HOW TO CON­QUER HOME PROJECTS LIKE A PRO

iPhone Life Magazine - - Best Apps - by Adam Har­vey

Any­one who has ever owned a house knows that some­times you have to take home­im­prove­ment mat­ters into your own hands. Whether you’re tack­ling a com­plete kitchen over­haul or sim­ply slather­ing on a fresh coat of paint, you’ll find fan­tas­tic apps out there de­signed to in­spire, of­fer de­tailed in­struc­tions, and help you man­age your projects. Grab your phone and your work­ing clothes—it’s time to fix some stuff! How­cast (Free) The How­cast app fea­tures thou­sands of fun and use­ful how-to videos on top­ics rang­ing from fix­ing leaky pipes to prim­ing walls for paint­ing (as well as tons of non-home-re­lated videos). Aside from search­ing for spe­cific clips, you can also shake your phone to get a sur­prise video from How­cast. Other fea­tures in­clude a Fa­vorites list, so you can save videos you’ll want to watch again; His­tory, so you can see what you’ve viewed in the past; and the abil­ity to share videos with friends via email. Houzz (Free) Brim­ming with over two mil­lion high-qual­ity pho­tos, the popular Houzz app is es­sen­tially a gi­ant scrap­book of in­te­rior de­sign ideas and in­spi­ra­tion. You can or­ga­nize the pho­tos by room or de­sign style and save your fa­vorites to an Ide­abook. See some­thing in a photo that you like, such as a cool-look­ing of­fice chair or the per­fect paint color for your dining room? Houzz helps you iden­tify the item’s source so you can make it your own. The app also has help­ful how-to ar­ti­cles, dis­cus­sion threads for users in need of ad­vice, and a lo­ca­tion-based “Find a Pro” fea­ture in case you get in over your head. Paint Tester (Free) Have you ever pur­chased a can of paint, started putting it on the wall, and then thought to your­self (or yelled to your spouse), “This is not good!”? I imag­ine ev­ery­one has made at least one un­for­tu­nate paint choice at some point in time—and it can be a real bum­mer. Next time you’re about to paint a room a new hue, try Paint Tester. The app helps you vi­su­al­ize what a color is go­ing to look like on the walls be­fore you start slap­ping on the first coat. You can ei­ther take a photo of a color you’d like to try or se­lect one from the app’s color pal­ette.

Then, take a photo of the room you’re go­ing to paint and use the smart paint bucket tool to vir­tu­ally paint on the new color. If you’d pre­fer to use a paint-sim­u­la­tion tool with colors that cor­re­spond pre­cisely to paints you can pur­chase, try out apps from spe­cific paint brands, such as Color Cap­ture (free) by Benjamin Moore, ColorS­nap (free) by Sher­win-Wil­liams, and ColorS­mart by BEHR Mo­bile (free). Home Im­prove­ment Calcs ($1.99) I’m not kid­ding when I say that you could prob­a­bly build an en­tire house us­ing this app. It con­tains more than 115 cal­cu­la­tors and con­ver­sions of ev­ery kind imag­in­able for things like con­crete and brick, lum­ber, elec­tri­cal, fram­ing, heat­ing and air con­di­tion­ing, in­te­ri­ors, yards, and much more. Don’t know how many bags of mulch to buy for your yard? No prob­lem. Want to es­ti­mate heat­ing for your fur­nished base­ment? Piece of cake. Don’t sweat spend­ing $2 on this handy app— it’s a do-it-your­selfer’s dream! iHandy Car­pen­ter ($1.99) Sure, your iPhone can or­ga­nize, sched­ule, and record just about any­thing, but can it re­place the tools in your tool­box? Yes, thanks to iHandy Car­pen­ter! The app’s car­pen­ter kit con­tains five tools: a plumb bob, a sur­face level, a bub­ble level bar, a steel pro­trac­tor, and a steel ruler. The first three tools men­tioned re­quire cal­i­bra­tion be­fore you can use them, but once it’s com­pleted, th­ese su­per-handy gad­gets are good to go. Bonus: Not only does this app help out with lit­tle jobs around the house, but it’s also vis­ually ap­peal­ing, with re­al­is­tic-look­ing wood-grain back­grounds and dra­matic light­ing ef­fects. My Mea­sures and Di­men­sions ($2.99) Over four mil­lion users can’t be wrong! This app has a list of ac­co­lades a mile long, and for good rea­son—it of­fers a se­ri­ously handy way to store and share ob­ject di­men­sions. Sim­ply take a photo of an item, area, or room, and add ar­rows, an­gles, text, or notes to the photo for ref­er­ence. You’ll never have to sketch an ob­ject or guess a di­men­sion again, be­cause you’ll have your pho­tos with pre­cise mea­sure­ments stored right in the app.

With a back­ground in sys­tems ar­chi­tec­ture, data­base devel­op­ment, pro­gram­ming, e- com­merce, search en­gine op­ti­miza­tion, so­cial me­dia, mo­bile devel­op­ment and all things tech­ni­cal, Har­vey lives life on the edge of tech­nol­ogy. He is at the fore­front of his field as Prin­ci­pal and Tech­nol­ogy Direc­tor at GLAD WORKS, a full-ser­vice cre­ative agency lo­cated in Paw­tucket, RI.

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