Antique Victorian to Get New Life With TecHomeX California Tech

Builder Devon Vought is making a major restoration project easier and more cost-effective thanks to options discovered at the event in Pasadena.

W.B. Elmer & Company project manager Devon Vought attended his second TecHomeX California this year after a successful experience at the inaugural event in 2017. In Long Beach, he made several key connections among fellow guests who have become new business partners for him over the last 12 months.

This year in Pasadena, Vought hit a home run with some of the event’s vendors, and his discoveries couldn’t have come at a better time.

Vought is in the midst of a large-scale restoration project on an antique Victorian home. As part of the updates to be included in the three-story, 4,000-square foot home are new smoke detectors. As it turned out, he had a one-on-one meeting at TecHomeX California with Kidde, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of fire suppression products.

Devon Vought (right) attends a boardroom meeting at TecHomeX California.
Devon Vought (right) attends a boardroom meeting at TecHomeX California.

“The Victorian is a gorgeous home, and we don’t want to rip out all the sheetrock to put in integrated smoke detectors,” explains Vought. “They have a solution for that where I don’t have to cut open the whole house. I can just put these smoke detectors wherever I need them, and they last for 10 years. So, I don’t need to go around changing the 9-volt batteries every year and hearing that chirp. It’s a great solution that’s going to save the homeowners lots of money. I’m going to go out next week and buy the smoke detectors for them.”

“After I got through telling him about our 10-year product, I introduced to him our new wire-free product,” recalls Christian Weber, the director of Kidde Safety’s residential vertical markets team. “It was like a lightbulb went off in his head. Right after our conversation he said, ‘I’m going to go call my customer right now and tell them I’ve got a solution. He was very excited, and it just happened through our conversation.”

It was a major breakthrough for Vought, who discovered a new product that would solve a problem for him. But, that wasn’t the only solution he found for that very project.

He describes the home’s current lighting and switching layout as very convoluted, so he needed a way to update and simplify its switches. He was preparing to tear down walls throughout the home to re-wire and install new switches.

Vought found a light switch solution during a meeting with Eaton.
Vought found a light switch solution during a meeting with Eaton.

But, during a meeting with Eaton, he learned about the company’s smart switches and dimmers which can be installed seamlessly in that home. He now will be able to replace the old switches with three-ways where he needs them throughout the house and tie them all together.

Between the switches and the smoke detectors, TecHomeX California helped make this restoration project a much easier one for both Vought and the homeowners.

“It’s huge, not only for me, but it’s more for the client,” Vought says. “I can actually bring them a new solution because they’re hiring me to come up with solutions and plans. So, I can actually say, ‘Hey, we have this product that I just learned about. We don’t have to disrupt your home where you’re living with a newborn. We can actually just install these in each different room and it takes five minutes for each one.’

“If it wasn’t for the event, I don’t think I would have found these solutions. I was already working up a proposal to start cutting open the sheet rock. I had already called the sheet rock guy to come out and give me a bid on the project. They will save the homeowner a huge amount of money, but they also won’t have to deal with any disruptions to their lifestyle.”