WASHINGTON -- On the set of HGTV and DIY Network's "Kitchen Crashers," Alison Victoria's tool of choice is a sledgehammer. Off the set, Victoria swaps the heavy-duty tool for an iPad to work on her new digital design app, DesignMine.
"It's pretty much Pinterest with a purpose," says Victoria of the free app she launched about three months ago.
DesignMine allows users to select room layouts and pull in photos of furniture, colors and home accessories from its library and from outside sites to create a vision for a room or space.
"In that sense, you're creating a design board, like a designer would do for her clients," says Victoria, who partnered with the website HomeAdvisor on the app.
The designs are shareable and collaborative. App users and those with whom they share designs can circle pictures on the board or write on it to customize or exchange ideas.
Alison Victoria uses her DesignMine app with her Lookbook service to turn digital into reality. (WTOP Screen Shot)
"[My husband] can tell me which [design] he likes for the kitchen or the bathroom or the office. It's very interactive."
Victoria, who has been a professional designer for 10 years, pairs the app with her home design business, The Alison Victoria Lookbook.
DesignMine users can send completed boards, measurements and design preferences to Victoria. For a flat fee, she will ship a customized box containing full-color renderings, a floor plan, samples and a worksheet with information on where each item in the overall plan can be purchased.
"It's a great way to really take that dream and make it a reality," she says.
Spring and Summer Design Trends
What is Victoria adding to her DesignMine boards? She recently shared some of her favorite spring and summer home styles with WTOP.
In the kitchen, Alison Victoria likes open shelves, which are cost-effective and visually appealing. (AP Photo/Sarah Dorio)
In the kitchen, Victoria prefers to stay away from anything trendy.
"[Trends] come and go, and your kitchen is very expensive, and you don't want to be choosing trends that may go out in the next five years," she says.
However, there are a few easy and cost-effective designs Victoria loves seeing in kitchens -- including microwave drawers.
"Everybody needs a microwave, but you don't always have all the counter space to store it, so it's great to look into some microwave drawers out there where you can hide them away in a cabinet," she says. "You just push a button, they open up. So it's there when you need it and it's not taking up counter space."
Victoria says subway tile is making a comeback, and she hopes it will never go away.
"It's something that's timeless, and I love that people are playing around with grout colors and different variations of subway tiles as well -- not just your [average] ceramic," she says, adding that subway tiles with pillowed or beveled edges work well on backsplashes.
Open shelving is also pretty big right now. Victoria says it's not only less expensive than enclosed cabinets, but it's visually appealing.
"And hopefully it sticks around for a while, because everybody wants to display some of that nice stuff that you tuck away and hide away and only bring out for the holidays."
Color and Texture
Victoria likes to bring color into a home in small, subtle accents, with pillows, throws, hardware, accessories and art. She tends to shy away from painting bold colors on walls or from making an accent wall.
Alison Victoria prefers wallpaper over paint, especially paintable wallpaper (left). And when it comes to color, she's digging Pantone's color of the year, Radiant Orchid. (WTOP Screen Shot)
"Your interest in color changes … we change our minds, and I love being able to teach people the right way to bring in color and texture into any space," she says.
Victoria's favorite choices for color this season include Pantone's color of the year, Radiant Orchid, and anything metallic, such as gold, rose gold or copper.
If you're hoping to add texture or another element of color to your home, Victoria suggests wallpaper -- paintable wallpaper in particular.
"I'd choose wallpaper over paint, any day. Wallpaper's more expensive, but they've got some great stuff out there," she says.
For the paintable paper, Victoria says, hang it, let it dry for 24 hours and then paint over it with a soft or neutral color.
"If you're going to [paint], you might as well add texture, as well."
Other elements, such as vases and candle holders, also can bring texture to a space.
"You don't want too much going on, but you do want to bring some [texture] in to break up the clean lines."
Victoria, a Chicago resident, says her outdoor space is one of the most important in her home -- mostly because she only gets to use it three months a year.
"You want to take full advantage of it," she says.
Victoria says the best way to design an outdoor space is to make the transition between your inside and outside seamless, and to carry elements of both in each space.
"Really, make your outdoor space, whether it's a kitchen or just seating, feel homey, like you're inside," she says.
Victoria suggests hanging lanterns, glass fixtures or empty, brightly colored frames from trees.
"Really, just create this kind of wonderland."
Watch a video on how to use Victoria's DesignMine app:
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