The integration team at Salem, Ore.-based Northside Homeworks was brought into this project near the end of the electrical rough-in, to automate a 1,600-square-foot condominium – a residence being readied for clients who were transitioning from a large, multi-level home to a contemporary space that would afford them a lifestyle of simplicity and convenience for when family and grandchildren came to visit, as well as suit the owners’ high-end lifestyle.

“The home is easy to get around,” explained Branden Pirot, custom integration manager at Northside. “There are no steps anywhere and it is elevator-accessible.” One of the directives was that the space needed to be transitional, for future needs, to ADA standards. It also needed to be as fully automated or as easily controllable as possible, room to room. This stipulation applied to nearly everything, including lighting, audio and video entertainment, the security system, climate control and heated flooring, among other amenities.

The ADA-compliant spirit was manifested in a moderate adjustment to the height of the wall-mounted control panels. “We made them slightly lower,” explained Pirot. “We usually place them 48 inches from the floor, and we dropped them down a bit. We didn’t want to make them much lower, because we didn’t want them to have to bend down to turn on a light, but for down the road we tried to thread the needle between now and later.”


The desire of the clients to operate everything simply and intuitively was accomplished by Northside, but a particular point of pride was the automated sunrise/sunset shading system, Pirot said. This solution was set in motion because of the location of the bedroom facing the East and overlooking downtown Salem. “In that direction, there aren’t many tall buildings, so when the sun comes up, it would have beat down on them in that room. So we discussed putting automated shades in there, and they loved the idea. So, 20 minutes before sunrise, the shades automatically drop if they were left up the night before, and then they are raised again in the evening, and go back down again for privacy at 10 p.m.”

This solution initiated a deeper “shade conversation” with the owners and finally, each room in the house was the beneficiary of Lutron roller shades – which also made sense in terms of UV protection of the condo’s furnishings.

The total design ended up reflecting the owners’ connected-home needs as well as their love for water and light – and Northside worked closely with the builder, interior designer and client to achieve the desired aesthetic.