To Better Days Development, founded by Peter Fine, is an innovative Residential Developer rocking the Miami beachfront market. We sat down with Zachary Carpenter, Executive Vice President of To Better Days, for a chat about home automation and exclusive South Florida residential projects.
Acoustic Architects (AA): You have a background in Architecture, what lead you away from working in a traditional architecture firm?
Zachary Carpenter (ZC): There are a lot of Architects who are far more creative than I am. I excel at drawings, technical details, and managing people. So I knew I was looking for more for my career.
AA: How did you, as an Architect, become the Executive Vice President of a Residential Development company?
ZC: It was at a time when the market was slow for Architecture firms. So I went to work for a builder because the pay was better. I thought it would be a temporary move until the economy picked up, and in the meantime, make me a better architect. I found it was more suited to my personality.
My strengths are in the technical aspect of Architecture, but also in managing people and problem-solving, so being a Project Manager for a builder was a natural fit. I found that my background in Architecture provides great insight and the ability to cross over thresholds when working with consultants to build complicated projects.
About To Better Days
AA: From the To Better Days website, I see that you are dedicated to changing the landscape of luxury Miami beach waterfront homes. Can you expand on that mission?
ZC: Building a custom home is a complex process. It involves getting things done deliberately, in the right order, by competent people. We are good at translating the complex parts of the job. We make it a service-oriented business where clients walk away happy. This is what separates us from the rest of the industry.
AA: How long have you been adding Home Automation to your projects?
ZC: All 9 years in the construction business. Automation design is drastically different now than it was when I got started.
About the South Florida Market
AA: What are the unique requirements for clients in the luxury market?
ZC: Everyone is different. At one end of the spectrum, we have the “Old-School” client. This is the person who will spend millions on the design that doesn’t include anything new or automated whatsoever. Some people want to spend all of their money on audio and video equipment, or cabinetry and library shelves. Some are really excited about their imported French Limestone materials. And then, others want to make a huge investment in the infrastructure of the home and then get skimpy on the finish-out. So we need to be flexible and ready to make modifications for each client.
Home Automation for the Luxury Homeowner
AA: Tell us about the dynamic between Acoustic Architects and To Better Days?
ZC: It is a dynamic based on full trust. Whether we are putting them in front of a client, asking them to translate the technical language into something the client can understand, or advising on the vast amount of solutions, we know Acoustic Architects will lead us down the right path. There aren’t many companies who are so on point all the time.
AA: What do you value most about collaborating with Acoustic Architects?
ZC: Their vast knowledge of the industry and willingness to work at getting it right, no matter the number of tries. They are out to do the work and find exactly the right product for each individual client.
AA: How has home automation influenced the way you approach the construction of dwellings.
ZC: The deeper the systems get in their involvement in the everyday life of the end user, the more careful we have to be to make sure the house has everything it needs to offer the freedom they desire. The people building the home usually don’t want to spend the money up front. It is when they are in the house that they want to expand. So it is important that we have the foresight to build in the right infrastructure that allows for upgrades and changes. Rather than depending on the engineers to dictate the nature of the design, we try to look at what is and will eventually be important to the home-owner.
AA: On the subject of home automation, what are your clients most excited about? Do most people seem to be aware of the possibilities that are available? Are they expecting it to be included in the design?
ZC: They are excited about the sheer grand scope of possibilities. So many potential features are available. What people appreciate the most is how far and wide the systems can affect everyday life. With a few very rare exceptions, clients do expect automation to be included. They tend to not understand the complexities involved or the importance of the right infrastructure.
AA: Can you share any stories about projects that have included home automation?
ZC: There was a home upgrade involving a theater room. The home was in the $30 million range, and the components for the theater room were in the $80 thousand range. It was recommended to the homeowner to get a system that included the purchase of movies rather than a streaming service. The difference per movie was only about $10. But the owner refused the recommendation because of a small difference in price after spending thousands on the theater room. There is a certain humor in what people will and won’t invest in.
AA: What are your future predictions for development with smart technologies in the South Florida market?
ZC: The obvious prediction is that it becomes more commonplace, reaching a level where it is not just available to the wealthy elite. My love of futuristic movies makes me want to see smart technologies in every home. Where everyone has some degree of remote connection to their home at all times.
Responsive Living, the term coined by Acoustic Architects founders, Aaron Flint and Spencer Hauldren, is the concept of seamlessly enhancing the client’s unique lifestyle using smart home technology. Responsive Living allows you to interact with your space via touch input, voice command, and predictive automation, placing you in full control of your home.
If you would like to learn more about home automation, feel free to connect with us. We will be happy to schedule a demo with you.
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