Apps to help in your home

The Kansas City StarSeptember 21, 2012 

We asked Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, founder and president of the home-design blog Apartment Therapy, for his take on home-related apps.

HOUZZ

Description: Called the "Wikipedia of interior and exterior design" by CNN, Houzz has a huge database of home design ideas, with more than 500,000 high-resolution photos. Browse photos by style, room and location and save them to your virtual idea book -- it's the equivalent of clipping design magazines for a scrapbook -- making ideas easier to search, save and share. You can save your photos for on-the-go access.

Price: Free

Maxwell's take: "It's a site that's grown really fast and it's really useful. However, there's not much character to it."

DECORE

Description: It uses a phone's camera to place furniture in your home on screen in real time. It features 240 furniture pieces, as well as the ability to change the size, color and placement of each item for full customization. uDecore also has the option to change flooring to tiles or hardwood or to add a rug.

Price: $1

Maxwell's take: "It's useful. Floor planning apps can get complicated quickly. This one, not so much."

MY MEASURES AND DIMENSIONS

Description: For technical facts and figures, this app doesn't play around. Take a picture of furniture or living space and highlight the dimensions you need. This app is perfect for when you're out and about and need to double check your home's facts when you're in the hardware, furniture or appliance store.

Price: $4

Maxwell's take: "This is great. It helps you avoid mistakes and return trips. It even measures nooks and crannies."

AUGMENTED COLORS

Description: Point your Windows Phone camera and snap colors that surround you to find their RGB and hexadecimal matches, which are helpful for designers. When looking for the perfect tone for accents, save colors for later that strike your fancy.

Price: $1

Maxwell's take: "I like color apps from paint companies too. Yes, they're marketing tools, but they do interesting things and they're free. Chip It! by Sherwin-Williams lets you photograph a rug or something, and then it will create a palette of paint chips."

FENG SHUI KUA FINDER

Description: Feng Shui is the popular spiritual art of home decor, which promotes the creed that a good home layout brings peace, health and prosperity in your everyday life.

In finding the Earth's polarity and energy flow, you will be able to find the optimal placement of furniture. The Feng Shui Kua Finder app makes it easier for beginners to jump in by inputting the data surrounding their living space and in return receiving data back that are easy to digest.

Price: Free

Maxwell's take: "I think this is fun but actually useful, too."

VUEZONE

Description: Check on your family, your home, your stuff ... right from the palm of your hand. VueZone lets you remotely take a glimpse into the other parts of your life from anywhere.

Price: VueZone Mobile requires a subscription to VueZone Premier or Elite service plan, starting at $50 per year. Some features require VueZone motion detection cameras, which start at $100.

Maxwell's take: "You can check on your garden while you're on vacation. You can see whether you left the lights on. These are the kinds of apps I thought we'd see more of by now."

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