The complete renovation of a vast farmhouse in a traditional style, but with modern technology. That was the challenge for installation company Vennegoor from Weerselo in the Netherlands. The renovated farmhouse still serves as a reminder of a rich past. Yet with the LUXORliving KNX smart home system from Theben, the centuries-old building has been brought into the future. For the occupants, it provides an easy-to-use solution, peace of mind and many more options besides.
The farm on the outskirts of Enschede has a long history. It was built in 1830 as an extension to Erve het Loetinck. Erve het Loetinck comprised a main courtyard and two houses for the farmhands. The second farmhands’ house burned down a long time ago and the main house was demolished during the last century. The remaining farmhouse is the only visible proof of this once hugely important farmstead. The new owners have restored it to its former glory, and the old farmhands’ house is now the main residence. Two new buildings in style of the old farmstead have been built where the other buildings used to be. One is a guest house, while the other is used for storage.
For the owners, it was important to preserve the style and atmosphere of the past. The huge roof was restored – the kink in the roofline was retained and marks out the transition between where the pigs were kept and the cattle were reared. A number of old elements have also been incorporated into the new construction. The wood from the old barn has been given a new lease of life in the kitchen units. Original bricks have been used to create a new interior wall and a sandstone slab from the former stable now stands in front of the front door. Other building materials also often had a former life – creating a more or less circular renovation.
The owners have converted the building with a respect for the past. At the same time, they also enjoy modern comforts. But not too many! It was these specifications that led Stijn Nijhuis from Vennegoor to suggest LUXORliving from Theben. The simple KNX smart home system offers everything you could want to create comfortable home living but without any unnecessary bells and whistles. LUXORliving switches the lights on and off – when it detects movement, via a smartphone app, automatically when it starts to get dark or simply when you press the wall switches. The blinds go up or down automatically depending on the sunlight. Naturally, the system also ensures a pleasant temperature is maintained in every room at all times. The occupants can use the system to open the electric gate remotely. And at night, the lighting along the driveway switches on automatically.
The safety and security system is also connected to LUXORliving, so all the lights switch on if there is an intruder and the ventilation switches off automatically in the event of a fire. “We opted for LUXORliving because of its quality, simplicity and accessibility. It is a system that is well placed between professional KNX systems and more amateur products available in DIY stores. The system works flawlessly and offers exactly what we imagined it would – simplicity, comfort and peace of mind,” says the owner. The system consists of switch, dimming and blinds actuators, room controllers with integrated temperature sensors, push button interfaces for manual control, a weather station and a system control centre which is used for programming and for connection to the LUXORplay smartphone app. The separate control cabinet for the system is located in the utility room. This is where all the signals and commands are received and converted into actions: lights on, blinds down, temperature up.
Stijn Nijhuis: “We were familiar with Theben products from past projects but had never worked with LUXORliving before. This project was a good opportunity to install the system for the first time. The owners wanted a smart home but no overly complex intelligence features. The big advantage for me was that I was able to program the system myself because it’s all very simple. I’ve had some experience with much more complex KNX systems – in those cases, we took care of the wiring but then had to bring in a system integrator to program and test the system, meaning that we were outsourcing the most interesting part of the job. That wasn’t necessary with LUXORliving. Using the manual and videos from Theben, we were able to take care of everything.”
The installer really enjoyed working with Theben. “I received lots of information in advance. In the end, 90% of the system was already ready to use when a representative came over to inspect it. He then helped me with the final steps. Theben is always on hand if you ever have any questions. I’ll certainly use this system more often in future, whenever the opportunity arises.”