How John Patrick took a systems view of building his home to provide distributed services but centralized control.

You know you're going to have a bad day when the toaster calls you an idiot. Just how smart can a home get?
At Tom's we have written quite a bit about using computers in the home. I wanted to describe the ultimate smart home that I've seen and draw some lessons for you, the enthusiast and early adopter.

The scene is a suburban house that was built from scratch by John Patrick, who retired from running IBM's Internet business several years ago. And the first lesson is that you have to design your home systems - not just computing but distribution of water, power, and other services - like IBM designed its mainframe computers, with centralized management but distributed control. We truly have come full circle with desktop computing.
[The article]