Dick and Maggie Bechtold’s house in the Country Club of Lakewood Ranch speaks to them and lights up when they get out of bed. The entire home is totally automated, yet there’s just one electric switch in a footprint of 7,678 square feet. Everything, including lighting, security, audio, fire alarm and video systems, is integrated through a Vantage Home Automation System housed in a control panel room—the brains of the entire house.
The Bechtolds’ fourth residence since they moved to Sarasota in 1991, this is the smartest of all their homes. “We use technology to make our lives easier, not more complicated,” says Bechtold, a retired mechanical engineer.
Dick credits interior designer Deeia Topp, who’s worked with them on every house, for the elegant finishes and Rick Horne for converting his high-tech dreams into reality. But Maggie says the house is every inch Dick’s creation. “It’s all his doing; I did nothing,” she confides. “Every house he does with Deeia is better than the other. But in this one the loggias are really special—and he did an outdoor sitting room just for me.”