Next time you’re doing a little web surfing on the couch, check out Houzz.com. It’s a site I stumbled on while researching options for setting up our new home in Chicago, and it’s already earned a spot on my list of favorite web resources.

Houzz is like Pinterest, but built specifically to connect professional contractors, designers, and architects with the people who might hire them. It’s great for finding inspiration and for communicating ideas visually with the people who will help bring them into reality. Photographers are welcome too because all those creative professionals needs great images of their work. I went ahead and set up a profile—check it out!

If you’re looking to do some remodeling or just need some decorating ideas, you’ll want to start browsing Houzz. I found a great designer for help with our basement project.  Cathy Zaekse has put together a fantastic plan. She’s been recognized on Houzz a few years running. Even if you’re not in Gurnee or the Chicago area, she can help you.

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Is hiring a professional designer worth it? I really think so. Here’s an example from our (now former) Florida house. Our kitchen breakfast nook features a fantastic lake view just the right amount of tree cover.

There’s designer detail at work here that you may not even notice — we didn’t either, at first. With a west facing view, the Florida sun can get pretty intense in the late afternoon. The trees provide just enough shade without obstructing the beautiful light and water. Our next door neighbor has no trees, making the afternoon sun too harsh to enjoy.

Just a small decision can make or break a view, or transform the usability of a room. A professional’s insight can be key to enjoying your corner of the world.