After weeks of online research, Mr. Thaler decided a hydraulic scissor lift would make his dream possible. New, the 500-pound piece of machinery costs close to $4,500, but Thaler was able to find a used model on eBay for $380, including shipping. The lift sits in a utility room below the kitchen accessible through a small door in an adjacent room. The door is camouflaged to look like a pool cue rack. Turn the ball rack above the door to the right and an RFID chip within matches up with a sensor on the other side of the wall and the door opens. - New York Times Gadgetwise
Tim Thaler further customized the setup by connecting the lift's controls to a Smarthome Insteon light switch, which gives him the ability to wow guests (or his cat) at the flick of a switch, iPhone app or from his Mac. It's quite an amazing feat (were you intently watching to see if the FLOR carpet tiles fell into place like we were?) and illustrates where there is a will, there is a way.
Obviously not many of us are capable or willing to install a full size hydraulic lift underneath their house, but there's maybe inspiration to perhaps hide away smaller eyesore elements at the flick of a switch, like a projector or large printer could follow suit on a smaller scale. And of course, integrating home automation can be used for things as simple as controlling your lights, fans and other appliances with a remote control.
Other automated inspiration posts: