Spaces for life: Why Pinterest and Houzz are so popular


By Lance McCarthy

Remember the feeling you had as a child when you crawled into a blanket fort? I remember it exactly. These words weren’t in my 5-year-old vocabulary, but it was a mix of safety (my brother can’t get me), adventure (uh, it is a fort after all), ownership (this is my space), and scale (this is my size).

Lance McCarthy
Lance McCarthy
I believe this experience hints at one of the reasons websites like Pinterest and Houzz are so popular with “home-dreamers.” These sites let people imagine pieces of their home with the same sort of magic as when they were children. From something as dramatic as “What if my bedroom had an ocean view?” to something as simple as “What if my corner cabinet worked better?”

These sites give us a place to dream about what our home might feel like if it were serving us instead of us serving our home. It is easy to go overboard with this idea, but the truth remains: Our homes should feel as good as the blanket fort did. We know that, and we hunger for it, but we rarely actually accomplish it as homeowners.

In my work as a design-build contractor, many of my clients are stuck in a “real house” that isn’t giving them those magical feelings (and is costing a lot more than a blanket!)

Making these real houses feel as magical as those childhood forts did is my mission.

Over the next few weeks, we will try to explore ideas that help people accomplish that mission. We will look at popular local architectural styles, insider tips on picking a good painter, how much a master bath costs, and how to make a kitchen feel right.

We will also wrestle with the reasons so many people have bad experiences with construction and remodeling, and what we think can change that. All of the information will be focused on helping improve the spaces we all live and work in. It is basically an extension of a conversation that ReTouch is having with homeowners every day all across northeast Johnson County.

The most important space we will ever inhabit is a thing we treat more like an investment or an inconvenience than a home. It is (at times) all three, but should always be a home.

Caution: We will have the same problems in these columns as HGTV has in its shows: Houses are complicated and messy, and all our problems can’t be solved in 30 minutes minus the commercial break. These short columns will only start the conversation. So feel free to comment, share your own experience, email me a question, or even argue with me if I say something you don’t agree with.

So, let’s reconnect next Thursday and find out where this leads us! If you need me, I’ll be in my fort.

This weekly sponsored column is written by Lance McCarthy of ReTouch, a full-service, client-based contractor specializing in home remodels. For more information about their services, or to view samples of their work, visit their website.