Design at Your Fingertips by Kirsten Flynn

* Photo : Formaldehyde-free cabinetry, cork flooring, low-VOC paints and a locally-made backsplash with recycled content.
(Photo by Michele Lee Willson)

Kirsten A. Flynn
Sustainable Home

It is an exciting time to work in residential interior design. Technology has made many parts of the process so much easier. It’s hard to believe that, not so long ago, the only way to buy a chandelier was to go to a store and actually look at chandeliers! Now, the entire world is on our computer, tablet, or phone. However, it is easy to get distracted on the internet and end up wasting time on unfamiliar sites or cute cat videos.

One of my favorite tools for designers and homeowners alike is the Houzz website. With literally thousands of home and garden design photos posted by a diverse group of professionals, they are all organized by room type (i.e. kitchen, bathroom) and filtered by style (i.e. contemporary, traditional.) Not only is the site a great source of inspiration, but a helpful collaboration tool.

At the beginning of a project, I use Houzz to help my clients define their style and priorities for a project. I suggest they create an Ideabook and add all of the pictures that express what they want to do with their space. If they are just starting to define their design vision, I caution them to not get too hung-up on how the pictures relate. As they start to assemble an Ideabook, trends often emerge that help define the look of the finished project and which elements are most important.

As the design progresses, I use the Ideabook to discuss specific details of the project. For example, if a client cannot decide whether light- or dark-stained hardwood would look best in their home, or how to incorporate their television in built-in cabinets around a fireplace, I use the search feature on Houzz to find photos of how the different solutions will look. It’s an efficient way to view many options quickly.

Design is relentlessly visual, and photos help me communicate what a finished detail or project will look more clearly than just a description. And, photos help my clients communicate their vision for their home, providing assurance that the completed project will meet their expectations.

I must warn you that, for a design- junkie like me, Houzz can be addicting. I’ve created Ideabooks for room remodels that I will probably never do and a vacation home that I may never own. Nevertheless, if you think you can keep it under control, Houzz is an amazing tool for design research and collaboration.

For more information and to contact Kirsten.
Kirsten A. Flynn
Sustainable Home
www.sustainablehome.com
650-855-9476
Houzz Sustainable Home

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