A profile picture of FerryWelcome to Jane’s Casa! My name is Ferry and Jane’s Casa is the name of my apartment on the 10th floor of an apartment building, somewhere in the Netherlands. On this page, I would like to show you around, tell you about my basic setup for home automation and I will tell the story about why my house is called ‘Jane’s Casa’. However, I think you have an idea. 😉

First, let me introduce myself. My name is Ferry, age 30, born and raised in the Netherlands. I love technology, especially the kind of tech that makes my life easier. I love to read and listen to music. I have some great playlists on Spotify which you can follow if you like. I play the guitar, tell stories using sound in podcasts and last but not least, I am making my home smart!

A hand on a braille displayI’ve always had a great interest in technology, but my interest grew rapidly when I went blind. Suddenly, a part of my life was depending on a lot of technology, like an app which can read the screen of my phone, software that can read text on paper and a device that translate the text on my laptop screen to braille. I wanted to know everything about these gadgets and how to get the most use out of them. So, I started to try to improve these gadgets by breaking and fixing them. I failed most of the times, but I fell in love with technology.

For me, a smart home means that things happens before I really want them to happen. For example, when I’m getting cold and start thinking about turning on the heat, it must have already been turned on.

I got into the smart home technology when I bought my first Philips Hue lights. Since I didn’t see if my lights were on, I found myself more often in a dark house after sunset. With these lights, I was able to check the state in an app. It really solved a big issue for me.

Next, I tried different smart speakers. Google Home had too much limitations, so after two years, I swapped all my Google Assistant enabled devices for Amazon Echo’s. After a few months, I really stretched the possibilities of the Alexa routines to the limit. Of course, I heard of Home Assistant, but until that moment I didn’t have the confidence to get started. When a friend of mine moved to his new apartment and went playing with Home Assistant on a Raspberry Pi, I finally made the step to the best smart home platform out there.

My smart home is located on the 10th floor of an apartment building somewhere in the Netherlands. My apartment has a living room, kitchen, bedroom, hallway and a bathroom with toilet in one. There is also a balcony with a spectacular view over the nearby village. Click on the image below enjoy the view in more detail.

Panoramic view from the balcony of Jane's Casa
Click to see the full sized image. (A popup will open)

Why Jane’s Casa?

Profile picture of JaneSince I went blind, navigating outside to unknown places became very difficult. Walking with a cane costs a lot of energy and it felt more like a struggle than it got me anywhere. One day I learned the benefits of a guide dog and this was the perfect solution to regain my freedom. Two years later I met Jane. 😊

Jane is a black labrador / golden retriever. We are a team since the summer of 2015. Her job is to guard my safety while we are walking, so I won’t collide with lampposts, fall off the sidewalks or bouncing my head into trees. She also can help me find things like, road crossings, mailboxes and entrances of shops and buildings. Besides all this, she’s a lovely pet to have around for company.

I think it’s fair to say that she gave me a big part of my freedom back and I am very grateful for that. That’s why I called my home ‘Jane’s Casa’, as a tribute to my lovely guide dog. I also gave my house this name to remember that you can make a house smart to help you with your daily routine, but that a smart home never replaces an intelligent and helpful friend for life.

There is a dedicated categorie for dog stories to help you and me remember just that. 😊

Achievement

When I started using Home Assistant, I was overwhelmed by all the coding and possibilities. What I missed was a good understanding of the codes that are being used and how to write them myself. I admit that it was part of the fun to learn those things by myself, but sometimes I thought it would be nice to see the code from somebody else, change it to my needs and use it. That’s the reason I started this blog, to share my automation ideas and codes to inspire starters, but also long time users, of Home Assistant to be creative with their automations.

The devices I use

For obvious security reasons, I am not going to publish a full list with smart home gear I own. However, I will mention the devices when I use them in my automations. You can find affiliate links to these devices or products on Amazon in the right sidebar. By buying products through those links, you are supporting me with keeping this blog and my smart home on track. I will really appreciate that. 😊