Claire and I hit the town Saturday to view the homes on the Smarter Spaces Tour. When I think of “smart” homes, I think of innovative features like solar panels, a Nest home thermostat, controlling things like lighting and your TV via a smartphone or tablet app–and many of these crazy cool elements were part of the tour. While I envy the one homeowner whose solar panels have eliminated her utility bills altogether, I was more excited by other things we saw along the way that were more “a-ha! smart” than techno-savvy. Such as:

Industrial rubber flooring used on stair treads in this home by D-Crain Design & Construction–not only is it sleek and modern, it’s also a skid-proof and sound-absorbing choice. I am filing that nugget away for my own stairs someday!

D-Crain Design & Construction

I am always thrilled to see pet-friendly features designed into a home, like this cutout in the kitchen for pet bowls at a CG&S Design-Build home. This is the kind of simple thing that would make me buy one home over another. If I had a dollar for every time someone has accidentally kicked our pets’ water bowl, I could retire a rich woman. You can’t beat this element for its upgrade in daily quality of life.

CG&S Design-Build

What could a future non-pet homebuyer do with this space? It would be a good place to stash your purse or laptop, a basket of potatoes and onions, or a bin of kitchen-themed toys to keep a toddler occupied while you’re cooking.

The color palette of this home’s exterior was also snap-worthy:

CG&S Design-Build

I loved the combination of natural wood and painted trim used throughout this home by Barley & Pfeiffer Architects. So distinctive!

Barley & Pfeiffer Architects

The DIY headboard in this home was supercool as well:

Barley & Pfeiffer Architects

Here’s a brilliant way to update vintage bathroom tile if it’s a color you simply can’t work with. This homeowner had the original tile painted white, then added a decorative border detail around the top. Only a pro would know her secret.

Renovations by Round Rock Remodeling

Don’t you love this mid-century balcony design?

Cambridge Towers, 1801 Lavaca Street.

Thanks to the Smarter Spaces Tour for a fun day!