What it’s really like living in a smart home – an insider’s account

“We had twelve people round for dinner at Christmas, it’s the first time we’ve been able to do that.” Maggie Williams and her husband were among the first to take up residence at Sommar Place, the UK’s first smart development. “We moved from a small two-bed house where we could host four people maximum, and now we’re in a four-bedroom house with a balcony!”


The Williamses were primarily attracted by the space they could look forward to in their new home, but Maggie says she was excited about the technologies built into the house as well: “We’d looked at smart tech before,” she says. “We’re both Apple users and I work for a technology company so I knew about smart tech. We’re excited about it being part of the house.”

Living with smart tools has been a new experience for the couple, which Maggie describes as a learning curve. “We were given advice that you get the best value from it by automating to ease your daily routine, the daily things you do. So there’s been a process of identifying what those things are.”

Creating automated ‘scenes’ has made a particular difference. “We’ve found we’re economising our heating better and have set our plugs to turn off automatically at night. We can turn on lights in different rooms and the smart tech also adds a layer of protection around our home,” says Maggie.

A tool they were surprised to find useful during Christmas was the Netatmo Home Coach, which monitors air quality indoors. “It’s one of my favourite features,” says Maggie. “With twelve guests and candles burning, when we heard the alarm we realised that we were starting to feel a bit drowsy and should open the door. The ventilation system in the house makes a big difference here too.

“We have an incredible space for entertaining. It’s very flexible: we’ve got the big dining space, lounge and kitchen. For Christmas, we flipped the living room around and extended the table, and served drinks around the kitchen island.”

Keen hosts, Maggie and her husband knew they wanted an open-plan layout. “Sommar Place was the only development in our price bracket that had the style we wanted,” Maggie says. “In other new builds we looked at, often there’s a smaller open-plan space and then a living room upstairs but that wouldn’t have worked for us. The house was immaculate when we moved in, and Trivselhus have been helpful and quick about all snagging.”

Maggie and her husband are delighted with their new smart home. On whether they would consider buying more smart tools, Maggie says: “We may get a few more smart plugs, but otherwise we have all the smart tools we need. It was fun at the beginning, but now we love it!”

Updated: 4/29/2019

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