By Jill Sieracki | January 21, 2016 | Home & Real Estate
From cataloging furniture to managing service providers, a new app, Housepad, gives homeowners a visual way to organize it all.
“Some days I wonder if I really need Housepad [anymore], because it has worked so well that I walk around the house and everything is perfect,” says Michael Bruno of his app, which helps owners manage their homes.
When entrepreneur Michael Bruno was trying to come up with a plan for a new home design business, he discovered his next big idea right in his own Tuxedo Park, New York, backyard. “I started looking at all the moving parts of managing a house,” says Bruno, who created his new app, Housepad, to help maintain his 14,000-square-foot residence and its surrounding 100-acre property. “When you see something that you want done, the best thing you can do is catalog it at that moment. I can walk through my house at any given time and find a handful of things that bother me. With this app, I can catalog some for my contractor, some for my painter, some for my housekeeper, some for my gardener.”
Housepad allows homeowners to create a closed-loop network, a visual “user’s manual,” for anyone who accesses your home, such as family members, service providers, or seasonal renters. Within each room, users can photograph how they want the space to appear, noting, for example, the correct placement of a tablescape or where the flashlight goes in the kitchen. Then they can leave to-do lists or instructions with itemized icons, such as fixing a cabinet door that’s constantly ajar. “If everything in your home has a home, and it’s always where it belongs, it’ll just flow smoothly,” says Bruno.
At the onset, Bruno tested Housepad at his second home in the Hamptons. He installed the program on his housekeeper’s smartphone, then he found approximately 30 things that bothered him, from the way the home’s towels were folded to fixing a drape on a curtain rod, and loaded them into the app. He missed seeing the housekeeper during her regular visit, however, so Bruno never gave her instructions on its usage. But three days later, his phone started ringing constantly with “done” notifications from Housepad’s checklist function. “When we went to the house that weekend, the house was exactly as I wanted it,” says Bruno. “I realized it wasn’t that she was a bad housekeeper, I was a bad client. I never took the time to tell her in a clear way what I wanted. Now, everything I need, she does it perfectly.”
In the coming months, Housepad is rolling out a trade-only program for interior designers, which will allow them to catalog all the specifics of a project for a client, including a searchable catalog of the furniture, invoices, warranties, care instructions, and paint colors. Says Bruno, “I’ve found people want to know what they have, and the more education they have, the more they engage with beautiful things, and the more they want better things.”
Also on the horizon is an editorial component that will give Housepad users an opportunity to see “behind-the-scenes” elements of designers’ own personal spaces, such as how they organize their linen closets, or how they make a bed. “Interior designers have always been an inspiration for me in all the work I do,” says Bruno, who over his career has bought and sold real estate and launched 1stdibs, the global online marketplace for antiques and design. “We’re creating short videos from which you can learn from different designers those little moments that actually are great crib notes for anyone trying to bring their home to the next level.”
PhotograPhy by PhillstuDio/shutterstock (cellPhone)