Smart Tech Boom in Florida: Why Architects, Interior Designers, Builders Need to Partner with a Smart Technology Integrator

Dennis Clemente
January 24, 2022

MIAMI, FL – South Florida’s top architects, interior designers, builders, electrical contractors and other related professionals are reaping the rewards of the real estate boom from Miami to Palm Beach. It doesn’t stop there. In fact, these professionals are doubling their income – by simply partnering with smart home integrators like Premium Digital Control & Automation and building smart homes and smart offices together.

These professionals can expect more business as Florida enjoys the most number of smart home properties for sale at 2,242, according to a survey by American Home Shield. Only five other states have about 1,000 smart homes available: Texas (2090), South Carolina (1,714), North Carolina (1,454), California (1,120), and Iowa (1,018).

Claudia Yances, a construction planner and interior designer at GY Builders Atelier raised her income by working with Premium. Claudia has worked with South Florida’s leading smart home and office automation integrator on numerous projects, including a smart home project at a prestigious Ritz Carlton penthouse suite.

With Claudia, Premium Digital Control flipped the $15-million Ritz Carlton penthouse for $30 million. The smart tech project came with all the bells and whistles:

  • structured wiring
  • secured networks
  • enhanced Wi-Fi
  • an audio and video system, including a home theater system
  • all-round smart lighting
  • automated window treatments
  • a climate control system
  • CCTV and surveillance cameras, and
  • a flood protection system

Claudia is just one of many prestigious industry professionals that Premium has worked with. Other professionals in the Gold List of Luxe Interiors + Design lifestyle magazine as well as Boca Mag can also partner with a smart home integrator like Premium not only to raise the value of their properties but to make automation part of the structure and design of their homes and offices.

Below is the combined list of top professionals that the two magazines have featured (in alphabetical order here) as the top tastemakers of South Florida.

& The Associated Studios outdoor design and lighting
Source: & The Associated Studios

& the Associated Studios

Industry: Architecture

Specialty: Tropical, clean-lined timeless homes

Says president Clemens Schaub on his website:  “I believe houses are as individual as our clients. Based upon this premise, we have never repeated a home design. Each one should be unique based upon client dreams, the site’s potential, orientation, topography, and views. I take great inspiration from history.

“I do not replicate historical period architecture. I believe the past’s sense of climate, texture and romance can be fused with modern lifestyles. It gives a home a contemporary integrity. I am passionately a tropical architect. To be a success in the tropics, a home must address the climate on all levels; interior, exterior and garden.”

What they can do with a smart home and smart office integrator: Structured wiring can help the firm maintain its clean design and offer its clients an outdoor lighting and audio system to enhance its tropical aesthetic, to name a few.

Palm Beach Designers Carl Vasile and Joy Pahlavan living room design
Source: Palm Beach Designers

Carl Vasile and Joy Pahlavan

Industry: Interior design

Specialty: Residential and commercial interior design, event planning

Carl Vasile and Joy Pahlavan work for their high-end residential, commercial and luxury real estate clients with astute attention to detail and unique masterful collaborations.

With more than 30 years of combined design industry experience in Palm Beach, New York and Atlanta, their approach is to make every design project reflect the individual tastes, personality and vision of their clients, always with a clear understanding and respect for their expectations and timelines.

From sprawling idyllic Palm Beach mansions to quaint cottages and corporate headquarters, their projects are diverse and in demand.

What they can do with a smart home and smart office integrator: A smart home integrator can set in motion customized home or commercial automation that also fits their aesthetic for custom made furniture and window treatments.

Causa Design Group retail store design
Source: Causa Design Group

Causa Design Group

Industry: Interior design

Specialty:  Renovations, additions, remodels, turn-key and commercial common areas

“I start with a blank canvas and pull inspiration from the homeowner and the surrounding environment,” designer Dawn Causa says. “Then there’s my design role, where I interpret my clients’ desires and transform their homes, creating a beautiful, modern style that embodies elegance, functionality and harmony.

A lot of focus is given to what I call ‘thoughtful design,’ as each client’s lifestyle is different. In some cases, that requires me to consider things like environmental sensitivities, medical equipment, mobility and handicap accessibility.

By developing close relationships with her clients, Causa makes it easier to help those with very personal needs. She claims to have worked with paraplegic and neuropathic clients. “I truly care about people,” she says in Boca Mag. “I’m fortunate to be spreading joy through design. It’s a pretty amazing job having the chance to impact people’s lives in such an artistic and meaningful way.”

What they can do with a smart home and smart office integrator: Project management is underrated in this business, which comes in handy when building a smart home or smart office. Having space planning and commercial design experience can play a huge factor when designing a smart home or office.

Cudmore Builders outdoor design and lighting
Source: Cudmore Builders

Cudmore Builders

Industry: Builder

Specialty: High-end waterfronts, golf course estates, Mediterranean and traditional coastal ocean-facing marvels

President Terence Cudmore strongly believes in having a team composed of a builder, owner, architect, interior designer and landscape architect.

His “team approach” results in seamless work with the client’s desires as everyone’s priority. It’s essential as he collaborates with clients, thoroughly understanding their requirements and constraints to achieve the best outcome for a project

“We can execute any aesthetic, as long as we attend to every detail,” says Cudmore who is known for developing high-end waterfront work and for crafting larger residences.

What they can do with a smart home and smart office integrator: Landscape lighting and audio systems can add drama to Cudmore’s waterfront works. He’ll like to know that smart home integrators like Premium Digital can work based on his plans as part of a team.

Ritz Carlton penthouse suite fully automated by Premium Digital Control.
Ritz Carlton penthouse in Miami, fully automated by Premium Digital Control & Automation

GY Ateliers Builder

Industry: Construction Planning

Specialty: Construction planning with smart home integration

Claudia of GY Builders Atelier is a partner of smart home integrator, Premium Digital Control & Automation. Together, they have built the most prestigious and efficient smart home, workplace and commercial enterprises in South Florida.

As a construction planner, Claudia follows only the most rigid processes, compliances and safety standards. Her attention to detail and dedication was a key element to the successful completion of a high number of customized units at the Ritz Carlton Residences in Sunny Isles, Florida.  

Claudia has also worked with top architects and interior designers such as Rene Gonzalez, Max Strang, Britto Charette, and Touzet Studio in the coordination of the construction of high-end customized homes.

What they can do with a smart home and smart office integrator: Smart home integration is best done in the planning stage and this is where Claudia continues to do well in her collaboration with Premium, making sure she offer the full spectrum of smart home systems in her work.

Hubley-Lasher living room design
Source: Hubley-Lasher Design


Industry: Interior Design

Specialty: She collaborates with architectural firms in creating exciting, stylish interiors that juxtaposes lighting, color, texture and form to create dynamic timeless spaces.

Jeanette embraces classic interiors with a modern sensibility by using traditional elements and classical motifs and infusing them with a modern aesthetic. Every project is approached with sensitivity to the architecture of each space utilizing scale and function to create highly effective and welcoming design solutions.

Her passion for fashion and art are reflected in her diverse range of projects from homes, condos, lofts, casual weekend retreats, and residential building lobbies. Jeanette has worked on many projects, including residential homes, lofts and condominiums, residential building interiors, staging, corporate interiors, lobby and common area renovation, façade renovation, resorts, conference centers and universities.

Jeanette personally selects artisan pieces to enhance her designs, from the souks in Morocco; the markets in Istanbul, and Paris’ flea markets as well as shops and villages in southeast Asia.

What they can do with a smart home and smart office integrator: With her eye for classic interiors, her sensibility for the modern esthetic and her diverse repertoire of clients, it’d be interesting how far she can make use of home and office automation.

Ken Golen Design

Industry: Interior Design

Specialty: Residential and retail projects, multifunctional homes

Ken Golen Design considers space planning, style, materials, furniture placement, lighting and color selection when creating the perfect atmosphere, mood and ambiance in your home or office.

“Clients are turning to me to upgrade their most important investment. A single room makeover easily turns into a total home remodel once they see the results,” says interior designer Ken Golen.

That’s great news for a contractor or architect who wants to partner with Ken.

Ken sources local artists and vendors for his finishes, flooring, tile, countertops and fabric. “Our team gives personal attention to your needs and crafts the place exactly how you want it – there’s no communication gap when working with us,” he said.

What they can do with a smart home and smart office integrator: Since they also design spaces to be more multifunctional, a smart home integrator can help make Ken Golen Design convert one room into an office during the day and a guest room at night.

Mike Stake interior design

Mike Stake Studio

Industry: Interior design

Specialty: Sophisticated yet comfortable aesthetics as well as interior architecture and design services, custom furniture, smart home integration and landscape design

In the height of COVID-19, Mike Stake had a client who bought a house in Miami Beach but returned to Europe before the shutdown. Coordinating 100% virtually with the client was a challenge but he finished the project.

This is just one of many cases where the Luxe Gold List honoree found himself coordinating with clients remotely. Communication happened through video meetings, emails, phone calls, FedEx and if at all possible, the occasional in-person meetings.

What they can do with a smart home and smart office integrator: Home is everything these days. Mike says it is a “kindergarten, high school, gym, movie theater, wine and tequila bar and full-on working restaurant.”  Every part of our life at home is connected to the outside world which makes smart home automation is essential nowadays.

Construction by Mackle Builders
Source: Mackle Builders

Mackle Builders

Industry: Builder

Specialty: Superlative construction, efficiency of building processes, strict professionalism

Says president Tom Mackle, “The phrase ‘Honesty and Integrity–It’s Simply Good Business’ has been our motto. The fourth generation builder focuses on fulfilling each customer’s unique vision to life with masterful skill and a clear passion for results.”

Other than residences and commercial projects, it’s not surprising to see them do historical renovations.

What they can do with a smart home and smart office integrator: Hire a smart home integrator with honest and highly trained technicians with various certifications, including the most prestigious CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association) certification

Perrone Construction waterfront residence
Source: Perrone Construction

Perrone Construction

Industry: Builder

Specialty: Palatial waterfront residences

“We take great pride in our ability to help each client achieve a sense of timelessness in their home,” says president Ricky Perrone whose company has a four-decade experience in building the finest luxury waterfront homes.

Known for building luxurious custom homes with the area’s most sought-after water views, a “Perrone home” has come to mean a break from the ordinary but firmly grounded in delivering the highest-caliber luxury waterfront residences.

What they can do with a smart home and smart office integrator: A smart home integrator that has worked on the biggest projects in South Florida would complement its business. Since it has done many waterfront projects, it’ll do well with a smart home integrator that has done some work with

Portuondo Perotti Architects
Source: Portuondo Perotti Architects

Portuondo Perotti Architects

Industry: Architecture

Specialty: Mediterranean villa style using stucco, stone and clay roof tiles

“We treat each project like one long conversation that starts on the first day and ends when they move in. We are known for our ability to incorporate our clients’ wants,” says president Rafael Portuondo who works with Jose Luis Gonzalez Perotti.

“We visit homes we have completed, so that they can experience spaces and materials first hand. If we are working on the furnishings, we will invite them on shopping trips. Experiencing things together is telling beyond words.

“One of the biggest compliments we receive is how much of the completed work looks like the sketches we drew along the way,” he added.

What they can do with a smart home and smart office integrator: Premium Digital can work on a detailed smart home plan with Portuondo.

Smith and Moore Architects
Source: Smith and Moore Architects

Smith and Moore Architects

Industry: Architecture

Specialty: Modern ideas and standards of living fused with classical traditions and frameworks

“We take a holistic approach, understanding the variety of architectural traditions, contextual relationships and the critical seamless integration of landscape and interior design,” says Daniel Kahan, principal and partner.

“Our relationship with our clients is one of immersive collaboration from the initial introduction through the life of the project,” he added.

What they can do with a smart home and smart office integrator: A professional smart home integrator provides a holistic approach to a client’s needs – a system that allows all networked devices to work and complement each other based on customers’ needs.

Watlee Construction pool build
Source: Watlee Construction

Watlee Construction

Industry: Builder

Specialty: Custom new build or remodel

“We think truly successful execution of a vision depends on perfecting every detail,” says president Ryan Watley whose company has completed more than 130 projects in a span of 20 years.

It has construction software that allows it to see everything its managers and supervisors are seeing. “We strive to keep everything as transparent as possible,” says Watley.

Founded in 1984, the firm has designed residences and boutique commercial projects in numerous regions and countries, while focusing primarily on the island of Palm Beach.

The four partners, Harold Smith, Jonathan Moore, Peter Papadopoulos, and Daniel Kahan pride themselves on well versed and creative use of traditional forms to address each project uniquely as a synthesis of modern taste and historical models.

What they can do with a smart home and smart office integrator: Customize homes and workplaces with a full range of custom-designed smart technologies, even before a property is built.

YRA Design interior design in waterfront home
Source: YRA Design Inc

YRA Design Inc.

Industry: Interior design

Specialty: Layouts that flow with an abundance of natural light and an attention to scale

President and lead project designer Dennis Rainho travels to Europe and South America for inspiration. His work entails the cultural, lifestyle and surroundings of the local environment, keeping in mind their client’s persona.  

What they can do with a smart home and smart office integrator: Have automated blinds that close during the hottest part of the day and open during the optimal time your space needs just enough sunshine. A good smart home or office automation system should also be able to scale up for the homeowner or business.


The past year or so have seen many people from high-tax urban areas like New York and Northern California moving to South Florida, setting a record growth in home prices which is again predicted to increase by another 6% next year.  

Reports usually concentrate on the bigger number of people who moved (about 300,000 in the past year) to South Florida purchasing single-family homes at $475,000 and not the ultra-luxury properties valued at $10 million or more which grew by 118% last year.

There were 384 homes sold in the ultra-luxury category last year in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, up from 176 the previous year. Of the 384, 334 were waterfront or oceanfront properties with many of them equipped with smart technology.

“South Florida’s ultra-luxury market has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years, the most rapid growth of any state in terms of sales volume and sales quantity,” the report said.

Volume in the ultra-luxury category was $7.8 billion in 2021, compared to $3 billion in 2020. The number of sales in the category was strongest in the second quarter of the year but remained steady throughout.

While all this is good news for South Florida, all people involved in the real estate industry – from construction planners, architects, interior designers, electrical contractors and smart home integrators as well as homeowners and commercial building owners and lessors, need to plan ahead as supply chain issues continue to persist, brought about by the pandemic.

There will be delays in shipments, so making sure to coordinate better and ahead of time is key to meet the demands of a flourishing smart home automation industry. (Dennis Clemente)

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