DIY Gets Digital
I'm happy to see interesting uses of digital media that make it easier to capture inspiration from wherever you are.

One I have been testing out on the iPhone is the ben® Color Capture™ iPhone app. Based on photos you take or pull from your existing library, the app suggests Benjamin Moore color palettes. You can get even more specific color suggestions by tapping on areas within the photo. Shake the phone and you get a corresponding harmony palette. It's quite elegant and intuitive.

Here's a shot of the bay I took yesterday with a palette suggestion (left). It also provides a specific color suggestion from a spot on the sky that I tapped (right):

The only caveat with any digital form of color representation is that it is only a close suggestion. You must rely on actual paint swatches in daylight for accurate paint selection. The same is true for the fairly recent apps that Pantone has created. Unless those colors are specifically for screen end-use, nothing beats the accuracy of an actual color chip with real Pantone inks (or, paint)—and even then, light and the material being printed or painted impacts the color result.

Along with strategically utilizing technology, companies that establish smart partnerships that ultimately help consumers envision use of their products are adding tremendous value to their brands. This partnership between Cambria and Benjamin Moore proves that in this excellent online tool that guides customers in choosing Benjamin Moore paint palettes that compliment your Cambria stone counter tops:

Usually, I have not been a fan of applications or sites that simulate the decor of a room. They tend to be limited in style and not always completely applicable to your own rooms. The end result always tends to be a little "rough". But this one by Sherwin Williams is one of the better that I have seen. It allows you to upload photos or get started right away with their provided gallery. The color palette is vast and adding color to the images happens fairly quickly. Like mentioned above, color accuracy will always be an issue and I found this to especially be the case with the palette of white tones on the site. There are a lot of very slight variations in choosing a shade of white and the computer screen just cannot display these fine color differences. But overall, this site shows promise for consumer-based interior design tools.

In looking at many of these tools, I found there is a lot of room and opportunity to create relevant, useful guides for DIY home improvement. It certainly inspired me to think about interior design inspiration in the interactive design realm in my own work.

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Sweet Dreams: Bedroom Renovation Part 1
We're almost finished with our bedroom renovation. We're just putting finishing touches on it over the coming weeks.

As you probably can tell, I don't start many things in work and life without some sort of mood or inspiration board. Like a sketch on a slightly larger and more tactile scale, I highly recommend this process. Your mind will feel less overwhelmed and cluttered when taking on daunting projects when you have everything right out in front of you. You won't forget that genius moment of inspiration (that perfect blue-gray of that beach stone) AND you can physically toss out anything from the board that no longer works for you ("Pink?! What was I thinking?").

Start with how you want the room to feel.
Verbalize it out loud, write it down with colored markers—whatever it takes. It can be descriptive ("organic modern") have a persona ("Jackie O goes punk-rock!") or mimic a place ("our trip to Tuscany"). Whatever it takes to get you to commit to the feel and objective. You need something to base all of your design decisions on, going forward.

I started with wanting:
For me, this  determined the color palette right away and I chose these colors as the basis for the room.

My goal here was to create warmth and coziness but without a cavernous, dark feel. The balance, or "serene" side of the equation will come from the Palladian Blue (both colors from Benjamin Moore). This color combination is not "new"—any form of earth and sky/water has always been a great way to achieve a balanced, organic feel. Brown is deep, rich and grounds the room. The muted blue-green is quiet yet uplifting. And these updated, unexpected versions of those colors keep it modern and in step with our overall house palette.

About Us

Christopher Scott and Jodi Vautrin are the husband and wife team behind Ourhaus, where they chronicle their adventures in home improvement, decorating and travel. After purchasing a unique loft space just a few miles north of Boston, they began photographing and writing about their projects and it blossomed into a creative outlet and platform.

When they’re not home improving, Jodi spends her days as a freelance creative director & designer with a focus on user interface and interactive design, and is an entrepreneur at heart. She serves on the board of AIGA Boston as Vice President of Emerging Ideas & Events.

In his professional life, Christopher is the Technology Director for a multi-service ad agency based in Harvard Square. In his private life, he enjoys tinkering in all its forms, whether it's rebuilding the Ourhaus home network (again), fooling himself into thinking he knows how to fix home appliances, or trying to unravel the mysteries of the guitar. He also flies planes, performs open heart surgery and sings at bar mitzvahs (though not all at the same time).

They share their “haus” with their adorable, highly food-motivated chocolate lab, Lucy.