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Kitchen of the Year

Kitchen of the Year
Apple and Leviton Partner to Bring Automation to the Kitchen of the Year

Jon de la Cruz, designer for the House Beautiful 2017 Kitchen of the Year, was looking to enhance his spectacular creation with a unique technology slant for a San Francisco home. He called on Apple and Leviton to provide a smart solution that blended perfectly into his aesthetic, and the result was truly incredible. Leviton chose to implement Decora Smart with HomeKit technology paired with an Apple iPad, providing scheduling, remote access, and Siri voice control.


During the opening party with Hearst Publishing and the San Francisco design community, Jon was able to utilize Siri to run a Party Mode, automatically adjusting all lights to certain percentages ideal for mingling and sharing. As one can imagine, there are many beautiful light fixtures in different areas being controlled, that each highlight different design components, seating areas, or work spaces. For instance, in "Party Mode", the Chandelier over the banquet moves to 33%, the recessed can lights shift to 26%, the artwork lighting adjusts to 100%, the pot rack lighting is set to 33%, the kitchen island lights illuminate to 33%, and so-on.

Additional scenes were created, for instance Late Night Snack, which only illuminates the light nearest the refrigerator, ensuring a safe and peaceful midnight dining experience. Your secret snack is safe with Leviton, don't worry about waking your family. Simply press "Good Night" upon your exit to turn all lights off.


When guests privately toured the Kitchen of the Year, the designer's team could easily use an Apple iPad, Apple iPhone, or Apple Watch to select an individual fixture and dim it down or brighten it, depending upon what they were highlighting with this particular guest - the artwork, the cabinetry, the countertops. Of course, the Leviton smart dimmers still work like regular dimmers, so often the hosts would walk to the physical dimmer or switch to turn it on or off, or dim or brighten. We don't have to use an app or our voice, it's comforting to know one can always use the physical switch itself. "Voice control is a thrilling and familiar way to enact control," said Greg Rhoades, a Director of Marketing for Leviton. When the kitchen was revealed to the homeowners, the children flocked to the iPad and were using Siri to turn all the lights on and off with only their voice. "Siri, turn all lights on!" and "Hey Siri, Turn Kitchen Island to 75%".


Without any extra hardware besides Leviton smart devices and an on-site iPad, schedules were also created to automatically turn light fixtures on and off based on time. For example, at 6AM every morning, the interior designer wanted certain lights to illuminate at certain percentages. Then, at noon, to automatically change the lighting. Finally, at night to turn everything off so that the homeowner doesn't have to remember to turn off the lights.


Not only did the homeowners and designer love the technology and how it was discreetly applied to the home, but the installing contractor was thrilled with the ease of installation and setup from the iPad. "Leviton has definitely brought home lighting automation into this fabulous kitchen", said Chris Rose, of The Circuit Doctor. "Seeing first hand the simplicity of your product makes me want to talk about it even more."


But it wasn't only smart devices that Leviton provided. As well, GFCI's to protect against electrocution were utilized throughout the kitchen and paired with clean matching screwless wallplates for a sleek appearance that blended right into the cabinets, wallpaper, and countertops.

Additionally, the iPads were plugged into the Leviton USB outlet that includes two standard receptacles for small appliances, as well as two USB outlets for rapid charging of phones and tablets. These devices actually have a smart chip inside to detect the device being plugged in, and provides the proper amount of power to quickly recharge. No one wants a dead iPad during a big party!

The House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year will be promoted in the October 2017 edition of the magazine.


J Chris Rose

The Circuit Doctor, San Francisco, CA