Many of you requested a blog post on this topic and I was happy to oblige, but I wanted to live with our security system for a few months before discussing it in detail (and making recommendations). For those of you who don’t know… over the summer we had a break-in. This prompted Emmett & I to consider security, in an effort to feel safe and comfortable at home after that experience. We also were interested in making some smart home updates to create a more efficient house. In this post, I’m diving into detail on the system we selected, how it works, and some of the smart home features we’ve been loving these past few months. If you’re in the market for smart home products or security, I also have a promo codes for some free gadgets as well! Click through to read about our experience, how we made our home smarter, and my honest opinion on feeling peace-of-mind at home.
*This post is brought to you in partnership with Vivint. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy!
It has been a tough year for everyone. In times of uncertainty, home is always the only place I want to be. Finding comfort, safety, and a sense of security at home has never been an issue for us. Emmett and I grew up in a rural community where everyone left their doors unlocked. I think that’s why the break-in we experienced over the summer shook me. I never expected to be the victim of a break-in. I didn’t think our privacy could be violated in that way. It wasn’t something Emmett or I had ever experienced and while we were lucky (the only thing that was taken was Emmett’s wallet), it honestly took an emotional toll. In the weeks following, I felt uneasy at home. I work from home and I’m here all the time. I was constantly checking the doors in our house and vehicles to make sure everything was locked up and secure. It’s such a terrible feeling knowing your safe place has been violated by a complete stranger. After chatting with Emmett about my feelings, we decided it was probably time to get security.
We did lots of research, shopped around, and ultimately landed on Vivint– who is actually headquartered here in Utah. We had a call with their customer service department, discussed our needs and wants, and decided to commit and schedule installation. A couple weeks later, I was approached by them for a partnership. Without being opportunistic, I wanted to be totally transparent with you… we had already committed to installing their products, but you’ll notice affiliate links throughout this post, as I signed onto their partnership (because we truly LOVE our smart home & security system). As I mentioned in the intro, I wanted to live with our new system for a few months before sharing my honest feedback with you. I have to say- I’m very impressed and am feeling safer than ever in our home. We’re already beginning to see savings from creating a more efficient, smart home as well. I’m excited to show you how it’s working for us!
First I’ll share what we landed on and why. All Vivint systems and products are customized for your home and specific needs. When Emmett & I initially called customer service, we created a plan that addressed “problem areas” in our home. We liked that we could customize as needed and I liked the look of their products in comparison to other providers. All of their cameras, detectors, monitors, and smart home gadgets are very sleek and simple looking. As a designer, you know I have high standards when it comes to aesthetics. The last thing I want to add to our newly renovated spaces are bulky products that are eyesores. When we moved into our home, it actually had an existing security system of another brand. It wasn’t functional and looked like it popped straight out of 1995. The control panel was yellowed, and we immediately removed the bulky, yellow motion detectors that accompanied it, upon moving in. I remember thinking, “I’m never installing security if it looks like this.” Luckily, there are better options in 2020. Haha! Check out the before and after below… our new Smart Hub control panel is very sleek looking.
Before & After
We specifically wanted outdoor cameras- especially on our driveway, because Emmett’s truck was broken into while sitting in our drive. Many of our neighbors have experienced vehicle break-ins this year and keeping an eye on our exterior was a top priority for us. Our new shed is filled with tools and equipment, and is next to the driveway in the side yard, so that was another area we had concerns about.
We landed on Vivint’s Outdoor Camera Pro, because it can tell the difference between humans and animals. We have so many deer that wander our yard and sleep behind the shed, I worried it would be annoying to get notifications every time a deer passed through our yard. Luckily, that hasn’t been the case. The cameras are very intelligent and you can adjust the settings to avoid animal notifications. We purchased a few of those outdoor cameras to keep an eye on our backyard & patio, our driveway, and side yard.
At the front of our home, we opted for the Smart Doorbell. It’s very sleek and minimal. It covers our porch and the front yard. This camera probably sees the most use… we get a lot of packages and deliveries, so it’s really practical! It even has the optics and intelligence to protect package deliveries. It can tell when something is delivered and you can choose to “protect the package” with the deter feature.
It also has two-way talk, HD video, night vision, and a doorbell. I use the two-way talk function often… I like being able to thank our delivery people without having to be in physical contact with them (another helpful feature- this year, especially). I asked Emmett to ring the doorbell, so I could grab a photo for you…
In addition to cameras, we also installed traditional security gear inside- motion detectors, sensors on our windows & doors, glass-break sensors, etc. Those have come in very handy this fall! I’ve been leaving the windows open for fresh air and I would forget to close them if it weren’t for the app reminding me. The sensors are pretty small and easily blend with our doors and millwork. They can also be painted to match your wall, casing, or door color! I doubled checked on that one for you. Do you spy the sensor on our french doors in the formal living room, below?
In our garage, we opted for a Smart Lock on the entry door into our home (it is located in the hall next to the laundry room). This is awesome for friends and family who have access to our house. You can create unique codes for each person, and you’ll be notified who is coming into your home. For example, we set up a code for our neighbors (the ones we did the deck makeover for), because they often bring in our packages, water plants, and keep an eye on things while we’re away. Our dog sitter also has a separate code, so we know when she is coming and going. It’s pretty handy! Guests punch in their unique code to open our large garage door, then again to enter our house through this door. You can also unlock the door with your phone, if you’re away and someone needs inside. Of course I opted for brass, and again- the design is much better than others on the market… believe me when I say, I shopped around!
Also in the garage… both of our garage doors are linked to our Vivint smart home, so I can control them with my phone or the Smart Hub in our entry hallway. I’m notorious for leaving the house and thinking, “Did I close the garage door?!” … it’s nice to quickly open the app, double check, and open & close the doors as I please.
Aside from security, we also decided to update & integrate some smart home products. We replaced both of our dated thermostats for smart thermostats. They look so much better! Our smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors also got an update. They’re all hardwired and synced to our Smart Hub (and app). No more annoying chirping sounds because of dead batteries! I like knowing our bases are covered, should anything happen.
I’ve kind of been a big ball of nerves this year. Like the rest of the world, my anxiety has been higher than usual, and I was a bit concerned about the security installation during the pandemic- especially when Utah’s numbers were climbing. My nerves were calmed when I was assured Vivint performs daily employee health checks, and all installers show up wearing proper PPE. Our installer, Marion, was incredibly respectful, professional, and went above & behind to teach me how to use our system (I’m truly a tech dummy). It’s also an easy system to navigate with a pretty interface. I find it really intuitive!
If you’re interested in security or Vivint smart home products, you can either call or click to get a free estimate. I’ll leave you with my personal customer service team phone number (844) 654-5206 … you’ll hear my voice first, then they’ll connect you. I’ve also got a special link you can click, if you prefer to do things online. Be sure to use my code ROOMFORTUESDAY for a free Doorbell Camera Pro, with the purchase of a system. You can find pricing, terms, and conditions here.
Please let me know if you have any questions at all! I’d be happy to chat and answer any you may have in the comment section below. Security is kind of a personal thing, but I wanted to share how it helped ease my worries these past few months. It really has been a game changer for us, and I hope this info is helpful for some of you who have been considering it! I’m honestly loving it more than I thought I would. It’s hard to believe we went without for so long. Having the smart home features is an added bonus! Our home is very efficient now and I find comfort knowing we’re protected against many elements (fire, carbon monoxide, break-ins, etc). I’ll hop on IG stories in a bit and share how it works “in person” so you can see some video footage of our smart home in action!
PeggiOctober 19, 2020 at 5:36 am
Yikes. I am so sorry you experienced such a violation! Except for my years in AZ, I’ve also only lived in small towns or rural areas. Of course, this doesn’t mean there’s no crime, but it certainly does feel safer. We currently rely on “attentive” neighbors for our security. I like the idea of different codes for people entering through the garage; that’s much more convenient than handing out multiple keys! Someday a smart thermostat is an upgrade I think we’d appreciate. I also could probably benefit from being able to check windows and garage doors after I’ve left the house! And for sure, the aesthetics of that system is a major improvement! The old panel looks exactly like the ones in our school.🤣 I’m happy that your new system has made you feel better! We could all use a little more peace of mind these days.
I hope you are still enjoying some time with Laurie Anne! Cheers to (hopefully) another lovely fall week.💜
SarahOctober 19, 2020 at 9:21 am
It really does feel safer! When we lived in that setting, we never locked doors (home or vehicles), left windows open, tools out… it just didn’t matter because we were so remote and knew all of our “neighbors”. In our existing home and previous home in Utah, we relied on the “attentive” neighbors and everyone promised to keep an eye on the neighborhood. Despite having security now, I still love that everyone keeps an eye on our neighborhood and community. We’re all looking out for one another! Our next door neighbors are happy we got security though and are considering the same after the summer events. The unique codes is really cool! I like that my phone tells me who is entering our house when the codes are used. The smart thermostat is already saving us money, so I’m happy about that! The aesthetic is a thousand times better than the 90’s system that was here before and inoperable. Haha! Everything looked very dated and yellow. I definitely feel much better being home alone and our house is back to feeling like my safe, happy space again. Whew! Laurie Anne randomly drove to visit and will be here another day or two :) We’ve been enjoying the fall weather! I hope you had a lovely weekend and your week is off to an awesome start, Peggi! xo
CarlyOctober 19, 2020 at 6:17 am
Oh my gosh I am so sorry to hear that you had a break in! I know that awful icky feeling of violation somewhat (my car was rummaged through) but I cannot imagine how it would feel knowing it was your house.
I am a big proponent of security systems and smart home features, so it was really great to hear about your experience with one. It’s been something I’ve talked about many times with Alex and I think I might show him this to get the ball rolling. He works night shift a lot and like you guys, we also have a tool shed full of good quality tools and I also work from home so I know the feeling of being freaked out to be in your own home!
As always, a super helpful and timely post. I’m also so happy to hear that you love your smart doorbell! I splurged on a Nest Hello about a month ago and wish I had gotten one way sooner! Great for peace of mind and for checking for those packages that seem to constantly be arriving during this pandemic.
Have a wonderful Monday and stay safe! ❤️
SarahOctober 19, 2020 at 9:13 am
I’m so sorry you also know that feeling, Carly! It definitely feels like an icky violation of privacy. I do know that Vivint has a product for car production as well… although we didn’t get it since we have security cameras on our driveway (it felt like too much). I’ve never wanted a full-on security system until that experience, but I have to say- I really love having it. I wasn’t convinced it would bring me peace-of-mind, but it did. Tools are so expensive and our shed is far removed from our home, so it felt like a good move to keep that area safe. The doorbell is also my favorite! I’m so happy to hear this post was helpful. I’ll be sure to share some examples of how it works on Instagram later today :) Have an awesome week, Carly! xo
LaurenOctober 19, 2020 at 8:47 am
Ugh…a break in is one of my heaviest fears. I can’t even imagine how that must have shook you and Emmett. I’ve long wanted a security system, and Vivint is at the top of my list. I didn’t know there were smart home features available with their systems. It’s nice to know those are options you can include. We have two thermostats that desperately need an upgrade, and I’ve been pushing to get smart thermostats to no avail. I’m curious to know what is your favorite feature of those, and have you and Emmett seen any cost savings on your electricity bill? I also would love to upgrade our smoke detectors-they are original to the house and the casings are yellowed terribly. I’ve been shopping around specifically for the smoke/carbon monoxide hardwired combos. What do you know about how these work? Jeff is resistant to get the combos because he says carbon monoxide detectors are supposed to be at floor level. (My thought was that if that were the case they wouldn’t make combination detectors meant for ceiling installation). Here in California when buying or selling, they do require you to have one carbon monoxide detector on each level of the home, near the floor. Curious to know if that’s a California specific requirement and whether the combination detectors meet home inspection guidelines. Also does hardwired mean they have to run electrical to them?
I love the doorbell and smart lock features! I couldn’t tell you the amount of times my MIL has misplaced our house key! Question about your outdoor security cameras: does Vivint own the footage from them? For instance, if a neighbor had a similar situation happen, whose property was in view of your cameras, would you be able to pull the footage yourself to assist law enforcement? Or would you have to get the footage from Vivint? That’s one of Jeff’s big ticket must-haves in security cameras. He doesn’t like the idea of a company owning the rights to security footage. Personally it’s not something I have ever thought of, or even knew was a thing. I don’t really know if I have an opinion one way or the other, but he feels so strongly about it that it’s prevented us from moving forward with a security system. I’ve been anxious to get something, especially now that he’s traveling every other week for work. He’s currently in Seattle. Spending nights alone in a semi-rural area, with large open property directly behind us gives me the creeps and ups the anxiety factor for sure. Thank you for sharing about your experience and the choices you made with security. It always helps to hear from someone who has used a product and loves it! I’m sorry you had to go through what you did, but glad that you now have more peace of mind and protection. Can’t wait to read the comments and see everything in action on stories! Have a wonderful Monday!
SarahOctober 19, 2020 at 9:08 am
It was definitely a surreal experience. Yes! They are actually known for their smart home products. We are already seeing savings on our electricity bill… from our smart thermostats. They know when you’re home, when you leave, and they automatically adjust to your set preferences. It’s pretty cool! Our carbon monoxide detectors are separate. Both the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors were here when we moved into our house (hardwired), we just upgraded to Vivint a few months ago. They basically wire into one of them, so the entire system is now connected. We get alerts and reminders for testing, notifications if levels spike or are abnormal, etc. We have at least one on each level of our home. I wish I had answers to your specific questions, but they could probably be better answered by one of the tech people at Vivint. I’m sorry! You know me… not the most tech savvy.
For our outdoor security cameras, I would assume we 100% own the footage. When setting them up- you actually draw (on the screen) the border of your property, that the camera captures… then it asks if you own this space and you have to consent and check a box- which leads me to believe you could do whatever you want with that footage. You have complete access and can choose how long you keep the data, how long it records, etc. It’s all customizable. I would definitely double check with Vivint, but I know you (as the homeowner) have complete access… I’m just not sure if they also do. They do have privacy policies in place to protect homeowners. It has been really helpful! I also like knowing when Emmett pulls into the drive from work at the end of the day, so I can start to wrap up my own work. I feel like I have eyes on everything and am notified or alerted about the things I care about. It has been really nice! I’ll share some previews on stories this afternoon :) Hope you have a wonderful week, Lauren!! xo
PeggiOctober 20, 2020 at 4:54 am
Ok Lauren, this might be poor timing, but your question about the video footage brought to mind scenes from “Dead to Me!” The neighbors’ security cameras definitely caught unfortunate happenings.🤣
SarahOctober 20, 2020 at 10:00 am
Hahaha!! That’s EXACTLY what I thought of… loved that show.
Danna FOctober 20, 2020 at 9:51 am
Sarah, I can’t imagine a break in in your home. I’ve experienced it in our cars (frustrating too) but not inside my home…so scary and unsettling. I am so so sorry.
We have a security system in place with some of the same features you have with the exception of the outdoor cameras & smart thermostat. I don’t love our system so would do a different one the next time around. Instead I purchase everything separately and have 3 apps to monitor..ugh! Its fine for now but using 1 app to control it all would be ideal.
Hope your day is great! Look forward to your guest room reveal!
SarahOctober 20, 2020 at 1:05 pm
Thanks Danna! I’m feeling much more settled and safe after installing our new system a few months ago. I do love having everything on one place, one one app (even our garage doors are synced). I’m not super tech savvy, so it feels easier and more convenient for me. Ha! I hope you’re also having a wonderful week :) The guest bedroom is coming along… the bed is finished and looks amazing (hopefully sharing that post on Thursday)! I’m just waiting for some art and decor to arrive, then I can share the entire reveal. Yay!! Cant’ wait! xo
Stephanie P.October 20, 2020 at 4:40 pm
Hi Sarah! I’m so sorry you experienced a break in earlier this year. It’s been on my mind for my own home and I might have to contact Vivint to see what can be done for security at my house.
My question is – did they install everything as we see it on your blog? Maybe this is a silly question, but I don’t want visible wires or anything like that and it appears your install doesn’t have any wires and the way the cameras are attached on your home looks flawless! Did they do that great of a job?
SarahOctober 20, 2020 at 5:57 pm
Hi Stephanie! Great question… yes- they installed everything as you see it in photos (zero wires visible). Our installation took quite a while- almost 4 hours, but the technician was super professional, clean, and I was very impressed with the end look, as well as instructions on how to use the system. He even climbed on a ladder in our garage to better hide a cord for one of our outdoor security cameras. Everything inside is cord free though, which is super nice! They took care of everything. I did have to tackle some touch up paint, as our new smart thermostats were smaller than our previous ones (that were clunky), so I had to cover the old paint color. They did an amazing job! Certainly exceeded my expectations, and I’m very picky. Ha!