Lefty, I have a great deal of experience with household wiring. Not only have I installed the wiring in new houses, but I have also had to correct all the jerry-rigging that the tenants at my father's mobile home park have worked up in an attempt to steal power. I am also well aware of how the x10 system works. Quite frankly, it is ugly and the software it comes with is a real pain. My goal with this project is to create something a little more eloquent and possibly even cheaper. Further down the road it is my intention to add voice control and automated computer tasks. So yes, I do plan on reinventing the x10 system. However, I posted this on here so that I could gain some insights from my fellow modders. I am sure many of you have had experience with home automation, as I have, and have learned through experience exactly what you do and do not want in such a system. I am not satisfied with what the market offers now so I have decided to change that. In the future try to respond under the assumption that the person you are speaking to has some knowledge and has done a little research. You will come off as a much nicer and considerate person that way.
Draythomp, thank you very much for the encouragement and the pointers. I have worked with computers for quite some time now and have definitely killed my fair share of equipment in the past due to oversights on my part. I will be sure to consider the ventilation aspect when installing the boxes. My goal is to have one fully functional and tested outlet box and switch prior to creating or installing any others. However, once that step is complete, I don't imagine that it will take me much time at all to recreate the process with other boxes. Also, I am currently using several powerline ethernet adapters to extend the network at my workplace. My workplace is an engineering firm (I'm the IT guy) and has an unbelievable amount of noise due to the fact that they not only design, but also fabricate. So I already have a little experience with powerline networks, but I do plan on several long nights and lots of research. I'm glad I have this forum as a resource!
Keep the responses coming! My goal is cheap, invisible, and easy for technophobes to learn.
As I said in my original post... this is going in my parents house