HOW TO CONQUER HOME PROJECTS LIKE A PRO
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.