Houzz and Pinterest – Helpful or Hurtful for Design?
Sites like Houzz and Pinterest have taken the internet by storm. It’s no wonder as they help create visual boards of inspiration. While Houzz is a bit more specialized towards the architecture and interior design industries, Pinterest provides a broader spectrum of topics including design, beauty, recipes, and much more. Both have revolutionized the way we look up professionals and information alike.
Humans are instinctively visual beings and technology has made it possible to gain millions of ideas from the internet. However, access to these ideas can be a double-edged sword for all creative professionals, such as architects, graphic designers, photographers, and artists, to name a few. For architects, while posts from popular sites like Houzz and Pinterest help give a sense of what a client is envisioning for their custom home, it is highly unlikely that an exact replica of the photo could be constructed. This is not to defer anyone from gathering inspiration, but it is important to understand the limitations.
Variables such as location, climate, zoning, daylight planes, and setbacks vary from project to project and immediately dictate the allowances and restrictions of design and construction. Clients should gather other project photos with the mindset that they serve as guidelines rather than rules to follow. Characteristics such as materiality, landscaping, relationship of the interior to exterior and privacy are considered from the inspiration gathered for a new design. Usually, these characteristics are prioritized in order of importance to the client, but does not mean that it will be replicated exactly as in the inspiration photos. Doing so may affect the aesthetics and functionality of the spaces both inside and outdoors.
Architects are hired for their vision and expertise, so part of the design process for a custom residence involves trust between a client and an architect. Photos from Houzz and Pinterest can give a clear and concise direction for a design start from, but experience allows architects to give a client a general idea of what is and is not possible based on budget and location restrictions. A photo of a modern cabin home in North Carolina may not be the best fit in Florida, just like a photo of a home in the Caribbean cannot be built as is due to code regulations in the US. Keep these facts in mind when gathering inspiration for a dream home, it will make the design and construction process much smoother and enjoyable for both sides.