Home design and decor expert, Mackenzie Craven of Craven Haven, has been building a custom home since 2019. She’s brought her community on the journey from start to (almost!) finish, as she designs spaces and chooses materials all while being a mom to 3 under 3. Proving again, moms can do it all, and they know best.
Whether you’re building, buying, renovating, or DIY-ing, Mackenzie has insights to help anyone turn their space into their own personal Haven.
Here’s what she shared with us:
What advice would you give to someone building or renovating?
- Go with your gut.
- Consider your budget and stick to it! (It can be tempting just to spend a little more, but stick to it!)
- Don’t feel like you have to choose the trendiest option.
- Know what’s negotiable and non-negotiable in what you want and adjust as needed from there. (We had to get creative when selecting our siding, windows, and doors to save for other areas of our home!)
What’s important to you when choosing materials for your home?
With 3 kids, we wanted everything to be easy to maintain. For example, we chose LVP flooring that's waterproof and durable. As a mom, I’m cleaning up spills and messes every day, and I don’t want to have to worry about possible damage (plus, it’s up to 70% cheaper than hardwood).
We also chose smart home devices to access and control everything in our home from one place. Right now, we have Sonos, Ring, Ecobee, Philips Hue bulbs, and once we realized we had no way to control our home besides for our phone, we got Brilliant!
How does technology play a role in your home?
Initially, I didn’t love the idea of having a smart home. But then my husband installed our Sonos, and dance parties started happening daily. Then he got smart bulbs, a smart doorbell, and a smart thermostat, and almost overnight, the whole “smart home” thing started not just to make sense but to make my life easier. Now I don’t have to walk upstairs to change the kid’s climates or turn on/off any lights. I can do it all from the main floor and from one place!
I didn’t like how reliant I was on my phone to be able to use them. If one of the kids is watching a show on my phone, I can’t do what I need to access our devices. So that’s why we went with Brilliant.
Is your smart home practical or fun?
It’s both... the first thing we did when we set up Brilliant was to connect it with our smart devices and then created a Scene to turn off all of our smart lighting and music. Whether we're leaving the house or going to bed, this probably saves me 10 minutes from having to do it manually. And 10 minutes when you’re a mom is like getting an hour back.
Another big bonus is that with Brilliant, we now have cameras inside the house, not just outside with our Ring. So we feel connected to our home, which was one of our biggest goals with this build!
The fun part is when we make the lights different colors for movie night or when my oldest asks Alexa to play his favorite song (Currently: Who Let the Dogs Out).
What would you say to families considering smart home devices?
No matter where you are in your smart home journey, get Brilliant. You won’t need to worry about being frazzled by 20 smart home apps to manage your home as you can manage your entire smart home from the Brilliant app. Additionally, Brilliant is an actual smart home system that’s easy and affordable– comparable smart home systems can set you back tens of thousands of dollars. You only need one to unify your home and your family and to me, that’s priceless.