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High-tech homes: Ipad-operated pads gaining popularity

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

MOORHEAD - Chris Thomsen's Moorhead home contains a 16-foot waterfall, security cameras, music speakers in every room and what he calls "Game Day Central," a bank of five flat screen TVs with separate satellite feeds.

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And it's all controlled through his iPad.

The self-described "techy" and CEO of Thomsen Homes is just one of the builders going high-tech in Fargo-Moorhead's Parade of Homes, which kicked Saturday.

Thomsen's original budget for his home, which showcases top-of-the-line technology and took nine months to build, was $500,000, with $20,000 dedicated to his automated system. In the end, the house, located at 4822 3rd St. S.W. in Moorhead, topped $1.35 million, with $150,000 going toward the technology.

"I've always been a real techy," said the 27-year-old.

"This is the most elaborate system you can get. There's not much more you can automate."

Thomsen said his business is getting into more upscale designs, and his house, one of the two featured homes on the tour, is a great example of what technology can do.

Using one of the two iPads stationed in the house or his iPhone, Thomsen can adjust the volume on the satellite radio in each room, raise or lower the shades on any window, light or extinguish his fireplace and turn the lighting up or down in any room.

Robert Leslie, president of Designer Homes, has installed a similar system in a $549,900 home, which is one of the 65 houses on the tour.

In addition to iPad sound, lighting and temperature controls, the basement of this five-bedroom, three bath home, located at 413 35th Ave. E., in West Fargo, features a 3D, multi-level movie theater.

It's the first home in which Leslie's company has installed a 3D projector, which transmits onto a 120-inch screen. And homeowners are always asking for the latest and greatest in technology, he says.

"We specialize in unique design," Leslie says. "We believe every home should have the owner's signature."

With the aid of 3D glasses, the homeowners will be able to enjoy the latest movie technology in one of the 10 comfy theater seats or from a custom-built bar.

But the gadgets in these homes aren't just of entertainment, it's also for functionality and, in some cases, safety, Leslie says.

Thomsen will be staying at a hotel until after the parade, and using his iPhone from there, he can monitor his home's security and temperature.

The home Leslie built features a sump-pump monitoring system that alerts the owner via text message if there is a problem. Carbon monoxide detectors do the same if high levels are present. Temperatures can be programmed, as can daily necessities such as adjusting lighting and even starting the coffee maker.

"There's not much you can't do with technology now," Leslie says.

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