Smart home to support degenerative eye condition

Sanctuary House

A smart controlled contemporary home, designed to support a degenerative eye condition and a place they can live for the rest of their lives.

Client’s objectives

Smart Lighting

One of the clients has macular degeneration, so she wanted to manage the light, controlling glare and lux levels intuitively to improve visibility and clarity, ultimately reducing eye fatigue.

They had clear goals on how the home could be designed to assist with the vision, for example:

  • They wanted accurate control on all lumens in the house
  • All light fittings were to be non-glare
  • They wanted all lumens to be set at 75% initially so that the was space to increase the brightness with increasing age
  • They wanted automated blinds to manage the glare
  • They wanted a turntable to support easier parking and that could be integrated into the ‘Welcome mode’, when required
  • A control system that had the capability to support a client designed graphical user interface optimised for degenerative eye disease.

A smart home for life

They wanted to future proof so they could live in their home for the rest of their lives, supporting assisted living, providing ease of use and convenience with the ageing years.

We had to plan for their needs now and predict future requirements in older age. At this time in their life, the automated events are designed mainly to support convenience, but with age, they may need to expand, allowing the client to have less input into the control of their home and ensure ease of use, with little or no explanation, for a live-in carer, if required.

The clients were aware that needs would change with age, as they already have insight into the changing visual needs, so flexibility to expand/modify the system was essential. They wanted the system to be a ‘living’ solution that grew with time.

They planned for some integration initially, for example:

  • Integration of the sliding patio doors on the lighting keypad, as they anticipate that it may be too heavy to manage in older years.
  • Installation of a weather station integrated with lighting, blinds, heating and windows to create an ‘intelligent house’
  • Discreet sensors that trigger a ‘lighting scene’ to avoid manual adjustment or control

The clients wanted a home that was an exemplar of contemporary design, finished in best in class materials to the highest standards, and of sustainable design.

They wanted a life led indoors and outdoors, to take advantage of the amazing views.

They also wanted the ability to maintain and remotely monitor the solution. They wanted a remote monitoring service that identified issues prior to them being aware of them, so they could be rectified.

Products used


Lutron lighting control & their automated blinds were considered ‘best-in-class” by the clients, with their long-standing presence in the industry, excellent warranties, outstanding performance and the ability to meet the client’s goals. Reliability of the system and also the ability to modify/control them via a remote solution was also essential. Glare is one of the greatest challenges for visual clarity with macular degeneration, and Lutron lighting control solution manages these fittings to the finest detail.

The keypad option for Lutron was also a contributory factor in selecting this solution, as the client can see flat, matt surfaces more easily; in addition, she could choose the font type and size for the engraving of the scene settings. The matt white Palladiom was ideal as it had no glare and the buttons are flush.

The ability to incorporate control of third party items on the Lutron keypad provided greater convenience and reduced the number of keypads/remote controls, all creating a visual challenge, especially in older age.

There were other aspects of the home the clients wanted to control either via the Lutron keypad or via an automatic scene-setting/timed event. For example, they wanted to incorporate the automated garage door into the ‘welcome’ setting, triggered by a sensor, so the garage door automatically opens on arrival home by car. A water feature, for the indoor and outdoor led living experience, was programmed on a timed event, via a Lutron switched module.

The clients, after much investigation, decided they wanted to use the Lutron roller blinds in the living areas and master bedroom. The main reasons for choice were the accurate control; the smoothness of function, quietness; hembar alignment with adjacent blinds, and most importantly the materials. The materials provided functionality, controlling glare and heat without, disrupting the view in the living room and providing darkness in the master bedroom.

Rti Control System

The Rti Control System offers good integration with all the systems proposed and it can easily be expanded/ developed with changing needs. The main reason for the choice was that it allowed a client-specific interface to be created. We worked closely with the client to understand font size, font colours, button sizes and names that would all optimise her ability to view them clearly with the macular degeneration.

The clients wanted to automate the house, manage lux levels and glare, and open/close windows according to weather conditions. The most effective solution was to install a weather station on the roof. The weather station offers excellent functionality with separate facades for assessing the weather in all directions and optimum monitoring of the wind, rain and temperature; with accurate feedback, the Rti can provide a more appropriate response.

The clients have some windows, designed to enhance natural light and airflow, but in difficult to manage locations, so we integrated these windows with the weather station. If the weather is warm they open, when cold or raining, the sensors trigger them to close automatically – so the clients don’t have to worry about leaving them open when they go out.

Networking systems were Draytek and Ruckus

The networking systems selected were a Draytek router and the Ruckus wireless access points with Pakedge switches. All these systems have proved very reliable and effective over the time we have used them. The Draytek router can be easily set up for remote monitoring and the ability to construct configurations for custom control is very user friendly. Ruckus, with good wifi protocols and technology, provide excellent coverage, reducing the number of units required to achieve wifi throughout the home.

The clients were really please with the final outcome as it met their immediate goals and will allow for expansion. Watch the video above for details on the project and the testimonial.