Smart Home Retrofit | Step 1 - Sketching out a Plan

The first step in any smart home, whether it be a retrofit like mine or new construction, is to sit down and sketch out a plan of action. This could be a simple list of needs and wants, a red-lined floor plan, or even a complete bespoke system design. Luckily I found a set of plans tucked away in a closet that were left behind by the builder in 1969. This was a huge find! It gave me a quick reference to the room dimensions and even better - the original electrical plan.

One of the first things I identified in the house we purchased was the complete lack of modern lighting. No recessed lighting, no ceiling fans, nothing you would normally see in a house built today. In fact, there weren't any lights in any of the rooms except the kitchen. All of the living areas and bedrooms were only using switched outlets for table lamps.

Here are a couple of pictures to help establish a base-line of what we were working with.

Oh yeah. Wood paneling and carpet. 1969 here we come...

I set out to recreate the plan I had in Microsoft Visio (a 'vector-ish' drawing program used mostly for flow charts and data planning in the IT world) so I could visualize what we were trying to accomplish. I use Visio just about every day at work so it isn't a stretch to use it for this. As well as keeping a list of ideas on an organizing tool called Trello. If you haven't used Trello and you need to make lists and keep things organized I can't recommend it more. I got Jason hooked and he isn't going back to using anything else. :-)

Don't be fooled - the plan above is no where near complete but it gives us an idea of where lighting fixtures are going to fit around furniture for the future. In fact I don't plan on putting in most of this lighting but getting the ideas out of my head were step one. Maybe one day in the future I'll revisit this plan and add a few more loads in. Until then... there's plenty of work to be done. 

First, you make a plan. Then you make a hole.

More on that and other information about the project to come.

We'll also be covering what I'm up to on the podcast so be sure to listen there for more. Feel free to reach out with questions too. I'd be more than happy to answer just about anything you want to know.

Let's get started.

- Seth