Mediaplanet caught up with YouTube content creator Justin Tse to get his insights on blending smart home technology with interior design.
Given the many homes you’ve renovated, what do all homes need from a smart home and automation perspective?
Some of the must-haves are smart shades, which can save on energy bills, especially in homes and condos. Smart thermostats also allow for easy scheduling and control from smartphones and can coordinate their activity with the shades. In addition, smartphone-controlled light bulbs and plugs are not only cost-effective but easy plug-in upgrades.
What home area do you feel is the most important to personalize?
With kitchen design, you can make it your own. There are many ways to do it — you can pick the stone, wood, cabinets, and colour. Admittedly, I don’t use the kitchen often, but it has set the tone for each project. It brings the most added value to your home and can be the most expensive. But, of course, the most significant impact on a renovation project is the flooring — floors can change the whole atmosphere of the house. So, I would suggest starting with choosing the flooring and going from there.
Another easy way to personalize your home is using accent walls. Wainscoting and farmhouse slats are good options and can be a great DIY project.
Where does your passion for using technology with interior design come from?
Growing up, I wanted to be an architect and was really into drawing and designing homes and buildings. I accidentally ended up in the tech industry through my YouTube channel, where I started reviewing phones.
Then I went on to start building my own tech desk setups.
Eventually, when I bought my first place, the design aspect came naturally, and as time went on, I brought both industries together (home and tech). Based on natural progression, when I bought the Feature Media office, the investment property, and my latest project, I brought all my interests together and went more in-depth with the design and tech in each project.
Visual appearance is important to me, whether with my YouTube channel or home design. Although it’s important to have functionality, I place value in the way things look. So I now try to blend the visual look with character and tech in my home.
How do you think home renovation will change within the next five years with the advancement of smart technologies?
As time goes on, a smart home will become much more accessible. More people will be able to afford it at a price point, and it’ll become easier to install. In addition, with smart home tech becoming more commonplace, consumers now have several choices in selecting the smart technologies that best suit them.
Another side of home tech that is a bit more niche is integrated home technology that pushes the limits, as in whether or not home items should be automated. It doesn’t necessarily make sense in some larger homes, but companies are starting to push the limits. For example, a toilet that unfolds as you walk into the bathroom. It’s not something I really need, but maybe most toilets will have it in the future.
Do you have any initiatives in the space you’d like to speak about?
My latest home project is the biggest renovation project yet. I recently purchased a three-bedroom, two-and-half-bathroom condo undergoing a complete remodel. With over 2,500 square feet, this open space concept includes a 1,000-square-foot outdoor terrace with breathtaking ocean views. The focus of this remodel includes:
A modern open space kitchen.
Herringbone light oak hardwood floors.
A big focus on smart home tech functionalities custom integrated throughout the entire home.
The first episode just went live, and I plan on releasing the entire process over the next few months. A main point of the home was finding areas of home technology that should be integrated or if it should be on its own.