3 years ago, my husband and I completed an 18-month build of what would be considered our primary residence off Florida’s southeast coast on a corner alcove with direct access to the Intracoastal Waterway. We hired a dream team of experts in the fields of custom mid-century modern building, architecture & interior design — with an emphasis on sustainable materials throughout. Taking a nod from Architectural Digest, (as well as a few raving colleagues) we consulted with a lighting designer on how to incorporate human-centric lighting (more commonly referred by its buzzword, circadian rhythm lighting) into our primary bedroom & the kids’ adjacent bedrooms — along with our large, albeit, shared office space downstairs.
The home was planned meticulously and what I appreciated the most was the team’s ability to limit our decision-making sign-offs to a bare minimum. They were the experts and knew our vision.
Because of the nature of my husband Erik’s business, we travel internationally 20% of the year and take the summers off to see family in New York and Texas. The home was planned with a 7-8 months residency/year in mind & enough space allotted to host 2 fundraisers along with our annual company Christmas party for Erik’s 175 employees and guests.
We broke ground in Summer 2015, and by Christmas 2017 we were putting decorations on the tree in our 6,500 sq. ft., 4 bedroom home. We equipped it with a pool house, club room, family room, open concept kitchen/dining/living space, front & rear patios, 4-car garage, and a rooftop observation deck. We loved our new home so much that we found ourselves traveling family in to visit us instead of escaping the South Florida heat to journey north June – August. For the first time in 20 years, I considered slowing down, taking up a new hobby or perhaps jumping back into law, a career I loved but gave up when I had the twins.
Fast forward to February 2020.
After spending 3 weeks in Singapore wrapping up long-awaited due diligence on a project that seemed to take a backseat to the mounting viral threat, my husband called to inform he’d be on the next flight out as they were beginning to implement travel restrictions and whatever he needed to finish would have to (reluctantly) be completed remotely.
That word hung in the air like a weight.
Knowing my husband’s rigorous schedule and the uncertainty the virus would bring to his company, not to mention our home schedules, I felt the need to move quickly in preparation of his arrival home.
John, our beloved property manager of 10 years who handled so many things above and beyond what his job title asked of him, anticipated my panic. While I busied myself with checklists, phone calls, and an otherwise masked version of insanity in between scrolling ad nauseam through social media, I noticed John on the phone near the office in what appeared to be a delightfully casual conversation surrounding the iPad controller in the hall. Moments later, I overhear a confirmation of date and time and a series of “thank yous” that followed.
“That was your home’s technology company, Bravas. They’ll be here tomorrow at noon to do a network overview and answer any questions we have about bandwidth and increased capabilities in anticipation of any unplanned changes.” He might as well have been speaking in tongues. My understanding of our home’s technology is that it worked and in 3 years I hadn’t really thought about it much.
The next day, our technician Anthony arrived, and almost immediately it was clear that he and John seemed to be long lost pals.
Upon further inquiry, it turns out John and Anthony communicated on a quarterly basis and on-demand as needed.
I quickly learned the following about the technology company my designers, architect and builder worked so closely with but seemed rather elusive to me:
- They have a 24/7 command center that proactively monitors abnormalities in our home network and fixes them before we even know they’re “down”.
- They were part of the building process of our home before we even stepped foot inside the foundation.
- My house has a technology closet where all the equipment is kept. It’s silent enough where unless I went looking for it, I’d never know it was there.
- All the home automation controls we take for granted because they work without having to “work” at it: televisions, speakers, wifi, pool controls, cameras, gates, air conditioning, streaming video, even our air purifiers – all controlled by a Bravas integrated system.
- John obviously took a much greater interest in learning about my home tech than I did when we moved in. And thank God he did!
After a walkthrough of my home with Anthony and John, and upon becoming re-acquainted with the tools I had at my disposal, Anthony asked if our home-office needs were enough to support a work-from-home lifestyle.
I wasn’t sure.
He offered 2 scenarios to plan for a worst-case and best-case scenario. I went with the option that planned for a new normal that supported capabilities of holding board meetings remotely in a conference room style setting and expanding our wifi capabilities to enterprise-grade while adding surge protection to our home-grid. This meant a revision to our existing, but seemingly cramped office space and engaging our ‘dream team’ once again.
Fast-forward to present day and the completion of a 2-month improvement which didn’t necessarily ‘add’ to our total square footage, rather, optimized it.
- Audio/visual capabilities increased from speakers and phone input alone to a wall-mounted & concealed 60″ television, touch-screen drop-down dual-monitors, voice-controls, motorized shading, and revised circadian lighting.
- Desk replaced with a 6-person conference table.
- sound-proofing acoustic wall-treatments
Despite all the pivots we’ve needed to make the last few months, not to mention sitting with the discomfort that comes with an adaptation to our collective new-normal, I experience peace of mind, and dare I say, inspired creativity when I walk by our new office space. The aesthetics our designer incorporated into an otherwise work-centric room inspires hope and resilience in me. Finally, if it hadn’t been for Bravas making that first planning meeting so easy and laying out the framework for what would be needed to plan for our business continuity needs, I dont know that I’d be sitting here reflecting on the last few months with such serenity.
Kudos to the Bravas Team in Boca Raton. You have a lifelong client in Erik and I, and likely to anyone within ear shot from now to the next pandemic, God willing.