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This Guy Won the Lottery and Put His Money Into Building a Smart House

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This Guy Won the Lottery and Put His Money Into Building a Smart House

Like a lot of young bachelors, Brian McCarthy wanted to deck out his place with high-tech toys. But unlike most of his peers, he could afford to: McCarthy won the lottery—literally. Four years ago, at age 25, he pocketed $68.4 million thanks to Mega Millions. Since then, the now-former account manager at Pepsi has spent nearly $200,000 on technology for his Arlington penthouse.

Today McCarthy rarely touches an actual switch or power button in his home. He uses his iPhone to operate the lights, temperature, stereo system, and TV. When he wakes up, he grabs his smartphone to turn on the TV built into the bathroom mirror. By the time he rolls out of bed, the morning news awaits him.

He relies on the phone when out of town, too. McCarthy can remotely let friends into his place to crash if they need to. A camera records anyone who enters the condo when he’s away, and stores the video to his phone.

How did he pull the whole package together? In 2012, McCarthy hired designers Jeff Akseizer and Jamie Brown to oversee the condo’s overhaul. They in turn worked with smart-home specialists at Alexandria’s Absolute Custom Solutions to help integrate the technology with the interior design.

When he first met with Akseizer and Brown, McCarthy says he gave them “carte blanche.” These are the results.

Photograph by Dan Chung.
Lighting and wave motion mimic real sea conditions in the 300-gallon fish tank, which has an automatic feeder and leak-detecting floor sensors. Photograph by Dan Chung.
The penthouse’s technology is aesthetic as well as functional: The loft bar glows in several colors that fade from one to the next. Photographs by Dan Chung.
All three bathroom mirrors are equipped with Seura TVs, so McCarthy won’t miss the news while getting ready. Photograph by Dan Chung.
McCarthy can pause and transfer whatever he’s watching downstairs to his bedroom TV upstairs. Photograph by Marlon Crutchfield.
The sounds system plays through speakers on the private roof deck, which also has a glare-free outdoor TV. Photograph by Marlon Crutchfield.

Jennifer Sergent blogs at DC by Design and can be reached at jennifersergent@verizon.net.

This article appears in our September 2015 issue of Washingtonian.