This 11-bedroom Cape Cod retreat provides magical vacations to extended families managing childhood cancer diagnoses.
Check out this preview of an article appearing in our upcoming Fall 2021 issue of Technology Designer Magazine:
WHEN THE FIRST GUEST FAMILY showed up at Tommy’s Place in Falmouth, Massachusetts in July 2021, a decades-long dream finally came to life. Designed as a retreat for local Massachusetts families dealing with childhood cancer diagnoses, the Control4-automated 11-bedroom 19th-century inn on the famous island of Cape Cod offers a one-of-a-kind vacation destination for entire extended families where every turn reveals colorful splashes of whimsy and kid-friendly amusement.
From the backyard’s restored 1951 fire engine, life-sized chess board, Sunbrite outdoor TV and Episode surround sound to the game room and the “stargazer” room complete with space suits, a telescope and a constellation-themed ceiling, Tim O’Connell, founder of the Tommy’s Place charitable organization, has transformed the once-neglected building into a resort-level accommodation that rivals the fun and imagination of leading theme parks.
“The goal of Tommy’s Place is to provide a year-round retreat where families of any means can enjoy a truly care-free week with non-stop entertainment for kids,” O’Connell explained. “It’s so important to let these kids be kids, and so valuable to help emotionally-stretched families make joyful memories, that I couldn’t even wait for it to be fully finished before opening for our first visitors. The amount of donated labor, materials, technologies and community involvement required to bring Tommy’s Place to life reflects our belief that families dealing with childhood cancer deserve a destination vacation even if they can’t take the whole family to Florida or California.”
Tech Ties it all Together
While the home’s renovation and design was a years-long project, major new components were still being added just weeks before the July launch. According to local smart home technology expert Adam Zell of Boston Automations, what began as a service call to troubleshoot a TV turned into a six-week-long charitable project to outfit the entire home with donated smart home equipment from Snap One. “I’m a regular here in Falmouth, so I knew about the Tommy’s Place project and supported the mission, but once I actually stepped inside and saw how much heart had been poured into it, I felt compelled to add what I could to the experience,” Zell said. “When a family comes to Tommy’s Place, they shouldn’t have to worry about maintaining the property, and everything that can be a fun experience, should be. Since managing an 11-bedroom house with up to 30 people isn’t on most visitors’ list of fun activities, I applied my knowledge and leveraged all my professional relationships to make every activity in the home as care-free and simple as possible.”
Zell spent the next six weeks sourcing product donations from manufacturers and volunteer labor from friends, resulting in a massive technological upgrade that adds to the fun. After hearing of the project, Snap One became a proud donor and Zell used the Control4 smart home system and a variety of accompanying technologies to give the home remote control of lighting, TVs, audio, electronic door locks, plus an enterprise-grade network from Access Networks so everyone can be connected whether they are in the yard or playing inside.
“I consider the families my guests,” O’Connell said, “and I want them to be able to relax the entire time they are here without needing help or staff. The technologies Adam installed eliminated a lot of potential difficulties, including the reality of staying in a home with nearly 100 lighting loads. Nobody wants to walk around for 10 minutes each night to make sure the lights are off and the doors are locked, especially on vacation. With the Control4 remotes and touch panels placed throughout the home, they don’t have to. A single button for ‘nighttime’ is all it takes.”
For more info on Tommy’s Place, click here.
Be sure to check out our next issue of Technology Designer Magazine for the full article.