Boyce Thompson says homeowners are finding it easier to take care of matters around the house.
After all, they have an app for that.
“The biggest thing that will be happening down the line is the development of an app to control the apps,” says Thompson, a household product expert.
Thompson, a writer, editor and speaker, will be a featured guest of the Duquesne Light Home & Garden Show, which opens March 6 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.
He will be offering talks on the Top 10 Life-Changing Products of 2015 — with one hitch. There will be 14 of them, because he and the planners of the show couldn’t figure out those to eliminate.
He will have a booth at which he will talk about the products between his presentations.
John DeSantis, executive director of the home show, says he has been trying to put together this presentation with Thompson for several years. Now that it has been arranged, DeSantis can see it being an indefinite part of the show.
That comment seems like a great compliment to Thompson, but he sees it as part of the curse of popularity.
“Man, when do you get a break here?” he says with a laugh. “This thing is 10 days long. All day. It’s a lot of hours.”
The biggest-such home show in the area — and one of the largest in the country — has grown to 10 acres of display space on two floors of the convention center.
For the first time, DeSantis says, there will be more than 1,700 vendors, showing everything from tiny hand-held tools to barn-like storage buildings.
The show once again will feature Lori Verderame, the appraiser better known as Dr. Lori. She made herself popular last year with her sarcastic, but accurate, analyses of the treasures visitors brought from their attics.
She, like Thompson, will appear every day.
Thompson sees the home-show job as demanding, but rewarding. For 17 years, he was the editor of Builder magazine, a trade publication, during which time he wrote a book, “The New New Home.”
He managed a website for Agriculture, a farm publication, and was a founding editor for Residential Architect magazine. Currently, he is working on two books, as well as doing appearances.
Thompson was intrigued at the idea of putting together the list of life-changing products, a job he says was not easy. But he is in a good position to make those choices. He goes to trade shows constantly, he says, and keeps track of what is going on.
But it took three or four months to whittle down the list of products. One of the toughest parts was making sure they were available.
“I wanted it to be like an auto show, where you can go in an see what is new,” he says.
He sees app-related and smartphone-controlled devices as constantly growing. For instance:
• Whirlpool has a washer-dryer combination that runs only when it senses times of lower utility rates and can be controlled through a phone.
• Kwikset has a deadbolt lock for which a “key” sent to a smartphone that allows its holder to unlock the door with touch of the finger.
• Nest has a thermometer that senses when people are present and changes programs accordingly.
He will talk about Kohler faucets that can be controlled without touching them, windows from SageGlass that allow sun in the winter and block it in the summer, and paint from ECOS that filters chemicals.
Naturally, he says, popularity and availability varies. For instance, the Kwikset keys are being so widely used in the West they are becoming an everyday feature, even if they are rare here.
“We tried to identify trends that were imminent,” he says.
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at [email protected] or 412-320-7852.
Home show tips
John DeSantis, executive director of the Duquesne Light Home & Garden Show, urges visitors to have a “plan of attack” to best see the show.
To make the show easier to see, vendors have been grouped in three large categories: kitchen and cooking; gardening and the outside; and construction and remodeling.
With that in mind, a visitor with a special project in mind can map out their visit better, he says.
He also has three bits of advice:
• Park at Heinz Field. Parking there is $6 and is linked by a free shuttle service, eliminating the search and Downtown congestion.
• Come on weekdays instead of the busier weekends.
• Give yourself a great deal time and wear comfortable shoes.