Houzz, the popular service for giving you house envy and connecting you with the right home professionals to cure it, is launching an interesting new feature for its iOS users today. The new Sketch feature makes it easier for homeowners to annotate photos on the service to discuss their remodeling ideas with their housemates and professionals.
The company also today announced that it now sees over 35 million unique users every month and that over 1 million home professionals (that is contractors, designers, architects, etc.) are using the service, too. About a year ago, Houzz said it was seeing 25 million unique monthly users.
The service, which has raised a total of $214 million, is now active in the U.S., U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Denmark.
“We’re always looking for ways to make the home renovation and design process even more fun and productive,” said Houzz president and co-founder Alon Cohen. “Sketch is a powerful new function in the Houzz app that enables people to add products from Houzz to any photo, and to communicate and collaborate more effectively through photos with their home professional or others involved in the project.”
Users will be able to upload their own images or any of the eight million photos currently on the service, and add products from the Houzz Marketplace, stickers and text to them (and resize all of this as needed). Unsurprisingly, they can also draw on the pictures. This doesn’t have to be a lonely process, either. Users can collaborate on their design ideas with multiple people simultaneously.
Besides allowing users to work with photos (and the Sketch button now appears on every photo on the site), Sketch also offers mood boards and support for floor plans.
The Houzz team tells me that the Sketch feature has been optimized for the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, too. A company spokesperson tells me that an Android version is also in the works and should launch within the next few weeks.
The idea here is clearly to help Houzz deepen the connection between its users and professionals. But there is also a monetization piece to this. Instead of just connecting its users with professionals, Houzz obviously also wants them to come back to its service to also use the marketplace (and then maybe buy from it).