business of home | May 25, 2017 |
The Download
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The Download

In the modern design office, smartphone apps are being used as both actual tools and virtual tools—from tape measuresto drafting aids. “I’ve always brought technology into the classroom,” said designer Phyllis Harbinger, who wrote The Interior Design Productivity Toolbox (Wiley, 2014) and also teaches studio design and professional practice courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology. If her students are any indication of the future of the industry, she said, “apps will be an indispensable element for remaining competitive in the design field.” A handful of designers offers their favorites:

Tools iHandy Level: “A valuable tool when I’m in the field and need to ensure that the work is straight,” said Caleb Anderson of Drake/Anderson. The bubble level he’s referring to is one of five tools in the iHandy Carpenter Tool Kit app, which also includes a plumb bob, protractor, ruler and surface level.

Image Meter Pro: “It allows us to annotate our digital pictures with dimensions,” explains Gideon Mendelson. “Whether we’re documenting a client’s existing conditions, cataloging a client’s belongings or simply noting a construction detail, I haven’t carried a notebook to site meetings in years.” Image- meter-pro.soft112.com. Designer John Douglas Eason uses a similarapp called My Measures.

Shopping Furniture Styles: “The interior designer’s version of 20 Questions for antique furniture,” said Anderson.

Kravet Match: “I’m always snapping photos on my phone, so it’s so great to be able to instantly select fabrics, furnishings and carpets right when the idea strikes. Kravet Match allows me to interpret inspiration from any source by providing numerous matches that are similar based on design and color—whether it bea tapestry I see in a museum in England, or a woven sarong from a village I’m exploring in Bali,” said Kati Curtis of Kati Curtis Design.

Michelle Nussbaumer has a predilection for art apps: Saatchi Art has outsider, unknown artists starting from affordable pricepoints and upwards, she explained. Clients can look at it, and there’s even a way to see works hung on the wall. Saatchiart.com/mobile. Artsy also offers “a good way to find inexpensive art for clients.”

Productivity Harvest: “Keeping track of hourly billing can be really tedious,” notes Shawn Henderson. “Harvest is really useful because I can track my hours on my phone or on my desktop. It has a timer to start and stop—super helpful!”

MileIQ: “It tracks where you go every step of the way during projects,” observed Harbinger. “It gives you weekly and monthly reports.”

Evernote: “An incredibly practical tool that syncs easily with my systems and allows me to keep client notes and images handy and shareable with my assistant,” enthused Eason.

Toodledoo: “We’re working on up to10 projects at a time, so the amount of detail is overwhelming,” said Mendelson. “Toodledo allows us to list tasks by client, assign a team member to be responsible for individual tasks and set priorities and deadlines for tasks. My entire team uses Toodledo daily to manage their work- flow, and as a team we review Toodledo weekly.” Toodledo.com. Other project management apps: Basecamp (recommended by Ghislaine Viñas. Basecamp. com); Asana (Harbinger described it as “like Basecamp, but more user-friendly.”)

Design and Presentations Roomle: Nussbaumer believes “This is the best of the floorplan apps, and the easiest to use.It’s great for a quick client meeting.” The user can drop furniture (from Roomle’s catalog or brand products) into floorplans to clearly illustrate flow and layout.

SketchUp: “This semester four students used this for assignments,” said Harbinger. “Those projects were so much more informed than those done in a traditional manner because you get to see things in 3-D view, which you can’t from a plan or elevation. Much more fluid than CAD.”

Morpholio Board: Withits layout, collage, illustration and annotation functions, this app, said Kelly Behun, “is great for creating mood boards that I can easily share with clients when I’m on the run.”

Wecora: This to-the-trade tool helps Harbinger “create and discuss concept and specification boards. It allows you to show clients as much or as little information as you want and includes shopping lists, links, notes. And you can screen-share the information during meetings which cuts down on travel costs for both the designer and client.”

Prezi: Essentially another version of Morpholio and Wecora. But this one is Viñas’s favorite.

This article originally appeared in Fall 2016 issue of Business of Home. Subscribe or become a BOH Insider for more.

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