by Maggie Flickinger
Barrett Studio architects is proud to have been named “Best of Houzz 2014” again after our surprise rookie win last year. Since our first award, our images have been added to over 15,000 new Ideabooks in the past year!
Houzz is an unparalleled visual resource, with almost three million photos of quality architectural & interior design spaces from all over the world. Now that we’ve used Houzz to share our work with the world and to help our clients as we design their homes, we’d like to share our simple guide to maximize Houzz as a valuable piece of the “information in” phase of your project.
How to Houzz: Seven Steps to Success
- Become a Collector Collect images into Ideabooks based on colors, materials, and how spaces make you feel – we’ll worry about architectural details that tie the whole together.
- Focus & Organize Don’t get sucked in by the aesthetic “wow” factor! Try to think of how it would be for you to inhabit the spaces. Just because I love what an open air tropical grand family kitchen looks like (especially since it’s February in Colorado!) doesn’t mean that’s what would work – or what I would really want – for my cozy couples home in the West. Organize your Ideabooks by room or space in the house: Kitchen, Bathroom, etc.
- Thumbs Down! Include images that you don’t like…add notes. These “thumbs down” images are just as informative as images you do like and can avert the potential trap of going too far down a design path that won’t satisfy your needs.
- Sharing is Caring Give your architect access to your Ideabooks, and if they are involved in Houzz ask them to create their own Ideabook for your project. This sharing is the beginning of co-creation!
- Nuts & Bolts Make sure this image sharing is paired with a programming questionnaire from your architect. This defines the “program” or what goes on in the house – number of bedrooms, bathrooms, connections and adjacencies, special use spaces, how you want those spaces to make you feel, etc. Even though a picture is worth a thousand words, there are still pragmatic and emotive details that you just can’t convey with images alone.
- Talk Money Talk with your architect about the level of finishes and materials you’ve placed in your Ideabooks and how they stack up to your overall budget. If things align, great, full steam ahead! If not, your architect can give you an idea of areas where splurging makes sense to enrich experience, and areas where alternative materials or design solutions can save money and still evoke the same feelings as your Ideabook images.
- Letting Go Trust your architect to take these often disparate images and morph them into something that is not a copy, but uniquely yours! We’re trained to spot patterns, listen carefully both aurally & visually, and interpret the likes and dislikes of our clients into a special place that is theirs – that’s why it’s called a custom home! We’ll use these images + the program questionnaire + our discussions with you, add in what we know about our specific climate and spirit of place, and ultimately synergize a design that tells a visually consistent story – but not just the digital Houzz story, your story.