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September 23, 2014 / Maggie Mercer / 0 Comments / Architecture & Design

Classic Architecture Meets Modern Technology

Luxury homes come in all different shapes and sizes. Art Deco, Contemporary, Colonial, Mid-Century Modern, French Provincial, Mediterranean, Modern, etc. Whatever your taste though, there’s one thing many of these styles have in common these days, and that’s the high-tech gadgetry that has brought “smart” living to a whole new level. Take for instance West Court, a luxury property found in Britain. The house is a beautiful example of period Arts and Crafts architecture, but is being touted as possibly the most high-tech house on the British market. Found in Berkshire along the River Thames, the  £10 million (about $16,411,200 US) listing is one of the most expensive outside London and the Surrey commuter belt, according to a recent Telegraph article. While the original 19th-century design is breath-taking, even the original architects of the nine-bedroom mansion would be impressed with the latest technological upgrades.

Wired with smart technology means the heating and lighting throughout the entire house is programmable via mobile phone, allowing homeowners to control energy usage from afar. Speaking of heating, the house is incredibly eco-friendly with heat pumps installed below ground. Heat-exchangers were also installed, designed to provide warmth in winter and cool the air in the summer. Another built-in feature is the sound system, which is hidden in the ceiling, avoiding unsightly wiring and speakers. And because it streams personal music collections or internet radio stations, there’s no need for dust-collecting equipment.  And that’s not the only smart entertainment gadget. Televisions in all rooms are controlled from a central hub, allowing different programs to be watched in different rooms at once, and gives parents the power to see what their kids are watching in their rooms. Now that’s smart!

The tech-savvy updates were made by current owners, Ray Peck and Nicki Holland when they renovated after purchasing it in 2006. While the couple put millions into updating the home, some original features remain, like the 40-foot oil painting of the Spanish Armada, commissioned by William West, the original architect and homeowner.  Another unique feature is the fitness center, which is framed by a 1901 vaulted ceiling with carved oak panels, complete with a period panelled fireplace. The Arts and Crafts design is complete with a picturesque turret, original to the home, which houses the stand-alone master bath and another suite above, set entirely within it. Altogether there are seven en-suite bathrooms and most of the nine bedrooms have balconies that overlook the river. The property is complete with a swimming pool, boat house, and two-bedroom guest house. Without the technological upgrades, the home is a stunning example of period architecture, but with the latest renovations, this luxury property has married classic design with futuristic convenience, a trend that will likely continue in the real estate industry.

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