Building a new house in Palo Alto

Building a new house in Palo Alto

Friday, January 13, 2012

Houzz porn and making decisions with a better half

Dreaming about a sweeet, sweeet Craftsman.

Warning: The first half of this post is about marriage.  If you're a home design enthusiast just looking for a porn fix, here ya go...a sexy Houzz slideshow:



The first time I embarked on a construction project I was flying solo.  It was a year long home remodel and the only person who had to sign off on decisions was moi.  Needless to say, things moved along quite quickly.  This time around I have a better half.

Division of labor in our household is very simple.  Responsibilities get divvied up and assigned to the person who loves it the most, hates it the least or needs it done more urgently.  One of my favorite perks of being married is having someone who manages my 401K (he loves investing) and does the laundry (he runs out of underwear first).  He's also in charge of all things automotive because he digs that kind of stuff while I am not a car person.  Last year when he decided it was time for me to get a new one, he did the research and car shopping by himself.  (After all, who would want to spend Sundays test driving cars when you could be out trolling open houses??)  When he finally found his top pick, I took it on a five minute test drive, looked at the final price and gave my stamp of approval.  That's how we roll.

On the home design front, I'm in the driver's seat because for me it's a dream job and for him it's work.  Our end goal is a smart investment and a house that we'll love living in for the next decade.  For better or worse, I'm in charge of the details on how we get there and he'll do test drives when there are decisions that have a major impact on the cost or end result.

The secret for how we get there while still maintaining marital bliss has been Houzz.  Houzz is what a male friend of mine classily describes as "house porn." It's an online community and database of home photos sweeet sweeet eye candy uploaded by design professionals from around the world.  It has thousands upon thousands of photos detailing every possible nook and cranny of a home's anatomy --inside and out.  Hubba hubba.  I spend a greater part of my waking hours on Houzz fantasizing about the perfect closet, getting ideas on how to build a dream kitchen, and coveting a tropical beach house.

The beauty of Houzz is that in addition to browsing photos, you can also save and share them in an "ideabook."  I have an ideabook for every room in the house and when I see something I like, I send the link to our architect.  It's so much easier to show than tell.  Our realtor (the person who introduced me to Houzz) also has an ideabook where she shares trendy design elements for our house.  (BTW, Houzz also comes in handy when the pros start throwing around words I don't know, like rafter tailstrusses and dutch gable roofs.)

When it was time to decide on our exterior design finishes, I scoured Houzz and the web for examples.  (Houzz has a nifty bookmarklet that allows you to save photos from other websites, too.)  After spending hours compiling an ideabook with 170 different exterior designs, I pushed the dog off the couch and replaced him with my husband.  We then used my iPad to flip through the collection photos and debate details.  (You can do this on your computer, but the Houzz iPad app is drop dead gorgeous and easier when you want to cozy up and quickly scan through a lot of images.)  Within about five minutes, we were able to hone in on our likes and dislikes and come to some decision points -- all this from the comfort of our living room.  No dog-eared magazines, no open houses, no making small talk with realtors pretending we're in the market.  Just a quickie with me, my hubby, and Houzz.  

In the end, we sent three photos to our architect with the request: "like these but on a Craftsman with a contemporary twist."  She miraculously morphed the photos into a drawing of our future house, all of which you can see in our tantalizing ideabook below:


5 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. My pleasure, schultkl. Thanks for reading!

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  2. I can't wait to see the finished house! We LOVE houzz. More configurations than regular porn.

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  3. Hi Kay! Can you share the contact info of your architect Jeanine? This blog is very helpful, thank you!

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  4. Hi Margarita, No problem! Jeanine can be reached at rezdez at sbcglobal.net. Her full contact information is in this post:
    http://www.newpaloaltohouse.com/2012/01/how-to-hire-architect-or-residential.html.

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