Smart home upgrades to a rural family home

Smart home upgrades to a rural family home

Connected home with natural feel

After 16 years of enjoying the suburban life in Auckland, successful electrical business owners Chris and Chantelle French decided it was time for their family, including two teenage children to make the move back to a taste of country life.

The dream move

“We'd been in town for a long time and we both grew up on farms when we were kids. So we were keen to just come back out into the country - we wanted that ruralness to be brought up with our children. It was always a bit of a dream.” said Chantelle.

After spotting an idyllic lifestyle property for sale on the outskirts of Auckland in late 2021, they sold up their home and decided to make the big move.

The large sun-soaked open plan living area with floor-to-ceiling windows, high pitched roof and majestic views over tranquil farmland and Rangitoto Island was perfect for the busy family. An impressive pool and spa area also offered easy outdoor entertaining surrounded by the distinctive sounds of farm and bird life.

“It’s the lifestyle, it's got everything here, it's nearly off-grid. So, that was a dream of mine is to go off the grid. And we're nearly there with that. The challenges are that we've had to learn to live off tank water again, but it brings back those childhood memories. It's been a nice challenge - refreshing actually.” Chantelle says.

The family found a home that had the conveniences of still being close enough to make the commute to school, work and all the essentials, while also being able to realise their rural aspirations.

kitchen and dining
switch on wall
installing switch

The Wiser solution

Fortunately for experienced smart home installer Chris, it was a challenge he could easily solve. Using a smart home system called PDL Wiser which is designed to be retrofitted into existing homes, Chris was able to upgrade to more modern electrical technology using the existing wiring in the home, which meant the home didn’t need any extensive renovations or cut-outs to the walls, which would have needed re-plastering and re-painting.

“At this house we had a lot of single switches, so rather than running extra cabling it was just as easy to put in a couple of Wiser smart mechs and then programme them so that the lights come on together. There was an area of the home where the roof was really low, it was going to be really hard to get wiring in there and very labour intensive. With the smart mechs this whole procedure was finished within about an hour.”

“The good thing about Wiser is it can be done slowly. You might have budget for the kitchen area or main hallway or something. It doesn’t need to be done all at once. It’s the building blocks basically. You don’t have to rewire the whole house.” Chris says.

iconic styl in outdoor
iconic styl in kitchen

Energy efficiency focus

Another benefit the French family has experienced since the home was updated is energy efficiency. “We have now managed to automate the entire house and I've got it so that at ten o'clock in the morning each day, all the lights and anything plugged into the smart power points are turned off. So cost-savings are quite good.” Chris mentions.

Along with the smart home system, fast USB charging has also been installed which can charge an average smartphone up to 70% charge in just 30 minutes. “The problem is we've only got one, so the kids fight over it” Chris laughs.

Having converted the electrical into the twenty-first century, it now feels much more like home, and ideal for this modern family. “It changes the whole ambiance of the house. It feels like home again.” Chantelle says

Their advice to anyone planning a new build or renovation is to get involved with the electrical. “Create the atmosphere. At the end of the day you are living in it and you want your home to be as personable as possible."