My Dearest Client, While we have been careful not to lead you astray, we designers have failed to warn you of something: Houzz. Please understand; we love Houzz. We want you to use it! It’s an easy way for you to visually articulate your dream space, and we design better if we know your vision. However, please be aware that Houzz is a marketing tool for businesses. While it is promoted as an “idea hub” for design, businesses use profiles to sell you their products and services. They’re putting the best of the best online, trying to set the standard by which all spaces are judged. What they don’t tell you is: Houzz spaces are typically staged, and photographed by a professional photographer. I don’t know about you, but my living room does not have matching knickknacks throughout the room that perfectly compliment the rug, the throw pillows, and everything else. I also don’t have the budget to go out and purchase the ultra-modern furniture that just so happens to also go perfectly with the knickknacks! These well-staged photos offer an illusion of perfection – a 100% complete design package – that draws us to them. The reality is that, like most of our clients, you have a budget in mind, and you already have knickknacks and furniture that you will want to use in your space to make it characteristically yours. It’s your space and your reality. Houzz spaces are often custom-designed or contain custom pieces. There are so many cool things and gadgets on Houzz and you want them all! Well… “cool” doesn’t necessarily mean free. It’s wise to have organization accessories in your kitchen drawers, and the pull-out step stool would be an ideal addition to your kids’ bathroom cabinets. These are great examples of ways to tailor your spaces to your particular needs. However, the crazy beautiful, built-in, custom curly-cherry entertainment center that you are obsessing over will, most likely, break the bank. It’s all about being realistic about your budget and setting priorities. Houzz spaces don’t show you the rest of the floor plan. The 10×15, spa-like master bathroom you fell in love with on Houzz would be the perfect safe haven after a long day of work, but the 5×5 master bedroom on the other side of the wall may be a little tight. Remember: when you say “yes” to one splurge, you’re most likely saying “no” to another (and that “no” might be to a lower utility bill!) The Point: Your house is your house and will not look exactly like your Houzz Ideabook. Please don’t fall for the illusion of perfection presented online. It’s someone else’s perfection – not yours. The beauty of design is that it is an ever-changing process subject to your needs, dreams, and established life. Every design – even if it’s a copy of a Houzz image – will be customized by how you use it and what knickknacks, furniture, or other selections you put into it. Instead of copying a Houzz image, use ideas and elements from your favorite images to create a space reflecting your aesthetic and lifestyle. You’ll end up with something much better than a Houzz image: a home or space custom-made for you.