplaces? Is this something you really need in order to live more comfortably in your home?
These are a few of the questions you should ask yourself before putting a single piece of technology into your home. Homeowners Tom and Catherine Reagan of Aspen, CO, can relate. "We couldn't decide whether to dip our toe in or jump in all the way," Tom recalls. "We weren't sure whether to put systems into just a few rooms or throughout the entire house. And of course, I had my concerns about putting one system in charge of everything."
Despite those misgivings, the Reagans could see the value of technology. "Having the ability to control a fairly large house from one place would minimize the number of switches we would need to put on the walls and would eliminate all the running around we would have had to do to turn everything off before leaving the house or going to bed," Tom explains.
Before making their final decision, though, Tom and Catherine had a heart-to-heart with the home systems installers at Paragon Technology Group, the Aspen-based firm they had hired to design a modest home entertainment system for their house. "[Home entertainment] was the one thing we absolutely had to have," says Tom. The pros at Paragon knew exactly how to steer the conflicted couple in the right direction. "We took them to a couple of completed projects to show him how our touch screen controller worked," says company president David Raife. "After actually seeing how easy our touch screens were to use and how convenient it was to operate the lights, temperature, audio and video equipment, and security from one place, it all just clicked for them." Tom and Catherine decided to take the plunge.