Once inside the Smart Home, the light is the first thing many people notice. With 2,500 square feet and an open design, the Smart Home's multi-purpose spaces are filled with sunlight. Walls and windows are located to create a spacious yet intimate feel that makes the most of natural lighting and airflow.
This year's redesign by Chicago home interior store Scout and its owner Larry Vodak reflects a specialty for reviving furniture from schools, courthouses and other public buildings and giving them new purpose in the home. The dining area features a table once used for maintenance in a South Side steel plant. Cabinets from a University of Chicago laboratory have been repurposed in the kitchen. A vintage easel now holds a flat-screen television. Old globes have been transformed into chandeliers. Every piece has a unique character and story, yet possesses a similar clean and timeless look. This spirit of reuse is perfect for the Smart Home, given that it required no new materials.
Similar to Scout's work furniture made livable, the home's artwork continues the theme of old-made-new. New photography features artifacts from the Museum's collection of historic bicycles. Art pieces included works made from discarded wood and old church organ pipes, and hand-stretched bicycle inner tubes.
The home continues to demonstrate the use of energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and energy-efficient building components. You'll learn how storm water runoff can be collected and used for landscape irrigation; how toilets can be equipped to re-use waste water from the sink; how spray-in foam insulation can create a completely sealed building, resulting in better air quality, a quieter home and greater energy efficiency.
- Happening Now
Take a visually stunning journey into the future of NASA space exploration.
Enter the mysterious world of one of nature's most awe-inspiring marine mammals.
- Coming Soon
Experience the ultimate off-trail adventure into America’s awe-inspiring great outdoors.
Exhibit Resource Guide
- Download the 2012 Smart Home resource guide to see the eco-friendly products, "green" ideas and resources found in the exhibit.
- Exhibit Resource Guide (PDF)