The 2011 MSI Chicago Smart Home: Green + Wired

The 2011 MSI Chicago Smart Home: Green + Wired

Cambria Bold
Apr 28, 2011

Last Friday the Museum of Science and Industry unveiled its 2011 Smart Home—a three-story modular home redesigned with a couple and their 10-year-old son in mind. In addition to having some sweet technological advances (courtesy of their partnership with Gizmodo), the interiors are furnished by Scout owner Larry Vodak, who filled the home with vintage and "gently used" finds, rather than newly-made items. Check out all the features below:

If you're in Chicago, you can view the 2011 Smart Home in person from now until January 2012. Here are a few examples of what you'll find on your tour:

  • University of Chicago laboratory cabinets, circa the late 1940s, that have been refurbished to serve as elegant and sophisticated kitchen cabinetry.
  • A large utilitarian storage cabinet—that spent more than 50 years in a U.S. Post office in Springfield, Ill., is used for a one-of-a-kind platform for the most modern of flat screen TVs.
  • One console, formerly from a Bodine Electric Company office has been transformed into two bathroom vanities, complete with a black lacquer finish.
  • Tile in the master bath had a former life in factory walls.
  • An otherwise common steel dresser taken from a motel on Chicago's South Side has been carefully stripped of 60-year-old paint, revealing a very contemporary steel grey finish.
  • Pieces from the Museum's industrial photo collection, some of which have been off display for decades, are used as artwork in the living room.
  • A "life table" in the dining area, created from salvaged planks, allows for more than just eating; it's the perfect setting for kids' homework or various projects.
  • Steel stools, salvaged from a manufacturing plant in Minneapolis, have been stripped and buffed to the original steel.
  • Chairs in the living room have been recovered in beautiful bright blue material made from recycled car tires.
  • Chandeliers by Ted Harris are made from grouping together old CFL tubes.
  • A vintage trough is filled with moss to create a natural centerpiece in the dining area.
  • Repurposed bicycle tire inner tubes have been hand-stretched into collectible works of art by artist Michael Nicholson.
  • Contemporary rugs have been pieced together from pieces of vintage Turkish kilim rugs.
  • A home automation system that monitors and manages the energy consumption of every room, and each appliance, from a single touch screen panel.
  • A Cybertecture Mirror on the wall in the master bath that's fog-resistant and waterproof, and can also deliver the day's time, temperature, news and traffic to you, right at that first peek in the mirror.
  • A lawnmower that runs on solar power, and a hydroponics system that allows the gardener to start growing seedlings in cooler weather to get ready for spring.

Check it out for yourself!

April 22, 2011 – Jan. 8, 2012

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago; 57th and Lake Shore Drive

The exhibit requires a ticket with a specified entry time. This ticket, which includes general Museum admission, is $23 for adults, $22 for seniors and $12 for children 3-11. City of Chicago residents receive a discount. Advance ticket purchase, via, is recommended.

Thirty-minute tours of the Smart Home run every 10 minutes, but the number of daily tours differ depending on Museum hours. Regular Museum hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day, and extended summer hours, until 5:30 p.m., are offered from May 27 to Sept. 5, 2011. Check to determine daily Smart Home tour times.

Read More: The 2011 Smart Home at the Museum of Science and Industry

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