Last call for Gen Y House

The Gen Y Eco-House is nothing like the popular suburban homes of yesterday. It's efficient and compact, has a bike port instead of an attached garage and the roof is covered with photovoltaic solar panels. It also boasts a high-tech "super wall" containing folding furniture and all the home's mechanicals. You still have two days to tour the home, which was constructed by University of Minnesota design students based on Generation Y preferences — future homebuyers born between the early 1980s and early 2000s.

The Gen Y Eco-House is inside the Minnesota State Fair's Eco Experience, featuring activities and educational exhibits about green technology, at the corners of Randall Av. and Cosgrove St. The fair's last day is Sept. 2. Go to for details.


Design apps

There is always "an app for that." If you are in the process of remodeling a room, many mobile resources can help you pick a paint color, a couch or a designer. We've rounded up some of the top-rated design apps for smartphones and tablets.

For inspiration: Houzz, a website dedicated to home design, architecture and more, is available in app form. Browse through thousands of photos for inspiration, and find designers in your area. Redoing a playroom or child's bedroom? Try the Houzz Kids' Rooms app. Both apps are free. Available for iOS and Android.

To make a floor plan: Try out Home 3D, which lets you create 3-D floor plans that include windows, doors and more. You can e-mail the plans or save them to Dropbox. $3.99. Available for iOS.

To keep track of measurements: The My Measures & Dimensions app lets you save the measurements around your house for easy access. If you have windows that need new curtains, take a photo and add text, arrows and notes. Once you're shopping for the window treatments, just pull up the photo. $2.99. Pro version, which includes iOS iCloud syncing and backup and a camera-zoom option, costs $5.99. Both are available for iOS and Android.

To try out a couch without making a commitment: Try the new Furnish app to browse items from Ikea, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn and Herman Miller. The app lets you superimpose the furniture over photos of your living space.

If you like what you see, you can buy the item directly from the retailer. Another option? Download the Home Depot app to superimpose chairs, light fixtures and more onto photos of your room. You can save the photos and share them via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Both apps are free and available for iOS and Android.

To find the perfect color: Options abound, mainly from paint companies. Try out Behr's Color­Smart app to browse the company's paint colors, preview colors in different rooms and save your selections. The app lets you upload a photo, which it scans to find a matching paint color. Benjamin Moore's Color Capture app also lets you take a photo to find a match from any of the company's more than 3,300 paint colors. Both apps are free and available for iOS and Android.