Designers Discuss Their Use of Tablets and iPads for Business

"We purchased an iPad about a month ago. I use it to check e-mails, browse the Web, etc. I don’t go anywhere without it. I also use some nice industry apps. With the Measures app, I can take photographs and lay dimensions on top of them. It’s a great tool for dimensions that are difficult to communicate with others. We can also make notes right on the photograph, then email it.

We use the Houzz app as well. We can create files for clients and include comments on what they like and don’t like about a certain design. We can easily review these ideas when we’re working on the project to make sure we’re on track. It’s a neat, efficient and concise way to replace magazine clippings.

We are also working on compiling our showroom albums for viewing on the iPad. We have several inspiration albums of our jobs, and it can be difficult to remember in which album a particular job or design idea is located. On the iPad we have created categories so when we talk about, for example, hoods, appliances or cabinet details, we can easily show the client. It’s much easier to find examples. Plus, all of them are our jobs.”

Charles Tiber, president

Studio 76 Kitchens & Baths (A division of 76 Supply Co. Inc.)

Twinsburg, OH


"Our company does not currently own an iPad or tablet, but we have talked about purchasing one. When we go on client visits it would make it easy to show them changes to layouts. We use the 20-20 design program, and if we could sync it with a tablet or iPad we’d be able to show clients changes right away.

Some people are more visually challenged and have a hard time imagining what we’re trying to explain. This device would make it easier to show them.”

Annah Hill, designer

Nonn’s Design Showplace; Middleton, WI


"I own both an iPad and a tablet, but I only use the iPad for business. I have uploaded photos of kitchens and baths I have done and I can show a homeowner a particular hood idea or backsplash. I also have my manufacturers’ catalogs as pdfs in my library, so I can pull up door styles and finishes on the spot.

But mostly I use it to quickly access the Internet. I love to show clients our Houzz page and how they can create an ideabook on that site, and then share it with me. A few weeks ago, I sat down at a client’s kitchen table and pulled up Houzz on my iPad. We reviewed each photo in her ideabook and what she likes most about each picture. This gave me a clear idea of what she wants for her bathroom.

Our business is so visual it becomes a great tool to ‘show’ clients what you, or they, are trying to describe with words.”

Shelley Lober, CKD

Kitchens of Diablo; Danville, CA


"I have been using a tablet as my mobile office in the field for over a year. I use it in a number of applications, such as meeting with potential clients to show them my portfolio and design ideas, and to download manufacturer specs.

There are quite a number of online apps I use, in particular Houzz. I originally saw it when I was working with a client who showed me a tile design she had seen. I knew I needed to be on the site. Now I’m a top featured designer. I’ve been featured in The New York Times and on HGTV as a result of my involvement. People ask me questions all the time. I use the site for design inspiration, as do my clients.

It’s important to stay current. Everything happens at lightning speed. Things change, and I have to change with them.”

Linda Burkhardt

Kitchens & Baths, Linda Burkhardt; Montauk, NY


"I plan to buy an iPad or tablet within the next six months. I hope to use it for photography and plans, as a sales tool and for inspiration. I’m also hoping to be able to import my CAD drawings to view on site, rather than having to bring paper.

I also like the ‘presentation’ and the cleanliness of a tablet. It’s more modern.”

Matthew Vosburg, designer

Affirming Kitchen Clarity; Las Vegas, NV


"I am currently looking at tablets and plan to purchase one soon. I would like to carry it on jobs to show clients my capabilities, without having to carry my large laptop. A tablet is much more portable. I also do a lot on my smartphone, but I’d like a larger venue to share information with my clients.

I save a lot of documents to my Dropbox, such as contracts, images, etc. Since they’re accessible anywhere, I could easily retrieve them. I do a lot with social media as well, and I think a tablet would be an easy way to connect. I also feel that a tablet would make me look more professional.

I’m really involved in NKBA and have been on the chapter board for quite a few years. Almost all of our executive board meetings are on the Web so we don’t have to travel. I think a tablet would be beneficial for those meetings, as well.”

Nancy Young, CKD, CBD

Nancy Young Designs Kitchen and Bath; Montgomery, AL