Written by John Williams
The innovation of the App has certainly made a huge contribution to the functionality of our mobile devices, with recent statistics suggesting that there are now over 1.5 million available to both Apple and Android users.
Narrowing this down, somewhat, I have selected my top five Apps for home buyers and new owners.
This is my absolute favourite App. It tells you where the sun will rise and set on any given day in the year, showing its trajectory, hour by hour. The App features ‘augmented reality’ which allows a real-time view at your location using your phone’s camera. This means you can track the sun’s path during the height of summer, or on the shortest days of winter. Brilliant for open homes when you want to know how much sun a room or a deck gets in the summer, or whether a close-by building will block out your sunlight in the winter.
There are now quite a few pretenders to the throne, but Houzz is still rules the roost as the best, all-inclusive home ideas platform out there. Now active in 13 countries, including New Zealand, Houzz provides an excellent and varied database of images, articles and professionals, all of which can be saved and shared. The App is easy to navigate and even provides specific product info via clever little price tags that swing from selected products in the images. You can also start up conversations with local architects, designers and service providers about your home design needs.
Describing a colour is very personal. What looks like turquoise to you may look like teal to me. Here’s where Resene’s ColourMatch comes into its own. Simply take a picture on your phone, and this App will match any colour within the image to one of the hundreds of colours in its range of paints. It will even come up with a whole colour palette, based on your chosen colour. Very clever. There are other colour recognition Apps out there. Dulux has a similar one to Resene, and Pantone, the international point of reference for colour identification, has an excellent App that has access to over 13,000 recognised colours.
Not just for carpenters, as its name suggests, this five-in-one App comprises a plumbline, surface level, bubble level, ruler and protractor, making it an indispensible pocket tool for all manner of tasks around the home. The bubble level is particularly handy for hanging pictures, and the ruler, although a little fiddly, is a great tool to have in your back pocket when you’re visiting an open home (to measure room sizes, etc) or when you’re out furniture shopping. I’m yet to find a use for the protractor, though!
If you’ve just purchased a new home and you want to visualise it with different styles of furnishings, or you’ve seen a property you like, but it’s unfurnished, Homestyler is both a fun and useful App to have a play with. It’s straightforward to use and produces a reasonably lifelike result – enough to give you an idea of what a room would look like furnished and painted. You’re choice of furnishings is restricted to what Homestyler has in its database, but again, that should be sufficient for most users.