Designing your castle
Design and architecture go in and out of style just like clothes, music and vacation hot spots. But what most of us really want is a home we’re comfortable and one in which we may have had a hand in designing or at least decorating. Now in our ever changing computer era there are websites and iPhone apps that even the most un-artistic of us can maneuver.
In what now seems like a century ago, I took some design courses for fun at New York University, and I clearly remember using a scale ruler to draw floor plans and elevations on graph paper and then cutting and pasting design elements to create rooms.
For a long time now, rulers and scissors have been replaced with clicking, dragging and dropping design elements into virtual rooms in the palm of your hand, and a couple of new websites have caught my attention.
Homestyler.com looks like websites that were once only used by architects and interior designers. You can start a room from scratch with a variety of floor plans, decide which room of the house you’re designing and pick cabinet colors and styles, paint color, wallpaper and a large selection of furniture styles to drop into the floor plan. Then you can convert it into a 3D format looking like something from an HGTV show.
There also is a landscaping feature in Homestyler.com and, of course, you can import photos of your actual rooms to work with.
Homedesign3d.net is similar in that it allows you to create or upload floor plans and populate the rooms in 2-D or 3-D with furnishings and textures. Home Design 3-D has a paid version as well starting at $6.99, which gives you additional ways to customize your own décor elements.
Iscapeapps.com is for gardens and landscaping. Photos of your outdoor area are downloaded and trees, plants, water, features, walkways and furniture are then added. There is also a paid version for $9.99 offering a more extensive image bank. Iscape’s sister application called HardScape costs $4.99 and offers an extra wide array of options for rendering surfaces, walls, fences and even more.
There are three very good apps to help take the guesswork out of choosing paint. I have written about all three before, but they are worth mentioning again since we’re on the subject of design. ColorSmart by Behr Paint, Color Capture by Benjamin Moore and one that I have had on my iPhone for a couple years, ColorSnap, all make it easy to browse and save colors.
Just being able to look at a variety of colors while you’re walking around a furniture or fabric store is enough to make many of us swoon. ColorSmart and Color Capture allow you to input room dimensions so the paint costs can be calculated.
Aside from the over the top fun you can have with these websites and apps, you will end up saving time and money when doing a house redesign or shopping for a new home. Imagine going through potential homes to purchase that may need a bathroom or a kitchen makeover.
Simply snap a picture and download it into one of the design apps or start with just the room dimensions and window placements and go to town. It won’t take you long to either put that property in the potential list or in the too much to do list.
Le Corbusier,one of the founders of modern architecture and a graduate of the Bauhaus German School of Design, said, “A house should be a machine for living.”
Modern technology now allows us to have a digital tool box enabling us to use our “machines” to create the perfect machine for living, even if you never heard of a scale ruler.