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November 06, 2012 Filed under: The Buzz

Forward-thinking and fast-growing, an upstart website is revolutionizing the way we see our homes

After buying their Palo Alto, California, house in 2006, Alon Cohen and Adi Tatarko struggled to find the right people to renovate it. “We didn’t know how to express what we wanted,” Tatarko says. “The process was very unpleasant.”

Unpleasant, perhaps, but not unproductive. Realizing that others could benefit from online visual tools to help communicate their aesthetic desires, the couple launched Houzz—a website that, using Silicon Valley savvy and robust search technology, has cracked open the sometimes insular and intimidating world of architecture and interior design. Professionals post photos of their projects, users filter images by room or style to compile favorites, and everyone engages in free-flowing discussion.

What began in 2009 as a Bay Area service has since expanded rapidly to cities across America and even internationally. The site is now visited by some six million unique viewers each month (with millions more using its iPhone and iPad apps) and offers 500,000-plus photos from over 85,000 design experts, any one of whom shouldn’t be surprised to hear from a certain busy couple in Palo Alto. “We’re not done with our house yet,” says Tatarko, adding that she and Cohen still use the site for their own projects. “It’s an ongoing process.”

Text by Tim McKeough

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