At the Quicken Loans Zing Blog, we love sharing tips from experts on the latest trends so you can enhance your own living space. I had the pleasure of picking the brain of Jack Thomasson, house planner of this year’s HGTV Smart Home and previous giveaways such as the HGTV® Urban Oasis and HGTV® Dream Home. What went into the process of creating this eco-friendly and technology-driven home, and how can those concepts translate to homeowners across the country? Here’s what he had to say!
VA: How was the location of the home determined and did the surroundings inspire your approach to the overall design?
JT: Our high-density location definitely mandated efficiency in our design. Our goal was for the house to live large in a relatively small footprint.
VA: How does the modern farmhouse design turn the notion of a traditional farmhouse on acres of land on its head and embrace the Imagine Austin development plan of a vibrant, livable and connected community?
JT: Everyone can connect with farmhouse design because it was the original American design. Plus, everyone associates Austin with wonderfully eclectic architecture; so, we took our architectural cues from Texas farmhouses and added a little Austin eclecticism!
VA: At what point in the process do you work with designers, interior furnishing experts and landscapers to make sure the house reflects all the right elements?
JT: I get my interior design and landscape teams involved from the very beginning so that they have time to understand the architecture and site goals. It needs to all fit together, and getting everyone on the same page from the beginning is critical.
JT: A properly designed home has “controlled ventilation,” which basically means ventilation when you want it. Because of the remote control features of the skylights in this year’s HGTV® Smart Home, letting fresh air into your house is easy and convenient. Natural light is the perfect substitution for electrical lighting because it’s free! It’s smart to turn off the lights and use natural lighting when and where possible. Well-placed skylights can balance the light in the room in such a way that the room actually feels better.
VA: What was the biggest challenge when working on this year’s Smart Home?
JT: Time is always our biggest challenge. We build these houses on a fast television schedule, but we refuse to sacrifice quality.
VA: Was there anything you had to get creative with that you weren’t anticipating?
JT: Getting creative goes with the territory because each house and location is different, and we try not to repeat our creative ideas from year to year.
VA: What was the most exciting part of planning this home?
JT: The most exciting part of planning each home is getting to work with a new team from the area and to share in their excitement to be working on an HGTV home project.
JT: LED technology in virtually every light fixture greatly reduces energy consumption in the house. Combine that with automated shade controls and a smart thermostat, and you can take control of your home’s energy use.
VA: What elements of the home might surprise folks as to how or why it’s energy-efficient?
JT: Skylights are most known for letting light into a room, but they also open to release heat in a home so your HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard to cool the house.
VA: What is your favorite aspect of the house that you hope the winner will appreciate?
JT: I love how this house flows from space to space both inside and out. It has a very smart floor plan that you have to live in to fully appreciate.
VA: Are there any elements that Zing readers could easily incorporate in their own homes?
JT: There are so many aspects of this home that your readers could incorporate into their own homes, from ideas in home décor to eco-friendly building products to easy-to-install technology that customizes a home to your particular lifestyle.
Don’t forget you can enter the HGTV® Smart Home Giveaway 2015 twice per day, now through June 2, 2015.
If so, subscribe now for tips on home, money, and life delivered straight to your inbox.