Being able to dim the staircase lights in the home-theater room with my voice. Watching my golf ball virtually fly for hundreds of yards in the garage (OK, maybe just 125 yards). And talking to Alexa through a smart mirror. These are just some of my favorite gadgets in the HGTV Smart Home 2019 in Roanoke, Texas, which is part of a prize package that's worth $1.2 million.
Credit: HGTV/Scripps NetworksMixing Southwestern charm with high-tech amenities, this 3,400-square-foot dream home is chock-full of fun surprises but also thoughtful design touches that are designed to make your life better. Here's our comprehensive tour of the HGTV Smart Home for 2019. And be sure to go here to enter for your chance to win the big prize package.
Master Bathroom: Alexa, Alexa on the wall
The first thing you notice when you enter the master bathroom is that there's black tile everywhere, which really helps the white countertops to pop. Speaking of which, a Sony smart TV pops up right from the countertop when you tell Alexa to turn it on, thanks to a compact TV lift from Nexus 21.
"In utility areas, such as kitchens and baths, it's always good to at least pretend you don't have that much stuff out, said Tiffany Brooks, the designer of HGTV's Smart Home for 2019. "So if we find ways of concealing things that some people consider clutter like appliances and televisions and technology itself, it's always a double win."
Credit: HGTVThat hidden magic applies to Alexa itself, as you don't need an Echo Dot to talk to Amazon's assistant while you're getting ready. The HGTV Smart Home 2019 has Kohler's new Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror, which has Alexa built in.
Master Closet: Hidden safe, Dry cleaning alternative
What's the point of a walk-in closet if you can't fit everything in it? That's where the Automated WardrobeLift comes in. With the push of a button, you can have motor-powered closet rods descend from the ceiling so you can grab that shirt.
If that shirt or blouse happens to be wrinkled, you can toss it in the Swash system for a quick refreshing in just 10 minutes. It uses Swash Pod cups ($8.99 for 10 cups) to keep your garments looking good.
The closet in the HGTV Smart Home is also home to a hidden safe from Willa-Hide. This full-length concealment mirror can hide everything from jewelry and cash to firearms, complete with a lock.
Kitchen: Hidden conveniences
The kitchen in the 2019 HGTV Smart Home has the fewest gadgets but it's also arguably the smartest room in the house. And that's because of all the ways it helps keep your stuff organized.
For instance, a cutting board with a small hole cut into it slides out right above the garbage can; that way, you can just swipe peels right into the trash.
There's also a handy mixer lift for swinging out a standing mixer from one of the lower cabinets, and slide-out storage in one of the other cabinets for all of your pot lids.
Theater Room: Lights, camera, comfy
I've always wanted a room in my house that gave me a true movie-theater feel, but for now, experiencing this room in the HGTV Smart Home will have to tide me over. The centerpiece is a 120-inch screen with an Epson 4K 4050 Pro Cinema projector providing the picture.
But it's the little details that really make this room feel magical. Using your voice, you can dim the lights built in to the stairs as you walk from one row of comfy chairs to another.
Credit: Tomas Espinoza/HGTV"With little touches like that we draw a lot of inspiration off of commercial spaces," Brooks said.
Credit: LogitechOr you can use the Logitech Harmony Elite remote and press a single button to transition from TV mode to movie mode, which also happens to turn the lights behind the screen to red.
Other amenities include a 7.1-surround-sound audio system, an old-school popcorn maker and Bissel’s IconPet High-Powered Robotic Vacuum (coming this fall) to clean up any messes.
Garage: Virtual driving-range awaits
The garage in the HGTV Smart Home has a workbench with a TV, which makes it easy to watch how-to videos on YouTube when you're working on little projects. But the real fun starts when work is done.
Near the back wall of the garage is a drop-down screen you can hit golf balls into using the very high-tech SkyTrack Golf simulator (from $1,995). You can play several championship courses virtually, which get projected onto the screen via a ceiling-mounted projector and beamed from an iPad app.
The SkyTrack launch monitor can track your swing and the flight of the ball; I didn't hit it very far or fast, but at least now I know I need to work on my game. For Brooks, it’s all about giving the home an "air of entertaining."
Because this part of Texas can experience intense storms, the garage is also home to a 4 x 6-foot storm shelter from Family Safe that’s built to withstand up to EF5 tornadoes.
Backyard: Backyard movie night, privacy screen
With a big-screen Sony TV, sofa and fireplace right outside the back door, the exterior of the HGTV Smart Home is quite cozy. And you can keep the bugs and prying eyes away with the push of a button. A custom Phantom Screen is there for when you want to enjoy the great outdoors in private.
There's also a floating deck (complete with built-in lights) that leads to an entertainment space with another 120-inch screen from Dragonfly. That way, you can have a movie night with the family as you gather around the outdoor table and have some barbeque.
"Yeah, that was a fun space to do because in Texas they do have their seasons," Brooks said. “I would say about three of them are perfect to hang out outside.”
I didn't get to try this out, but the Robomow looks like it will come in handy. This app-controlled lawn mower promises a clean cut using its sharp blades. That way you can kick back and sip lemonade while your robot does all the work.
Security: See who's at the door
The HGTV Smart Home for 2019 is again protected by Simplisafe's easy-to-use security system. I can tell you that the alarm is loud, as I accidentally tripped it while we were filming the home. More important, you can see who's at the door and talk to them with the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro.
The 1080p video from this video doorbell is crisp and wide (162 degrees), and the motion alerts work well. However, you don't get Alexa or Google Home integration with this device.
Design: A subtle nod to Texas
When you think of Texas you might think of big and bold aesthetics, but that's not what the designer wanted for the HGTV Smart Home. Brooks calls it a modern gothic style, which you'll see in everything from the family-room lights that look like they were taken from an old church to the leather wrapping on the chimney.
Credit: HGTV"I wanted to go for an overall contemporary feel with subtle nods to Texas — that's where you'll pick up the leather and why we styled the house with cowboy boots and things like that." One of the bedrooms also has a couple of guitars hanging above the bed.
One of her favorite rooms is the sitting area, which she says "is perfect for sitting back and reflecting.' It also helps that it has a Velux Active skylight automation system. You can control them via a smartphone app to let in natural light and fresh air. The system is smart enough to automatically open based on the weather forecast and and indoor temperature.
The HGTV Smart Home for 2019 is aspirational, for sure, but it's also designed to be a source of inspiration for people looking to make their own homes more livable and less complicated.
"I deeply rely on research to get ideas for making homes that logistically help people live better, because to me is what makes a home smart," Brooks said. "Here's storage ideas, here's to enjoy this in the home, but not make it an eyesore. Just ways of making living a little bit easier.'
Credit: Tom's Guide