courtesy Leica

Using a laser measurement tool that has Bluetooth wireless technology built into it, remodeler Ed Cholfin is able to measure an environment and use Bluetooth to uploaded the measurements to his laptop. “You can basically create a footprint on-site,” says the president of Atlanta’s AK Complete Home Renovations. “If you have various stencils or cabinet displays ready to go, you can plug those onto the footprint and, in 15 to 30 minutes, give the client a visual, on the spot.”

Instant Design

“Most clients need that visual,” Cholfin says, and depending on how detailed he gets, the design helps him to provide customers with a budget range. “It helps build better rapport, and we can discuss what they want to address.” In one way, he says, it is oversell because clients expect all of your work to happen that fast. However, the “wow” factor does give you an edge over the competition.Using the laser tool, it’s easy for one person to measure an intricate or large space. The measurements are stored in the tool for future use. Though the laser tool is helpful for quickly creating the design, Cholfin always re-measures the space, either with the tool or by hand. He uses a Leica Disto A6 model (shown), which costs about $600. The measurements from the device could automatically load onto your laptop or tablet, he says, or you might require software — it depends on the laptop or tablet’s operating system. Cholfin’s laptop runs Microsoft Windows 7, which allows for automatic uploads. He then pulls the measurements into Chief Architect, 20-20 Design, or Google SketchUp. As with any tool or application, he points out, the system sometimes does not work as planned and requires tweaks or reapplying the measurements. “But for the most part,” Cholfin says, “it’s a simple application to work with.”

—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.