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Home automation systems - how one family created their dream smart home.
The Bristows wanted to make their houseful of kids easier to manage, and fun, too. Here’s how they went about smart home installation.

When the Bristow family bought their first home in Provo, Utah, they painted, added new carpet and renovated the kitchen...

But the thing that Brett Bristow was most excited about for his family? Adding the Nest Thermostat.

For years, Brett Bristow had wanted to get started with home automation systems, but as a renter, his family was stuck with an old thermostat that was difficult to programme. The Nest Thermostat came first, and Brett was thrilled to avoid the hassle of messing with the dials on ancient thermostats in his previous homes. “I was so excited because I could finally install technology in my own home and I could now change the thermostat from the comfort of my couch,” he says.

Brett went on to outfit the entire 2,500-square-foot house with smart home automation systems that let him automate everything from lights and locks to lawn mowing and laundry.

“I love it, because I can get rid of a lot of the nuisances in life and free up time to play with my kids – plus it’s just cool,” he says.

Starting out

Brett had always been an early adopter of technology and was familiar with the Google Home smart home devices available. But the process of smart home installation was gradual and organic: he would note his family’s habits and turn to smart home options to automate what made sense. One of his earliest observations was that his family used timers and sought out information regularly – a Nest Mini was a natural fit to handle these tasks. Today, he has a Nest speaker in every room of the house.

Automatic lights for home were also foundational, as family members were often forgetting to turn them off. He created a Routine to have the patio lights turn on at sunset every evening and stay on until 10:30pm. Over the next couple of years, he would notice areas that could be improved with smart home automation and acquired a whole array of smart products – from smart locks to appliances – plus a Nest Hub Max to control it all.1

Making chores and bedtime more fun

When the family cleans together on Saturday mornings, three of his children, ages 4, 7 and 10, had always wanted to listen to music. This added a task for Brett, who had to play DJ. Now, they ask Google for the songs they want to listen to. “It turns chores into a fun time,” he says. The kids also talk to speakers in their bedrooms each morning, asking about the weather so they dress appropriately. “They know more about the weather than I do,” he says.

As at many households, bedtime is a delicate balancing act, easily thrown off by the smallest variation. To keep things on track, Brett used Routines to dim the lights in the evening and eventually turn them off at bedtime. That’s when the nightlights turn on and white noise plays through the various speakers. It has made bedtime smoother. “I don’t have to stop reading to them, it just does it all automatically,” he says. 

Nest Hub Max
Help for your home. All in one display.
Removing worry 

At the Bristows’, smart locks are set up to automatically lock each night, giving the family a sense of security. Nest Doorbell notifies the family if someone is at the door via smart speakers.2 One Nest Cam lets him check on their sleeping newborn and another one is set up in the backyard to keep an eye on the kids jumping on the trampoline.

For further peace of mind, Brett installed a Nest Protect smoke detector in part because it can differentiate between smoke and steam – which was a problem in the past when old smoke alarms blared after long showers. 

Automating almost everything

Many smart homeowners will tell you that once they see the way home control systems make things about home easier, more secure and more fun, they keep going. The Bristows’ are well along that journey. In the living room, the Chromecast with Google TV lets kids ask for the shows they want, and Phillips Hue lighting will adjust the lights based on what they’re watching. When it’s time to turn off smart phones and get homework done, Brett and his wife turn off the Wi-Fi with the touch of a button on their Nest Wifi mesh network. Their phones also control the power and lights on the smart oven and alert them if their laundry cycle is complete in the smart washer or dryer. They even have a smart lawn mower that bumps around the garden every few nights.

One of Brett’s favourite gadgets are the smart blinds and shades. They automatically open in the morning and close at night, and he can ask Google to close them if the family is watching a film and the sun is glaring on the TV. “I can continue to snuggle with my kids without having to get up,” he says. “It makes life a little more comfortable.”

Automating a house can happen gradually or all at onceIt’s most important to pay attention to your household’s needs and habitsSmart home systems can make life more fun and convenient – leading many homeowners to keep adding more!
Nest Hub Max
Help for your home. All in one display.
Related products
Nest Doorbell (battery)
Nest Mini
Nest Protect smoke and CO alarm
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  1. Compatible smart devices required.

  2. Some features, including mobile notifications, remote control, video streaming, and video recording, require working internet and Wi-Fi.

  3. Familiar face alerts are not available on Nest cameras and doorbells used in Illinois.

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