Builder Guest Brings in New Designer Contact in Hopes of Including Tech in Projects

Builder Devon Vought struck up a connection with designer Scott Amarant at TecHomeX California and hopes to work together on making the connected home a reality.

Finding the right combination of design options, style and budget can be difficult on some projects because of how they are carried out. But, identifying the right person to work with on those aspects can make that process easier, and one TecHomeX California builder guest formed a new relationship with a designer who is helping him develop solutions on his builds.

Devon Vought, project manager for WB Elmer & Company, went into TecHomeX California with the goal of learning as much as he could about tech. He knows that to be competitive in the industry with the way it’s going, he needs to understand what is available because homebuyers are looking for it.

Devon Vought (left) and Scott Amarant listen to a speaker during a boardroom presentation at TecHomeX California 2017.
Devon Vought (left) and Scott Amarant listen to a speaker during a boardroom presentation at TecHomeX California 2017.

What he also accomplished was making connections with people in other trades who can help his business, as well.

One of those people was Scott Amarant, owner of Amarant Design & Build Center. The pair hit it off and spent much of the 2.5 days in Long Beach talking and learning together. Vought happened to have projects in development for which he knew Amarant would be just the person to bring on.

WB Elmer is building several spec homes, but they will need finishes. Vought introduced his partner to the designer, visited his showroom and provided Amarant the budget for the project.

“Scott looked at the budget and said, ‘this seems a little bit low, but this seems a little bit high,’ so give me the budget and I can make sure we fit everything in there,” recalls Vought. “So, he’s going to do all my cabinets and all the lighting and plumbing fixtures, tile and hardwood. It was perfect. It worked out really great.”

This project consists of high-end spec homes, but the builder is trying to sell them to young tech people in the Bay Area. So, he is hoping to include some tech in them, as well.

Vought’s company has had limited knowledge and exposure to home tech options, but has included a handful of things, including Savant solutions, Lutron Pico switches and Z-Wave products. He knew this was just the tip of the home automation iceberg, and TecHomeX California presented him the opportunity to learn more about what was available, such as Legrand home automation systems. Vought met with company representatives at TecHomeX California and left impressed with their offerings.

“TecHomeX was great for networking, but also for learning about all the new products, and I’m thrilled to go back again and keep learning about this stuff,” says Vought.
“TecHomeX was great for networking, but also for learning about all the new products, and I’m thrilled to go back again and keep learning about this stuff,” says Vought.

He hopes to be able to use those systems in future projects. However, the way in which many of the builds are executed poses challenges to actually being able to include them. Vought says the integrator and designer aren’t brought in until after the architectural plans are drawn up, the budget is set and the electrical is installed.

“It’s been great for me to be able to talk to clients about tech, but the architects really need to get involved,” he says. “Once I get involved, it’s way down the road. It makes it really difficult for a builder to bid on a job when the tech stuff has to be added in later on and you have to tell the homeowner it’s going to cost more.”

One of the goals of TecHomeX California is bringing those contributors together to understand each others’ needs on builds and avoid these types of pitfalls. Vought hopes over time, trade collaboration will become more commonplace and they all can work together to bring their clients the connected home they desire.