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You can have a home automation system even the Jetsons would be proud of

Award-winning interior designer, Patricia Davis Brown, explains how automating your home during your remodel with systems and controls for lighting, security, media and remote equipment management can enhance your home and lifestyle.

In today's high-tech world, automating your home for efficient management and total enjoyment now can also improve its perceived value at resale. And what better time to consider automating your home than in the planning and design stage of a remodel, so you get wired for the automation package that best fits your lifestyle? Your contractor should be able to introduce you to an automation company that can customize your home to satisfy all your automated needs.

Everything at the press of a few buttons

Can you imagine a world at your finger tips? You walk in your door and disarm your security system and your lights come on, the temperature adjusts and with a touch of your SMART phone your favorite music plays. No, it's not a dream, and it can be your life.

Explore the many ways home automation can meet your needs:

1. Media management. The way we purchase, store and listen to music has totally changed from a decade ago. Everybody seems to be plugged in. Even my new yoga mat has an IPod plugin for music. We expect to have music at our finger tips, so why not at our home and in every room? You can also have a centralized storage component that allows you to dial up your music by artist, album and genre and then store your own personal playlists. This type of system also includes movies, photos and any other digital content. The coolest part of all is you can access your system from any room in your house with your SMART phone!

2. Lighting control. The best lighting design is layered, in other words, lighting design that integrates general, task and accent lighting needs. In well-lit spaces you need all these different zones of lighting, and you have separate switches that control each of them. With automated lighting controls, you need only one central switch as opposed to several, so aesthetically, it's a much cleaner look. With lighting control you also have the ability to preset lighting scenes, so to confuse potential intruders, you could have typical configurations set to run throughout the day when you are out of town.

3. Security and surveillance. Automation allows you to monitor your home whether you are there or thousands of miles away. You can equip your home with security cameras you can view from work or anywhere.

4. Equipment management. Outfit your home with automated shades that are programed to rise and lower to protect your home and products from heat or harmful glare that could fade fabrics and artwork. At the push of a button you can open and close the shades for privacy, even on windows and skylights that are out of reach. Any equipment you can think of from pool to sprinklers and more can be automated with today's technology.

No matter how small or elaborate you want to make your home automation system, the best time to do it is during the planning stages of your remodel. Remember my motto, if you "fail to plan, plan to fail." And work with licensed and insured contractors for the most relaxed remodeling.