Chicago's Smart Home, Redesigned

Chicago's Smart Home, Redesigned

Janel Laban
Mar 5, 2010

Two years ago, we went and photographed a house tour of the just-about-to open "Smart Home" at the Museum of Science & Industry on a gray, rainy morning. We made another visit there this week and it couldn't have been more different weather wise - it was bright, sunny and the first breath of spring seemed to be in the air. Things inside the home have changed radically as well - it's got a whole new interior design, put together by Midwest Living.

Carol Schalla, Senior Home & Projects Editor for Midwest Living designed the new interiors and the Smart Home's 2010 style is quiet, soft, light and "green" in materials and motifs. The colors are warm whites and beiges with plenty of dark brown to ground them. Natural textures abound, from wooly thick pile rugs to pillows in varying textural styles, from soft knits and fuzzy fur to spiky twisted felt and strips of raffia.

Wood is celebrated throughout the interior design, in the furnishings as well as decorative pieces such as thetwig chandeliers and a driftwood candelabra. Several pieces were designed especially for the Smart Home from reclaimed wood which was rescued after a very old bur oak tree located on the museum grounds fell during a storm last year. The side table stumps, dining table and headboard all use wood from this tree, which we found to be very much in keeping with the ideals and aesthetics of the Smart Home design.

Living Room
Sofas: Lee Industries, soy based cushions, recycled fiber filling for pillows with organic fabric covers, fsc and sfi certified wood frames, water based finishes
Area Rug: 100% wool from West Elm
Fireplace: EcoSmart Vision
Driftwood Candelabra: Roost

Dining Room
Dining Table: Barefoot Design
Twig Chandeliers: Deanna Wish Designs

Stump Tables: Terry Karpowicz
Chairs: Lee Industries, soy based cushions, recycled fiber filling for pillows with organic fabric covers, fsc and sfi certified wood frames, water based finishes

Home Office
Think Chair: Steelcase, cradle to cradle Gold level certified
Vintage Metal Barrister Bookcase: Room Service Chicago
Carpet Tiles: FLOR

Wallpaper: by York Wallcoverings, includes real dried magnolia leaves
Shower Tile: Blazestone, 100% recycled post-consumer glass
Sinks: Concreteworks, made of fly ash aggregate and recylced toilet porcelain aggregate
Floor Tile: salvaged marble from the Wrigley Building renovation

Wallpaper: Seabrook, made from natural paper and grasses
Dresser: Design Workshop, made from oak from sustainable forests in North Carolina, no paints or solvents used in finishing
Headboard: Terry Karpowicz
Organic Pillows and Sheets: West Elm

Bike: Belleville by Trek, made of eco-friendly materials
Kayak: 10 ft. kayak that folds into a backpack and weighs only 24 lbs
Composter: Nature Mill

Tech & Green Features:
Countertop with Built in Power Source/Charging Station Pad: the pad, by eCoupled is a source of "Intelligent Wireless Power". Simply place your phone or iPod on the pad for it to charge, special wireless appliances (such as the blender shown in the slideshow) will work when placed on the pad. The pad distinguishes between types of items set upon it to determine correct charge and will power down when the job is complete, using near-field inductive coupling.

Kill-a-Watt program on flatscreen helps to reduce the amount of overall energy consumption by measuring usage thoughout the home and displaying information in several different formats.

Photo Nook:
Digital Frame by Nix saves energy by only turning on and advancing photo slideshow when a person is present - it works by motion sensor.

Showertime timer can help reduce water usage. User can decide the amount of water to be used for each shower and timer will alert the user once that amount has been reached.

The newly designed Smart Home just opened to the public yesterday. To visit or for more info, check out on the Museum of Science and Industry website.

Images: Janel Laban


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