01What Is the HGTV Smart Home?
The Smart Home is one of the several homes that HGTV and the Scripps Network build and then give away each year. What makes the Smart Home different from the other sweepstakes, like the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway, is its focus on smart technology.
Smart technology is becoming an ever more important part of today's home design. Homeowners can use smart technology to control everything from their thermostats and doorbells to their garage doors and their skylights, all from a tablet or smartphone.
The benefits to homeowners are significant. The right smart technology can lower heating and electricity costs, make your house more secure, alert police or fire departments in case of emergencies, and add conveniences like lighting your way to the bathroom at night, feeding your pets for you, or unlocking your door as you approach.
To showcase the possibilities, HGTV builds a house that puts the latest smart home technologies to good use, showcases the building process on their television network, and then gives Americans the chance to win it in an exciting giveaway.
The HGTV Smart Home Sweepstakes has run every year since 2013. Previous locations include:
- 2016: Raleigh, North Carolina
- 2015: Austin, Texas
- 2014: Nashville, Tennessee
- 2013: Paradise Key, Florida
You can read more about the previous HGTV Smart Home winners and their amazing prizes.
Before 2013, HGTV offered the Green Home Sweepstakes instead of the Smart Home Sweepstakes. The Green Home focused on sustainable design rather than smart technology.
02What Makes HGTV's Smart Home So Smart?
So what's so darned smart about the 2016 HGTV Smart Home? Well, technical consultant Carley Knobloch wrote: "HGTV Smart Home 2016 is teeming with tech that makes life more convenient, safer, and a lot more fun." Here are some of the ways that technology makes the 2016 Smart Home more enjoyable:
Smart Safety Features:
The 2016 HGTV Smart Home goes way beyond the typical alarm system to make your family safer. For example, there are motion detectors and window break sensors throughout the home. The garage has safety sensors on its door to prevent accidents. And the entire system is wireless, meaning that it is easily installed and avoids a tangle of cables.
Smart Energy-Saving and Comfort Features:
The HGTV Smart Home has smart thermostats on each floor, meaning that the home can be kept more comfortable, at a lower cost. The smart technology learns your habits, so that when you're not at home you can save on heating and cooling costs. Even the smart refrigerator has a vacation mode, which cuts down on electricity when you're away.
The Smart Home also manages the heat in your home with smart windows and skylights. When the sun is too strong, the curtains automatically close, keeping your home cool. On cold days, they let the sunlight in for natural warmth.
Even the porches have smart fans, which speed up or slow down based on the ideal temperature.
Smart Entertaining and Convenience Features:
Want to be able to control the music throughout your home at a touch of a button? The HGTV Smart Home 2016 offers that. Smart speakers throughout the home can be controlled by an app.
Want to check whether your meal is done? Smart grilling thermometers can update your tablet or smartphone with your food's temperature.
Have a black thumb? Well, smart sensors in your house plants will tell you when they need food, light, or nutrients so you won't have to worry about your natural talent with growing things.
Hate going out to a chilly car on a winter's day? Well, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC that comes as part of the prize can be remotely started. And it also has a touch pad that can control many of the 2016 HGTV Smart Home's features, like opening the garage doors for you as you approach.
For more incredible smart features, check out Carley Knobloch's posts on the HGTV Blog.
03The Layout of the 2016 Smart Home:
The 2016 HGTV Smart Home is a three-level, Craftsman-style house filled with gadgets to help make the owner's life easier and more convenient. Its 3,300 square feet include four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a media room, a home office, and an exercise room. There is also a roomy garage and a screened-in porch, among other great features.
Design Theory of the 2016 HGTV Smart Home:
HGTV's Smart Home design team aimed to blend traditional Southern charm with a contemporary, modern style. The home uses a neutral (but not boring!) color palette, brightened with bold pops of color.
While the Smart Home uses lots of technology to make life more convenient, safer, and more fun, the home takes pains to minimize the feeling of being surrounded by electronics.
Ground Floor of the HGTV Smart Home 2016:
The main level of the 2016 Smart Home contains the house's main living areas plus the Master Suite. This floor has an open concept, creating a natural flow from one beautifully-designed area to the next.
Entering through the main door, a visitor to the home will see a foyer with a powder room and the stairs leading up to the second floor and down to the basement on the right. Straight ahead is the living room, with the screened porch beyond it. To the left lie the dining room and the kitchen. Beyond the kitchen is a spacious pantry, where the owner can store and organize a wide variety of foodstuffs.
Not visible from the entrance is the 2016 Smart Home's master bedroom suite, which takes up the entire right-hand side of the home.
Upper Level of the HGTV Smart Home 2016:
If you take the stairs upward to the second floor of the Smart Home 2016, you'll find yourself in the chic home office, which puts the upper landing to good use. There is a laundry room here, so that you won't have to carry clothes downstairs to wash them, and a separate hall bathroom.
On the second floor, you'll also find a technologically-advanced nursery and a guest bedroom with its own bathroom.
Basement of the HGTV Smart Home 2016:
The lower level of the 2016 Smart Home has a guest bedroom suite with its own bathroom, perfect for guests who want a little privacy. Two of my favorite rooms in the home are also down here, including the media room (with a cool framed flat-screen television) and an exercise room, which I'd love to have in my own home.
04Where Is the 2016 Smart Home Located?
Location of the 2016 HGTV Smart Home:
For 2016, HGTV chose the capitol of North Carolina, Raleigh, as its Smart Home location. Raleigh pairs nicely with the Smart Home, since it's famous for being a hub of technology. It's part of the Research Triangle, home to many tech companies who were attracted to the research facilities and graduates from the many excellent North Carolina colleges.
And that's not all. If you love great music, great BBQ, or the great outdoors, you'll enjoy yourself in Raleigh.
"When we look for locations for the HGTV Smart Home, we are challenged with finding a neighborhood and a city that has the combination of technology and culture that makes it a great place to live... As a hub for technology and a vibrant destination for those seeking family fun, [Raleigh] was a 'smart' selection all around," said Ron Feinbaum, General Manager and SVP, Home Promotions, HGTV, in a press release.
Whether the 2016 HGTV Smart Home winner is old or young, single or part of a big family, there's something for everyone in this bustling city.
05Who Built and Designed the 2016 HGTV Smart Home?
HGTV Smart Home 2016's Host and Interior Designer, Tiffany Brooks:
The expert behind the interior design of the 2016 Smart Home, and the host of the television specials, is Tiffany Brooks. Brooks also hosted the 2016 HGTV Dream Home winner ambush.
Brooks, based in Chicago, was a residential property manager before she opened her own design store. In 2013, Brooks starred in Be the Next HGTV Design Star, a reality show competition to become an HGTV host. Brooks won her season and began hosting the HGTV makeover series, The Most Embarrassing Rooms in America.
According to Tiffany Brooks' bio, she "describes her design style as 'classic with a twist,' and enjoys mixing traditional pieces with a little rock 'n' roll."
This style is clear to see in the Smart Home 2016, which blends classic Southern touches like a covered porch with rocking chairs with modern industrial accent pieces and finishes.
You can view Tiffany Brooks' design portfolio on the HGTV website.
The 2016 HGTV Smart Home's Technical Consultant, Carley Knobloch:
Digital Lifestyle Expert Carley Knobloch has been involved with the HGTV Smart Home series since it debuted in 2013. She also has her own series on the HGTV network, Smart, Simple, Solved, and contributes to CNN, the Today Show, and more.
Since 2006, Carley Knobloch has been advising people about how to use technology to improve their lives. Her ability to clearly explain gadgets and their advantages to a broad audience have been put to good use in HGTV's Smart Home series.
2016 HGTV Smart Home's Build Team:
The project manager responsible for overseeing the construction of the 2016 Smart Home was Scott Branscom. The construction was performed by Raleigh-based company, Homes by Dickerson.
06The Smart Home '16's Master Bedroom Suite:
The HGTV Smart Home for 2016 features a huge master bedroom suite which takes up the right-hand side of the house. It lies on the main floor of the home and consists of the bedroom with a built-in living room, a spa-style master bath, and an enormous walk-in closet.
The Master Bedroom:
This spacious room is bathed in natural light, thanks to large windows and smart skylights. There is room not only for a queen-sized bed, but also for a seating area with two wingback chairs and a leather ottoman.
The color scheme favors neutrals with plenty of beiges, whites, and grays, but pops of pink and gold make the room feel lively.
To keep the master bedroom warm even when the weather turns chilly, there's a double-sided fireplace, which can also be used from the screened porch . There is direct access to the porch from the master bedroom.
And for people who like to watch some HGTV from bed, there's a flat-screen in an ornate gold frame, which turns into a mirror when it's shut off.
The Master Bathroom:
If you hate cramped bathrooms, you're going to love what the 2016 HGTV Smart Home has to offer. The luxurious master bath has a stand-alone soaking tub, an enormous walk-in shower that's to die for, and a separate enclosed closet for the toilet.
If you like the idea of sinking into a bubble bath and watching your favorite TV shows, this master bath has a smart trick: a flat-screen television embedded into the large mirror over the double vanity. The TV disappears into the mirror when it's not in use.
The master bath is light and airy, thanks to a smart window and a skylight over the soaking tub. Oh, and did I mention that there are towel warming racks as well? A nice way to eliminate the chill of stepping out of a warm bath or relaxing shower.
The Walk-In Closet:
For anyone who loves being able to keep their clothes organized and easy to find, the Smart Home has the perfect setup: a huge walk-in closet with plenty of smart storage solutions. There's a closet with double-hung rods for more space, open shelving, a padded bench with additional storage underneath, and even a device to help refresh your clothes in just a few minutes.
07The Other Bedrooms in the 2016 HGTV Smart Home:
Aside from the Master Bedroom Suite on the main floor, the HGTV Smart Home 2016 has three bedrooms: a nursery and a guest suite upstairs, and another guest suite in the basement.
The Nursery of the 2016 Smart Home from HGTV:
The 2016 Smart Home uses a lot of neutral tones in its interior design, but in the nursery, they've gone bold. The walls are a bright teal shade, while orange curtains and upholstery add a vibrant, cheerful atmosphere. Child-friendly artwork and patterns make the room feel playful.
The nursery is outfitted with a 4-in-1 crib that converts to a daybed and then to a bed as your child grows.
To keep your little one comfortable, the Smart Home 2016 nursery has programmable windows and shades that test the temperature and can let more or less light in as necessary for a perfect room temperature. And the windows have break sensors to help keep your baby safe.
The nursery has direct access to the hall bathroom, making clean-up or getting a quick glass of water easy.
The Upper Guest Bedroom of the HGTV Smart Home 2016:
This bedroom is designed to make your guests feel perfectly at home. The walls are decorated with teal and green leaf-patterned wallpaper, which gives the room a funky but fun energy. Neutral-colored flooring and artwork with beautiful colors set amid plenty of white space provide rest for the eyes.
There's a lowered ceiling in one part of the room, which interior designer Tiffany Brooks used to create a reading nook with a comfy chair and long curtains.Tiffany Brooks used to create a reading nook with a comfy chair and long curtains.
There is plenty of storage space for clothes and more, and even a writing desk for working or correspondence.
The upstairs guest bedroom has its own dedicated bathroom, with a handsome oval mirror, a smart blue vanity, and a walk-in shower. The yellows and blues of the bathroom complement the colors used in the guest bedroom.
The Terrace Bedroom of the HGTV Smart Home 2016:
The downstairs guest bedroom suite is a soothing room decorated in neutral colors and bathed with natural light. Located on the ground floor, the terrace bedroom is close to the media room and the exercise room.
To add interest to the beige, brown, and white color palette, Tiffany Books used bright pops of red, like a three-dimensional feather "flower" over the bed, and ethnic prints for pillows and other accents.
The terrace bedroom has its own bathroom with a black-and-white color scheme. It has a large shower and a handsome vanity.
08The Living Areas of the 2016 HGTV Smart Home
The 2016 HGTV Smart Home features many different places to relax or to entertain guests, both indoors and outdoors.
The open-concept main floor of the Smart Home is wonderful for having company over to visit, since smaller groups can gather to dine or converse without being cut off from the main group.
However, the living room, dining room, and kitchen are differentiated from one another by the use of carpets, complementary but unique design styles, lighting, and architectural elements.
The Living Room:
Designed to be the HGTV Smart Home's central gathering area, the living room features plush upholstery designed to encourage guests to stay a little longer. A minimalist black chandelier with clear, blown-glass lights illuminates the area.
Of course, nothing makes a room cozier than a fireplace, and the Smart Home's living room features a gas fireplace with an impressive mantel.
A built-in bookcase also houses the television. A neutral curtain can be drawn across the bookcase to minimalize the focus on the TV.
Energy-efficient sliding glass doors offer access to the screened porch outdoors.
The Dining Room:
The HGTV Smart Home's dining room features a wooden table that seats six, four in regular dining chairs and two in extra-comfortable wingback chairs.
The adjacent kitchen makes serving meals quick and easy.
The Media Room:
On the Smart Home's lower level you can find the perfect place for a family movie night, a game night, or a good chat with friends.
The media room features a built-in cabinet with a 65-inch curved-screen television. In the ceiling, recessed speakers can project music from controls throughout the home as well as the soundtrack from the TV.
Sliding glass doors can be opened to provide access to the covered porch, but they also include heavy curtains that can make the room dark enough to enjoy TV and movies even on the brightest days.
A big, comfy couch gives people room to stretch out or to chat, and a glass table holds drinks and snacks or your favorite board games.
And speaking of drinks, there's also a dry bar to keep your favorite beverages cool and handy.
Nearby, you'll find the terrace bedroom.
The Exercise Room:
If you're tired of trying to do your daily workouts without ramming into your coffee table or your entertainment center, the HGTV Smart Home is for you. There is a dedicated exercise room, stocked with the latest workout technology.
The exercise room of the Smart Home has plenty of natural light, thanks to big windows on one wall. The opposite wall features a television for workout videos or for distraction while you're running or lifting weights.
The exercise room comes stocked with a digital treadmill, a high-tech elliptical machine, and a full set of weights. A huge mirror makes the room feel more spacious while helping you keep proper form during your workouts.
09The 2016 Smart Home's Kitchen
The HGTV Smart Home 2016's Kitchen:
Located on the main floor, the 2016 Smart Home's kitchen flows seamlessly from the living room to the dining room. Its focal point is the graphic blue, green, and white tile used as a backsplash.
While the kitchen isn't the largest that HGTV has offered in its home giveaways, it maximizes its space with deep countertops and plenty of cabinets. A large island also offers seating space, a stainless steel sink, and even more countertop space.
With the comfortable screened porch inviting the Smart Home's owner to entertain lavishly and often, the kitchen also offers a beverage and bar center with a pass-through window to make serving guests simple. It also has a second, smaller sink to reduce congestion when getting ready for a party.
Appliances include a three-level wall oven consisting of a 30-inch oven, a convection microwave, and a warming drawer, a range with a stainless steel hood, and a stainless steel refrigerator with an ice and water dispenser. Oh, and don't forget the built-in coffee brewer!
The Pantry of the 2016 HGTV Smart Home:
The 2016 HGTV Smart Home's pantry offers much more than simple food storage. It also has a mud room, accessible from the garage, a desk where the home's owner can check mail and pay bills, and a comfy seating nook.
But it does have plenty of storage as well. Open and closed shelving let you store any kind of food or kitchen necessities while keeping them organized and close at hand.
10The Outdoor Areas of the 2016 Smart Home
While the inside areas of the HGTV Smart Home 2016 are stunning, the outdoor areas are also designed for pure enjoyment. Here are some of the home's loveliest outdoor living areas.
The Smart Home's Front Yard:
As guests approach the Smart Home 2016's front yard, they will be welcomed with customary Southern charm.
A curving walkway lined with colorful pavers leads up to the front porch, where four rocking chairs wait to greet guests. The Smart Home's owners can relax with a cool glass of lemonade, check their email, or have a chat with friends on the porch.
The HGTV Smart Home's Main-Level Screened Porch:
North Carolina might be part of the South, but there are plenty of chilly days and cold nights. But the screened-in porch on the main level of the HGTV Smart Home will stay comfy, thanks to the cozy fireplace it shares with the Master Bedroom.
And just because it's outside, don't think that interior designer Tiffany Brooks paid any less attention to the artwork and design of the screened porch. For example, there is a vivid piece of abstract artwork framed by a living wall of plants adding true pizzazz to the otherwise blank wall near the stairs leading down to the covered porch.
The screened porch also offers a dining table which seats six, placed near the pass-through window to the kitchen.
And what about outdoor cooking? Well, next to the stairs is a landing that holds an outdoor grill with infrared technology.
The HGTV Smart Home's Lower-Level Covered Porch:
The covered porch is located directly underneath the screened porch and next to the media room. It's separated from the media room by sliding doors, which can be closed for privacy or left open to create one large entertaining area.
The covered porch is divided into three seating areas, which let guests gather for intimate conversations or dine together. Guests will be treated to beautiful views of the wooded area behind the HGTV Smart Home.
Beside the covered porch, you'll find a small garage designed to hold large garden equipment and other outdoor gear.
The HGTV Smart Home's Garage:
The two-car garage features handsome doors that capture the feel of a carriage house. The garage has some handy smart features, including the ability to open or close the doors remotely, a programmable feature that will remind you if you leave the doors open, and a safety feature to prevent the doors from accidentally closing on a person or vehicle.