Full house project - advice welcome


Well-known Member
Hello and apologies in advance for what is a fairly generic post on what is a big subject - but I have always found this community full of helpful and brilliant people.

So here goes.

We have bought an old an tired 1960s bungalow and are currently waiting for planning permission to start a project to transform it into a contemporary 2 storey family home with a heavy focus on sustainability (rainwater harvesting, renewable heating solutions, green roofs etc).

However as its practically a complete re-build it also presents an opportunity to focus on another area of interest - tech.

In my old house it was pretty basic - Ring doorbell, Nest heating system, Sonos system, all working over wifi (though I did have Cat 5 cabling from the router to 4 locations over the house). Alexa dots provided some element of smart control.

However the new house is the one that we intend to spend the next 20 years in and therefore there is a little more opportunity to do a little more - but am a bit overwhelmed.

Things that I have started to think about....

Audio - would like ceiling / wall speaker systems (less intrusive visually and don't require power sockets close by)
TV - likely to want Sky Q in 2 or 3 locations in the house, with at least one with a surround system (there is a playroom - that in future years could turn into a cinema room)
Smart heating
Smart lighting - both inside and outside
Security system - with a comms system at the external gates

Looking for anyone that has ideas / experience on a whole home project about what went well (and what did you wish you'd done).

Seb Briggs

Distinguished Member
The system I would recommend would very much depend on budget , number of smart devices (“lighting circuits, heating zones etc) ,, construction of the property

Also what type of control you would like


Active Member
Ok so a couple of things I might be able to add:

I wrote a book (it's on Amazon) that covers smart renovations and the type of cabling that you might need and where to connect it. I go through a home on a room by room basis with various options and ideas... Not just the obvious ones like cat6a over cat5e or using conduit if you can etc for future proofing, but things like leaving power behind mirrors in the bathrooms, as smart mirrors are going to be a thing and you'll need to power / connect them.

Fancy garden speakers? Or wifi in the garden? Depending on the size of the garden, you're going to need an access point potentially, but where will you connect that? Speakers on the patio? Permanently mounted? Where would you place the amplifier? If you go active, where would you place the power etc?

Amazon product

Secondly, depending on your media control, I've just been given a Violet Smartswitch Lite to test and review. If you're invested into Sonos, then this thing is blinding. It also works very well with philips hue, so touching on your point about smart lighting, if that's also on the radar (although appreciate it's not cheap), then maybe this might be worth a look:

Just published my set up and review of the Violet Smartswitch lite if anyone's interested. Http requests are coming which should open it up to Home-Assistant and Node-red nicely! I'm a fan...

If you're thinking of turning a room into a potential cinema room down the line, then ideally you need to decide where will all the goodies stand? i.e. thing where you'd want your screen? TV or projector? If pj, then you're going to need to think about burying a conduit or a pair of HDMI cables in the ceiling or wall going from the PJ location to the receiver/outputting device. PJ would need power. If screen motorised or fixed? If motorised, that's going to need power and usually a trigger cable connected to the PJ or receiver to tell it to come down or hide itself.

If you want a sub, they need power, as well as a mono cable back to the receiver, so positioning.

I could go on and on. Have advised on loads of installs for friends/family etc. Most of the time, everyone cables network back to a patch panel in the loft. Make sure you spec enough power sockets... Happy to chat off here if you want to get into it :)

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