For designers developing a new project, there’s the pretty, polished version of your vision that you want to present to clients—and then there’s the seemingly inescapable chaos behind the scenes that heaven forbid they ever see: printouts of product specifications and pricing; so many open tabs and bookmarked sites; invoices and budgets demanding constant adjustments; furniture and appliance shipments to track. No doubt, conceptualizing a design can be a fabulously messy endeavor. But now Houzz Pro, the trade membership division of the popular home remodeling platform, has the solution to clean up the clutter and streamline the process, collaboratively and with panache. Room Planner, its all-in-one virtual workspace, corrals every task and manages client approvals at the same time, utilizing a suite of features to transform all those miscellaneous to-dos into an impressive presentation canvas that syncs with product details and budget data.
Evolving from the company’s Room Board and developed based on feedback from members, Room Planner integrates popular Houzz Pro tools like its proprietary product Clipper, 3D Floor Planner and Mood Boards so that each works together to produce visually impactful digital displays. “We wanted to facilitate access to not only product images and information but all our wonderful tools, combining them to create a stylish on-screen canvas,” says vice president of industry marketing Liza Hausman. Designers can then use the Houzz Pro dashboard to share that canvas with clients, who can comment right in the document—one of Room Planner’s most convenient and ingenious features.
“The asynchronous commenting function gives clients the ability to approve, decline, make a remark about or suggest an alternative to each service or item,” says Hausman. Do they love the style of the sofa but would prefer leather upholstery to suede? Does the dining table seat eight but the family needs to fit 12? Conveying such requests is as simple as sending a text, and all the comments are archived for a complete record of communications. As selections and services are accepted, rejected or revised, the budget bar at the top of the screen updates in real time, eliminating the need for manual recalculations (and the costly errors they tend to introduce). The chat function is useful internally as well, letting team members exchange notes with a tag.
The first reference point for a room plan is often the product library, custom-curated by each Houzz Pro subscriber with items they’ve uploaded or clipped from any vendor across the web. “They can just mouse over a section of text or an image and our Clipper pulls in the description, dimensions, price and multiple views of the product,” says Hausman. Once added to the product library, that item is available anytime, anywhere, at any stage of any project, with designers controlling what they show to clients versus what they limit to their team. “Our whole philosophy is, ‘Clip once, use forever,’” says Hausman.
Be it a minimalist sconce or the swankiest chandelier, product images can be sized big or small to showcase key pieces according to a project’s aesthetics and objectives. Designers can also include Mood Boards, inspirational images, contract drafts and other documentation, all of which can be filtered by status (pending, approved or declined) or type (products, services). That functionality streamlines workflow in a variety of scenarios and especially shines during client presentations. “A designer may want to put the Mood Board large at the top of the screen, then follow it with a 3D Floor Plan or a gallery of clipped products, arranging the selection by importance or in a progression that best supports a compelling narrative,” suggests Hausman. On the back end, Room Planner delivers Houzz Pro’s dependable functionality no matter what the presentation style, enabling designers to oversee separate budgets, swap items and track inventories for each space.
“I love how in Room Planner you can add multiple options—a few different table lamps, for instance—for your client to choose from,” says designer Andrea Martoccia-Fava, owner of West Palm Beach, Florida–based Motivo Home. “They might comment, ‘This lamp is beautiful, but it’s a little outside my budget’ or ‘I’d like to look at other frame details for this bed.’ That message doesn’t get buried in an email; it’s directly linked to the item so that my team can see it and take immediate action.” Keeping clients in the loop and correspondence to a minimum, it’s the platform’s version of being on the same page. With just two clicks, the final room plan can be converted to a proposal or an invoice.
Room Planner is just the latest in Houzz Pro’s mission to empower interior design professionals with comprehensive, time-saving software solutions that enhance their presentation capabilities. “It expands on the functionality designers love about our platform, allowing them to work through different room options with their teams, source different products, manage the budget and bring in clients for approval,” says Hausman. “They should expect even more features to make it even easier to put together a beautiful presentation in the future.”
This story is a paid promotion and was created in partnership with Houzz.
Homepage image: Available exclusively to subscribers, Houzz Pro’s Room Planner provides a comprehensive, collaborative and highly visual workspace for designers and their clients | Courtesy of Houzz