One key to a successful remodeling project is inspiration.
Maybe you’ve just visited a friend whose fabulous new kitchen has inspired you to update your own. Or you saw a spread in a home design magazine for a home addition that would look perfect at your place.
If you can show those designs to the remodeling professional who will design and renovate your home, you’ll make process easier for both of you. So snap photos and tear out magazine spreads that you can bring along with you during your first design meeting with your design/build contractor.
Even better: Spend some time studying remodeled homes and rooms on Web sites like Houzz (www.houzz.com) that have collected millions of photos, project descriptions and contact information for the contractors whose projects you’re viewing.
Even if you already have a contractor in mind, you might be able to look at that remodeler’s work on a site like Houzz. JEB Design/Build, for instance, has a ton of photos on Houzz that potential and existing clients can look at to get ideas for the projects that we build for them.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. And often, you can’t really do an idea justice unless you can show it to someone.
Houzz is simple to use: You simply create a user name and password, and then start browsing. You can type in a general keyword like “kitchen” or something more specific, like “white kitchen cabinets.” You can search for a specific contractor or city or product brand. Or you can just scroll through pages randomly to get plenty of ideas.
Houzz encourages browsers to create what the site calls “ideabooks.” There, you can collect images of rooms you like, upload your own photos and jot down some notes if you want to. Then, you can share your ideabooks with your designer or remodeling contractor, or even with your spouse or friends if you want their feedback. To fill your ideabook, all you have to do is click on the Houzz photos you like to save them to your personal Houzz space.
Likewise, once you have invited your contractor to share your ideabooks, he or she can add photos to it for you to consider.
Houzz founder Adi Tartako co-created the site after a nightmarish remodeling experience of her own that taught her the value of hiring the right contractor for the job, how to talk to the remodeler using the language of his trade, and how showing rather than telling is often the most effective way to communicate.
Houzz offers decorating ideas, too. You’ll see furniture arrangements, wall art, creative ways to paint rooms, lighting ideas and all kinds of home décor configurations on the site. The photos are not ads from manufacturers; rather, they’re pictures of homes and rooms that actually have been remodeled and furnished. It’s like taking a tour of model homes—without leaving your computer.
You’ll find JEB Design/Build’s Houzz photos here: www.houzz.com/jeb-design-build.
Jeb Breithaupt, B. Arch., MBA, is president of JEB Design/Build in Shreveport. You can contact him at 318-865-4914 or by visiting www.jebdesignbuild.com.