Tag Archives: Home decorating

Three apps for choosing paint colors

Have you ever tried a new color in your home that looked enticing on the palette card but not so great on your walls? Or maybe you’re nervous about straying away from white because you don’t want to risk an eye-catching color that isn’t what you thought?

Help is here! Read on to enjoy the fun and convenience of bringing the perfect color into your home.

The Power of Color

From seasons to food and from places to moods, almost everything evokes a color. Think of winter’s creamy neutrals or sharp icy blues. What about a vibrant sunset on the beach, the rich greens of a forest canopy, or the jeweled colors of summer’s fruits and vegetables?  Colors can rev you up, calm you down, or offer comfort. They heat things up and cool them down.

Given color’s power over our psyche, it’s no surprise that one of the most common pieces of advice for decorating and design is adding a new coat of paint.

It’s easy to be inspired to change your space by changing the color… easy, that is, until you’re standing in the home improvement store faced with a massive wall of tantalizing paint color chips.

Fortunately, technology in the form of easy-to-use apps lends a helping hand in choosing paint colors and deciding which color combinations are right for you and your space.

Here are three apps that I find promising.  All free, these apps are an easy way to find inspiration for your home and have fun with your decorating.

1.  Benjamin Moore Color Capture App

choosing-paint-colors-BM-colorcaptureapp
True to its name, this app lets you capture your inspiration with your smart phone and then match it to one of Benjamin Moore’s collection of more than 3,500 paint colors. Found your dream kitchen color on an orchid while visiting the botanical gardens? No problem. Snap a picture and the app will match it for you. You can share the color with your social network, save pictures and their coordinating colors, and access a full color spectrum wheel. The app is available for iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, and Android. Download the app and learn more here.

2.   Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap

choosing-paint-colors-sw-colorsnap-app
Sherwin-Williams offers its own version of a color matching app. As you would expect, this one matches your image’s color palette to one of 1,500 of SW’s own paint colors. This app allows you to fine tune and play with saturation, hue, and lightness features. You can also dig up detailed color information such as the RGB and LRV values. This app works on iPhone, Blackberry, and Android. Download and learn more here.

 3.   My Color Guide by Google

choosing-paint-colors-My-Color-Guide
My Color Guide was made with designers in mind. Similar to Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams, My Color Guide will match an image taken with your smart phone to one of thousands of available colors. You can create custom palettes and share them with friends and family over email. This one also gives you the RGB values and hexadecimal numbers for precise matching. Download and learn more here. 

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As a 3D rendering professional, it’s great to know that a client can take a picture of their perfect color inspiration and share it with me or use it to specify an exact shade of paint, instead of leaving me guessing about what they had in mind.  Color-picker apps like these, combined with Houzz ideabooks and Pinterest boards (as explained in this post, written shortly before Pinterest hit the big-time), are great ways for people to communicate their design ideas.  This way, we can fine-tune their design in 3D renderings before they invest a dime in materials or contractor fees.

Have you tried any of these apps for choosing paint colors?  Are there any other great mobile apps that you use for home design or decor?


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The value of Houzz for remodeling projects

DO YOU HOUZZ?

I find Houzz.com to be an extremely valuable resource for both my own and my clients’ remodeling and redecorating projects.  In case you’ve been on another planet for the past couple of years, here’s what Houzz is all about (in their own words):

Houzz is the leading online platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts, and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality.

Houzz is like Facebook, Pinterest, Wikipedia, Architectural Digest, and House Beautiful all rolled into one.  So it probably goes without saying that it can be very addictive.

On Houzz, you can search a huge database of images for architecture and decor ideas, using just about any style or design or color keywords you can think of.  When you see something you like, you can add that image to a personal Ideabook.  You can also add notes about why you like that image or what specific aspect or item in it appealed to you.  Your Ideabook becomes a montage of features you’d like to include in your room or home.

Houzz Ideabooks are particularly useful to me in my work with clients.  The Ideabook my client puts together tells me a story about what they want to see in their renderings. And because pictures speak louder than words, I don’t have to spend a lot of time guessing about what exactly they meant by “I want a French country living room.”  The images they choose to include in their “French County Living Room Design Ideas” Ideabook can communicate very clearly the specific look they have in mind, especially if they’ve annotated the images with comments about particular features.

As an example of how this works, I put together an Ideabook of my own with images of beautiful bedrooms that I liked, including notes about what appealed to me about each image.  You can see it here.  Then I modeled and rendered this luxurious, serene, bed-sitting room using the elements I liked best from each image.

3D rendering of a beautiful bedroom created by CastleView 3D based on Houzz.com images

3D rendering of a beautiful bedroom created by CastleView 3D
(click to view full-size)

I started with the rug and general layout of this room, which was my favorite, and then added in various other elements from some of the other rooms. I love the muted color scheme of taupes and blues with white trim and natural wood floors — so relaxing.  Actually, I love everything about this space because I designed it just for me!  

There are many other useful features on Houzz.  You can search out a variety of home design professionals, find information about specific products, engage in topical discussions, or get your home design problems solved by the Houzz community.  You can follow others (and be followed in return), read and write reviews of professionals, see before-and-after examples, and much more.  Houzz is pretty indispensable these days for anyone interested in home design, decor, and remodeling.

Ready to get started?  Follow CastleView 3D on Houzz!


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Virtual home staging

Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D:

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Recently a friend sent me an article from the New York Times.com Real Estate section about virtual home staging:  “Staging, Ever More Virtual.” I was pleased to see that virtual home staging is becoming such a hot trend that it was written up in the Times!

Home staging is the art (or is it a science?) of preparing a home for sale, with the goal of making the home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers to help the property to sell more quickly and at a higher price.*

Staging focuses on improving the property’s appeal by adding a few carefully selected furnishings and accessories to transform it into an attractive, neutral space that anyone might want.  By adding warmth, staging can help the potential homeowner emotionally connect with and “see” him or herself in the home.  Plus, there are many people who simply can’t visualize furniture in a space without furniture actually being there. A few pieces of artfully arranged furniture can help the buyer determine scale in the room and imagine how their own furnishings will fit.

In the Times article, Vince Collura, the president of Gotham Photo, a company in New York City which offers virtual staging services, is quoted as saying:

“I’ve gone to dozens and dozens of open houses, and I’m always being told to use my imagination by a broker….   Customers don’t have imagination; they’re looking for the potential risks, not the possibilities.”

Staging is particularly important if a home is vacant, to minimize that hollow, echo-y, deserted feeling and help a potential homebuyer feel more at ease.  In today’s buyers’ market, it’s an especially worthwhile investment. Buyers may assume that because a house is empty the owner needs to sell quickly, and will make a lower offer.

The beauty of virtual staging is that it can help potential buyers see the possibilities of a property by working the same magic as regular home staging — adding extra warmth and livability to a vacant property — but accomplishing this much more cost-effectively than renting and hauling in furnishings, rugs, accessories, etc.

Home virtually staged by 3DPlanView

Home virtually staged by 3DPlanView

My colleague Kay Nordby of 3DPlanView has a wonderful example on her website of how powerful this technique can be and how much value it can add.  Using photos of an empty living and dining room, Kay added her beautiful furnishings and decor (see the “after” photo above).  The images were then used by the real estate professional as a virtual model home, showcasing the property’s hidden potential.

CastleView 3D did a similar type of project a few months ago for a realtor in California whose client wanted to use his home’s potential view of the bay as a selling point by creating a virtual second story with a balcony.  For that project, we created a 3D model of the home rather than digitally altering a photograph.

Gotham Photo, the company profiled in the NYT article, works their virtual staging magic with Photoshop rather than 3D modeling.  The article says that their pricing “starts at” $100, but I’d be interested in knowing what the price was for the nice example they show on their website.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t $100!

As noted in the article, it’s important to keep things on the up-and-up by being  clear with potential renters or buyers that digital modifications have been made to the space, either by including a notation on the image  that it has been enhanced with virtual staging, or by presenting side-by-side “before” and “after” images.  But as long as everyone is clear about what has been done and that no serious defects in the property are being hidden with tricky computer magic, virtual staging can be of real benefit to realtors, sellers, AND buyers.

If you’re interested in virtual staging for a home or property you’re selling, CastleView 3D would be happy to work with you!


*To be honest, there doesn’t seem to be any verifiable research on the ultimate value of home staging.  One widely-quoted statistic claims that a study by Coldwell Banker found that staged homes realized on average a 6.4% increase over the list price, and another claims that a HUD survey found that staged homes sell for an average of 17.9% higher than unstaged homes!  But unfortunately I was never able to find the actual study to verify either of those numbers.  So, while it makes sense that staging can boost a property’s sales potential, it’s hard to quantify by exactly how much.
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Using 3D modeling and rendering for interior design

Posted by , CastleView 3D:
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“Seeing it before you build it” with 3D modeling and rendering is really important — even crucial — when building a new home or remodeling your current one.  These projects represent huge investments of money, time, and risk, and you need to be sure you’re getting what you want, and that you and your contractor or builder are on the same wavelength in terms of the design.

But another great application of 3D technology is for less drastic, but still risky, interior design projects.  Perhaps you won’t be knocking down any walls or installing new plumbing fixtures, but when you’re trying to decide on paint and trim colors, fabrics, furniture, upholstery, rugs, window treatments, and accessories, “seeing it before you redecorate it” can be just as much of a sanity-saver as it can with larger construction projects.

Nowadays, a few interior designers do use basic CAD or Sketchup to model the rooms they’re working on.  But in my experience, they are the exceptions.   The majority really aren’t up to speed on 3D modeling and rendering techniques and so can’t offer this as a service to their clients.  Luckily there are home visualization services (like CastleView 3D, for one) who can work with you BEFORE you consult an interior designer, so that you already have some good options to share with your designer going in.  We can also work hand in hand with your decorator or interior designer, translating their ideas into 3D renderings so you can see how their plan of colors, fabrics, and finishes will look in your own rooms.  Or maybe you just want to explore different decorating ideas, trying different fabric swatches and color combinations in a room to decide which you like best.

As an example of how this can work, here are some renderings I did for someone who was considering painting and redecorating his kitchen.  He didn’t want a big remodel of the space — that had already been done a few years earlier — but simply a different look and feel to the room.  He had some ideas, but wasn’t sure how they would work in his space.  So CastleView 3D provided several different possibilities for consideration, combining various aspects of his preferred colors and decor ideas.  The images below show a rough floorplan of the kitchen, the current decor (light green walls and green laminate countertop), and three decor options using a more earth-toned color palette:  one French country style, one cottage (or “rustic cabin”) style, and the third capturing the Craftsman look prevalent in the rest of his home.

Image of a kitchen floorplan to be used for 3D modeling and rendering

Kitchen floorplan

3D Rendering of current kitchen decor

Rendering of current kitchen decor

Kitchen rendering -- French country style decor

Kitchen rendering — French country style decor

Kitchen rendering -- cottage style decor

Kitchen rendering — cottage style decor

Kitchen rendering -- Craftsman style decor

Kitchen rendering — Craftsman style decor

If you’re working with an interior designer — or even if you’re doing your own decorating — you’re already investing in the beauty of your living spaces.  Doesn’t it make sense to take advantage of 3D modeling and rendering capabilities to make sure you will actually love the finished product?


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