Finding Peace of Mind for Your Home Away From Home

Finding Peace of Mind for Your Home Away From Home

Nathan Lavertue and Geneva Simms keep tabs on their country house in Dutchess County with a range of smart home tools.

Geneva Simms and Nathan Lavertue were driving to their country house in Dutchess County one recent weekend when there was yet another spring snowstorm. But when they arrived late that night, their home, which was built around 1780 and was once a Quaker meetinghouse and a stop on the Underground Railroad, wasn’t bitterly cold. That is because during his lunch break in Brooklyn, Mr. Lavertue had turned on the heat remotely, using his smartphone.

“We have three cameras — two exterior and one interior — four Nest thermostats, two Echo Dots, one Echo Show, one traditional Echo and 10 smart lights. And also the Nest smoke detector,” said Mr. Lavertue, a global experience design director for IBM, who installed the equipment himself. “The cameras are for security, but they provide plenty of entertainment. I have really funny footage of Geneva running after a U.P.S. truck.”

Like a lot of second-home buyers, Mr. Lavertue and Ms. Simms, a personal trainer, corporate wellness coach and founder of Empower to Power, were overwhelmed at first with figuring out how to protect their country house when they weren’t there. The married couple, who rent in Brooklyn and had never owned before buying their Stanfordville house last year, researched their options and then turned to do-it-yourself smart home components. They plan to add another smoke/carbon monoxide detector, several more smart thermostats and a digital front-door lock from August to complete their home security system.


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