Home Design Technology
Home design isn’t what it used to be! Feeling overwhelmed by technology? You’re not the only one. Most homes have at least half a dozen, if not more, wireless devices streaming a constant flow of news, social media updates, and daily minutia. It’s enough to drive one insane because it’s so hard to break away from the barrage. Gone are the vacations where you can actually escape from your work calls and emails, and many companies have no problem with having their staff on call 24/7, 365 days a year.
Amazon and other online shopping web sites are molding a point and click generation of shoppers. Many folks think nothing of taking hours of a small business owner’s time at the local brick and mortar and then ordering products online. Whether it is a pair of shoes or perhaps some wallpaper, this is a trend that is forcing more and more locally owned businesses to close. In the home improvement and design industry, only large chains and big box stores are able to compete with internet sales. Many of the folks who wax poetically about their small down town area being full of national chains are the same people contributing to the problem!
But it’s not all bad. There are many great new products and websites that have made dramatic improvements to the home design and remodeling industry. Whether you are planning a custom home or your dream kitchen, the process can be lots of fun.
One exciting development is the explosive popularity of the website HOUZZ.com According to Wikipedia, “Houzz is a web site and online community about architecture, interior design and decorating, landscape designand home improvement. The Houzz platform and mobile apps feature interior and exterior home photos, articles written by architects, interior designers and home design experts, product recommendations, and a user forum.” If you are planning any type of project, it is a terrific idea to set up a free account and start collecting pictures and ideas of what you like. When our clients bring this to the table, we are able to fast track the entire design process.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, can be worth dozens of hours. It is not uncommon for our clients to simply share their Houzz idea books and say: “Design and build me that!” Of course, a professional designer will have the ability to put your personal stamp on your job, but this is still an incredible way to engage the process.
Another exciting development is the comprehensive integration of 3D rendering software. Hand drawn blue prints and design renderings will soon go the way of the typewriter. There are multiple software platforms available in the industry now, and savvy architects and design firms are employing them to provide stunning, life like design renderings. One important caveat: The super high end cartoon renderings that you see on home improvement and property shows are custom made for use on TV. We’re not quite there yet, but the products are extremely close to that now.
Most rendering software will allow designers to download products such as cabinets, flooring, counters, lighting, and furniture from vendor websites and incorporate them right into your dream design. You can even select your favorite brand and paint color for the walls, then adjust the lighting to see what the room will look like during the day, at night, and with various types of lighting.
One of the biggest advantages of rendering software is how easy it is to make changes. With a click of a mouse walls can be moved, colors changed, windows resize, you name it! This, coupled with employing the HOUZZ database, had streamlined the design and build process dramatically in the last few years.
Certainly, the amazing technology in our lives is a mixed blessing. While at times it is overwhelming and stressful, the improvements it brings into our life far outweigh the negatives. If you are considering designing a custom home or any type of home improvement project, be sure to check out HOUZZ.com, and most definitely hire a firm that employs the design software systems.