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  • Writer's picturegreg2950

A New York City church transformed.

In this week's blog we take a look at a NYC church transformed by its owners into a smart home:


Don’t judge a book by its cover. Case in point? This stunning New York City six-story townhouse. From the curb, this stately beauty in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood exudes classic New York brownstone. But few passers-by know of this property’s unusual past life —or of what now lies behind the front doors. Before the current owner bought it, this property was actually part of a catholic church called The Church of the Sacred Heart. The building served as the rectory, where the Brothers lived and studied to become priests.

After purchasing the 110-year old building, the owners gutted it and designed the home they had always wanted for their family. And, these owner’s had a vision that was an unusual one: They wanted to keep the exterior in the classic brownstone decor, but inside, they wanted a totally different look. A classic facade outside, but when you walk in, you’re in a modern loft.

Having experienced the power of automation with a basic system at their country home, these owners were keen to make sure that the renovation of their city dwelling would include an integrated control system. "In such a vertical space, we knew automation was an essential,” said the onwers. “When you’re up on the sixth floor, and you left the radio on on the first floor, it’s no fun.”

At the onset, the plan for the new home system was fairly elementary, just lighting in the staircase and common areas. as the owners learned more about what automation could do, they were able to pinpoint their requirements. And to realise the vision of the modern interior, the owners knew high-tech was imperative. “There’s no way you can recreate that modern look without integrating it with the modern conveniences of technology."

Once the installer and the homeowners decided on a flexible, adaptive and cost effective system of choice, they were then able to start the concept and design phase. So, together with an architect, the owner and the installer transformed the former rectory into a futureforward, 8,000-square-foot family home.

A collaborative design process, the result is sleek and modern, and it’s laden with smart features. The system includes lighting, distributed video, 15 audio zones, HVAC integration, two door stations, two Wireless Music Bridges, motion sensors, and hi-tech extras on each floor.

A major highlight of the house is the new giant windows on the southern side. The entire back of the brownstone is now glass— windows over 20 feet high look out onto the back yard. Of course, the owners didn’t want the windows open and exposed at all times; they wanted control over the light, the view, and their privacy. The immense windows now feature motorized shades (both blackout and sheer) that are part of the automated system.

In the mornings, certain lights in the house automatically turn on. The system also now features several conveniences that tackle the challenges of living in a home with so many levels. Upstairs in the master suite, the owners can hit a button on the Touch Screen marked “Midnight Snack,” which gently lights a path down to the kitchen. Another great feature that is so subtle, the family doesn’t even realise it’s happening: When the sun begins to go down in the evening, lights in some parts of the home slowly—very slowly—begin to brighten. Over 45 minutes, as it gets darker outside, the lights increase inside.

Lighting also helps guests at night, showing the way from any of the bedrooms to the common areas in the dark. The system saves the owner from unnecessary trips up and down stairs in other ways, as well. For instance, the house features six temperature zones. If someone leaves the AC on down on the lower level, the owner can turn it off from his phone way up on the rooftop deck.

Because this home is located in an urban, metropolitan area, security is key, and home automation delivers. When the owner hits the “Away” button on his way out the front door, the house turns to “unoccupied” mode. The giant shades are lowered, lights are turned off, and if anyone rings the doorbell or enters the home before he returns, the owner will receive instant email notifications.

However, as great as this property is, the owners know that once their nest is empty, so to speak, it will be too big of a space for just a couple. But, they also know the cost of adding the system will be worth it, when they're ready to sell. “On the resale, the system will absolutely pay for itself,” the couple says.


Installing a control system in a renovated home offers unparalleled convenience and modernisation, transforming the way homeowners interact with their living spaces. This innovative technology seamlessly integrates various systems and devices, enhancing comfort, security, and efficiency.

One of the primary benefits is the ability to centralise control. Through a user-friendly interface on smartphones or tablets, homeowners can manage lighting, heating, cooling, security, and even entertainment systems with ease. This centralised control simplifies daily routines, allowing for customisation and scheduling to suit individual preferences.

Moreover, a control system enhances energy efficiency. Smart thermostats optimise heating and cooling, saving on utility bills. Automated lighting systems adjust brightness based on natural light, reducing energy consumption. Smart sensors detect occupancy and adjust settings accordingly, minimising wastage.

Security is another crucial aspect. Integrated surveillance cameras, doorbell cameras, and motion sensors provide real-time monitoring and alerts, ensuring peace of mind. Access control systems allow homeowners to grant or deny entry remotely.

A control system in a renovated home offers convenience through centralised management, energy savings, and heightened security. It's a smart investment that not only modernises the living space but also simplifies daily life, making it more comfortable and efficient.


To chat with a certified smart home installer about your extension or renovation plans, contact the Luxavo Team:

Luxavo Email: or Phone: (01) 908 1202 or (042) 942 0261

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