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Meet Brisbane’s smart home on steroids – ‘MERAKI’

As featured on, by Liz Tilley.

FACE recognition in front doors, sunroofs in bathrooms, voice controlled lighting — even retractable pool diving boards.

No longer just for the rich and famous, smart technology is becoming as integral to a home as plumbing and electricity, with the potential to add hundreds of thousands of dollars in value.

Home buyers and builders are now demanding the latest ‘must-have’ smart features in their abodes as security, safety and spending more time at home become a priority.

In-ceiling TV dropper (controlled by smart touch panel, smart remote or app) feature at recently completed Palm Beach project.

Electronic Living founder Damian Cavanagh said smart homes were becoming as common as smart phones, with people realising the value of features like keyless entry, remote access to security cameras and voice activation.

“We are literally at ‘The Jetsons’ age now — the future is here now. It ties into this whole contactless thing. We want to do things, but we don’t want to touch them. One of the biggest drivers for modern families now is safety and security, with people spending more time at home and with the economy the way it’s going.” Mr Cavanagh said.

This smart home at Belmont by Romark Design Constructions won ‘House of the Year’ at the 2020 Master Builders’ Awards.

The Control4 NEEO remote is a new product to market that controls everything in the home, similar to the app or touch panel, but giving the option for tactile buttons.

Mr Cavanagh’s home automation company is working on what is being dubbed a ‘smart home on steroids’ in Brisbane’s inner north.

The custom-designed house will have out-of-this-world features such as a retractable, voice activated skylight in the ensuite, in-ceiling televisions, motorised custom paintings to conceal storage areas and smart lighting with custom programmed scenes such as: ‘Good morning’ and ‘Party time’.


A render of the ‘smart home on steroids’ under construction in Kedron by Thallon Mole Group, designed by Base Architecture.

The Kedron property has been designed by Base Architecture and is being built by Thallon Mole Group for a private client.

The three-level house will also include a glass-encased lift, a pool on the second level with a circular viewing window and a waterfall infinity edge, and a balcony bath weighing two tonnes.

A render of the kitchen and living area inside the smart home being built in Kedron by Thallon Mole Group.

Mr Cavanagh said smart home technology could add tens of thousands of dollars in value to a home at a minimum, and even potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We firmly believe the worst case scenario is whatever you spend (on smart home automation), you’ll get back. There’s now an expectation that if you’re spending $1.5 million or more on a home, you want it to be equipped with smart technology. He said.

A render of the smart home under construction in Kedron by Thallon Mole Group. Image supplied by Base Architecture.

Another smart home at 44 Reading St, Paddington, built by Graya Construction, recently sold for an eyewatering $4 million.

Rob Gray of Graya Construction said one of the main reasons the buyer paid bought the property was because he loved the integrated smart technology.

This smart home, named Laurent, at 44 Reading St, Paddington sold for $4m, and also took out a Master Builders award recently. 

“It’s fast becoming the ‘must-have’ in luxury homes and all our clients are requesting it. Not all can afford it, however, we strongly believe it adds the value to the home come resale.” Mr Gray said.

The kitchen in the smart home, named Laurent, at 44 Reading St, Paddington. 

Voice control capabilites at Laurent are endless.

Mr Graya said the top five smart features most requested by clients included security, entry access control, audio visual, lighting and home entertainment systems.

Mr Cavanagh said demand for smart homes had “trickled down to the entry level market”, with project builders now approaching him for smart home solutions because their clients were requesting it.


A smart fireplace controlled by voice activation at LAS PALMAS project by Electronic Living.

“A household these days has an average of six or seven wireless devices,” he said. “The demand for this is not going away anytime soon.”

“We’ve had a real shot in the arm from a technology standpoint with COVID-19, particularly with people spending more time at home, now, and into the future.”

Home cinemas and entertainment systems are in demand, according to Electronic Living.


  • Smart intercoms that can be answered remotely via phone and allow access to the home from anywhere in the world
  • Unlocking doors and gates remotely via phone
  • Entertainment mood settings
  • Smart light switches
  • In-ceiling television dropper (controlled by smart touch panel, smart remote or app)
  • Motorised television slider, so when the client selects “watch tv” the panel moves out of the way to reveal the TV and it automatically turns on
  • Voice control of whole home — individual commands such as; “Turn the lounge room lights on” or programmed scenes such as “Hey Google, good morning”, which recalls the scene of your choice
  • Home cinema
  • AV equipment rack. Hidden away in a well ventilated cupboard so not to impede the interior styling of the home. Smart cabling runs from this central location, to each point in the house (TV’s, touch panels, ceiling speakers etc.)
  • Control4 NEEO remote. This is a new product to market that controls everything in the home, similar to the app or touch panel, but giving the option for tactile buttons.
  • Remote viewing of CCTV cameras
  • Smart fire place (turn on/off) via voice command or smart control panels
  • Discrete landscape or in-ceiling speakers
  • Smart blind controls

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