My new home - Project ideas

Well I have been asking questions in various threads attempting to come up with ideas. I figured I would start a single thread to maybe help me keep all the info in once place. We are building a new home. I would like to have a good base to start with, and also do some of the things that may be easier done while you have full access to insides of walls and such, in attempt to make it easier down the line.

I have lutron ra2 stuff coming for the inclusive training, and plan on using it for most of the lighting in the house, a few keypads and of course picos.

Still lots of things I have yet to fully decide on.

  1. Window treatments - Strongly leaning towards the Ikea zigbee stuff. I would prefer shutters, however I have not seen much decently priced in thsi area. Suggestions?

  2. Garage door opener - Are there any decent zigbee options out there, or is the best bet to roll my own? I very much want to keep my zwave network as small and stable as possible given as zwave just seems too flaky to me with recent developments… Though I am not completely against using the protocol.

  3. Smart appliances - Strongly leaning towards the lg thinq sutff for washer / dryer fridger as there is an actively developed integration by a solid dev. I am not sure if any other appliances are as well integrated?

  4. Smart vacuum / mop - leaning towards the irobot stuff, only cloud integration however this seems to be the norm for these lines of devices. Any local solutions that include self emptying devices?

  5. Whole home energy monitoring devices. - I have not fully looked into these as its more of a wish than a requirement.

  6. Anything else I may need to be thinking ahead of time on - stuff like power for smart blinds (where and how much? How are such systems installed). Should I consider strategically placing plugs for dashboards (I figure I would like at least two one for upstairs and one for downstairs for quick access to stuff).

  7. Video doorbell - Have any decent local solutions emerged out there?

  8. Surveillance - I am having a truly hard time deciding between blue iris, a dedicated NVR or a NAS setup.

Any and all input welcome - Thanks for be here for my journey!!

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Lot to go through with your post, but my $0.02 in regards to smart appliances is while they definitely are neat, they are pretty gimmicky and I would focus on being a good appliance first and being smart second. Like for instance if you have the budget for professional grade appliances like Thermador, Wolf, etc. then I personally would not let the fact that they aren’t smart dissuade you. I think even the most recent Thermador stuff is smart to some degree, Alexa only I think though.


Indeed there is, I figured different people would offer their take on different points they were familiar with. I guess if no one is interested I am on my own…

Very good point - As far as the thermador or wolf stuff, unfortunately will be well out of budget. Part of this whole process is to decide how much of this stuff will be useful for the money spent on it. Not sure there is much difference in the “quality” of the average consumer products (I would be really interested in what everyone thinks about the popular brands.) these days, everything is designed to wear out and break. At the same time I consider my HA to be more of fun / hobby / entertainment at this point so I do not mind spending a little for the “fun” factor.

There are obviously serious use cases - I have not found my current hub to be reliable enough to count on for anything mission critical - it would be awesome though, if it manages to send me an alert some day that saves the day lol…

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I think you should talk with @jchurch about this topic. He has some pretty cool shades in his house. And the setup to go with it. Also on serveillance as well. Reolink is his camera of choice. I’ve seen some of the things he does with it. I think he has a thread here on it. Brilliant.

As far as in walls. … no less than cat5e. And make sure it converges in one place. Contractors sometimes take that for granted. Pay attention to it. If you run cat for your surveillance always run 2 in case one is bad. ← sorry … personal experience left a sour taste in my mouth about making sure you get what you pay for.

Roll your own. I did a dry contact with an iris plug. Works like a charm. I think Jason did something with that too that was impressive. I’ll let him comment.

@jchurch is using a form of ai with node red and reolinks and rolled his own brilliant idea there too. I think I’m done tagging him now. I fall short on cameras. My hubs won’t let me have them wired.

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For shades I installed Somfy RTS both outdoor wired and indoor battery powered they work great. I use to control them which also is used to control my indoor DC ceiling fans too.

Agreed I highly recommend Reolink. I have 8 cameras that all plug into the Reolink NVR which powers them PoE. You can talk to the NVR over API’s so I use it to pull up live feeds on my Amazon fire tablet and Google Home hub. I also do snapshots of images and filtering via Google Cloud Vision AI.

I recommend to build your own. You can follow the process here.

When someone presses my doorbell I have some intelligence that occurs. You can see my Nodered flow here.


Is this stud-wall construction? Will it have an attic? Slab, crawlspace, or basement?

  1. Window treatment - I already had blinds so I installed the AXIS Gear they work fine a bit of a pain to setup but would likely go ikea for new blinds.

  2. Garage door opener - The Shelly 1 with a magnetic dry contact works really well and runs locally. But if you have an opener with the myQ cloud build it it makes it more difficult to install. I used to run mimolites but the circuit starts to fail after a year or two.

  3. Smart appliances - I have an LG fridge and clothes steamer. They are both nice I haven’t integrated them yet as I just haven’t seen a need. It just sends an alert to my phone with the app.

  4. Smart Vacuum - I like my irobot but wish I had waited and got the model with the self emptying option.

  5. Wire cat6 to your doorbell and anywhere you might install a security camera to future proof. It is a real pain to do later.

  6. Video doorbell - I wish I had a Doorbird D101S they have an open api and are POE but I haven’t seen a DH for it. They have come down in price.
    Ubiquiti also has the Unifi protect G4 doorbell but is local wifi and again I haven’t seen any DH.
    I got my Ring elite doorbell which is POE but cloud before the Unifi came out and the Doorbird was a lot more expensive at the time. I also have a lot of echo devices since both are Amazon they integrate well and you can create routines within Alexa instead of the hub taking load off of it.
    I even went one step farther and put one of my echo dots (mic muted) outside up above my door and created a routine with a custom greeting followed by Alexa telling them a joke while they wait.
    It also says “someone is at your front door” whenever motion is detected on all my echo devices so they know they are being monitored and really handy for the delivery guys that don’t ring the doorbell.

  7. Surveillance - Ubiquiti UDM pro with G4 pro cameras

@jchurch What did you use for your doorbell?

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Been very happy with my iRobot 960. Had it about 7 years and no complaints. There is an HE integration that uses Rest and cloud API calls. TBH its, not really need if you use the built in app. Pretty much a “set it and forget it” kinda thing. Looking to get the self emptying one next camelcamelcamel sale.

WAPs! Wireless Access Points on every floor. If house is wider/longer then 35 feet offset WAPs to create overlapping zones.

‘Structured Cable’ to all rooms, and panel in mechroom.

Conduit with pull string where possible, as strait as possible.

I love my G4 door bell! Bar far the nicest of all the tech bells I have installed. Love the custom LCD display message, walk up light, and storage/local access.

All that being said, you need to be in the Unifi eco system to have this guy on your options list. I’ve seen stuff about getting the feeds into BI, but think it needs to be in Unifi 1st. Not 100% on that.

Yeah that’s a tough call. If you do lean toward a NAS (for surveillance of other needs), I’d look at QNAP for power/$ or Synology for “ease of use”.

I run a few of each and I’ve really come to respect the power per dollar QNAP offers. With most models having on board SATA SSD support, and expansion cards that now support Dual PCI M.2 NVME SSD, 10GPS NIC, and AI capable GPUs, they have pretty much left the competition in the dust hardware wise. Granted you sorta need to know what your doing to take full advantage of all bells and whistle.

FYI - a beefy enough NAS can run a BI windows machine as a VM easy. Then some.

Recent beast just under $2k - overkill? depends on the workload

All and all your far ahead of most people even think about this stuff at this point. Best of luck with the new home!

Just a Xiaomi contact sensor that I soldered to a button on a little box so it “looks” like a plain doorbell but the smarts are all behind the scenes which is nice.


Excellent start… now…

Splurge and go with Lutron shades.

Add a Lutron VCRX to the system and connect it to any garage door opener even a MyQ system with a little hack which is easy and no soldier or weird crap required.

Gimick… pass on those.

No recommendation. I’m sure others can refer a decent one. Integration with them is still too ‘iffy’ that I don’t venture into them.

BrulTech Green Eye Monster (GEM)

DoorBird, 2N, Grandstream

I like Blue Iris if you have a machine to run it on. It’s local and can be integrated bi-directional with systems.

– Food for thought. The control system or hub is only a tiny fraction of the total expense to a true smart home. Spend the big money on systems that are open and can be integrated with any system so you are free to choose your control system as things evolve.

Sounds like a good idea.
How about putting in some boxes where you might want a sensor?
Run some Cat6 to them and you can use a POE to USB to power the sensors.

The Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI from Ecovacs integrations are also through the cloud, but it is a robot vacuum well worth to take a look at, it works really well and is a worthy alternative to the iRobot vacuums. There’s some good comparative reviews on YT. The mop-functionality is supposed to also be good, but I have never used that feature on my unit so can’t say anything about that part.

There’s a type of local integration as well, but I have yet to test it and as such don’t know how well it works with the T8 model since it is not specified as a supported model:


Hard wire, hard wire, hard wire! when you can use hard wired devices do use them ,and pull MANY extra cables! make certain to have power at all the right places, like above windows for curtains/blinds/shutters… PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!


Pull tubes. If you forgot it, you can at least add it later. Pull tubes are amazing!!

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Other thoughts
smart washer and dryer would be cloud based and not sure of the price increase but making non smart washer and dryer smart and local is fairly cheap just adding a power smart plug for the washer and a vibration sensor for the dryer. I modded mine for USB power. I hate changing batteries.
I only use mine for voice notifications when each has completed.

Power to anywhere you want a sensor.
Like door locks, door sensors, motion, and leak sensors.
My door locks I made 2 copper contacts at the top of my door frame with 2 other contacts on top of the door and powered 6 volts from a ups battery backup to them. So my door lock is only powered when closed.
(No reason to power it when open)

Also run a separate dedicated (2nd) hot water line from the farthest shower (from hot water tank) with a check valve back to the inlet of the hot water tank. So you can put a hot water recirculation system in. No waiting 2-3 minutes for your shower to heat up. Hot water in less than 30 sec.
My house was already built so I had to use the cold water line with automated valve. A dedicated line would have been much better.

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Leak sensors and water shutoff. Having lived through the recent weather incident in Texas (luckily with no damage), this has ben top of mind lately.


Thanks guys. You’ve given me lots to think about.

I’m very curious how accommodating the builders will be to my smart home endeavor.

Are things like adding extra ethernet lines or leaving pull tubing something they are likely to give me a hard time about? I am willing to do myself I was a union carpenter for a long time so am comfortable on the job sites. Just not sure if I’ll be allowed.

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only if you remember to always leave a pull wire in place AT ALL TIMES!!

yes im an electrician… from the school of hard learned lessons!!

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Your the boss, make sure you arrange it on your terms… i just re wired my house and pulled 2 cat6 to each wall mounted TV now im having to fit mini switches because its not enough… another hard lesson…

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I think that no matter how prepared you believe you are, things progress in a way that will leave you wanting. Always at a cost. The way my house is laid out, I’d just need pull tubes from the basement to the attic. We have drop ceilings in the basement, so we’re lucky in that sense. Seems we’re pulling wires every other weekend around here.