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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there. New to the forum and to house design.

I have been framing for a while now and would like to expand into complete house design. Im looking for some software to help. Ive learned a lot about proper structure of a home after building so many. I just dont know how to put it to paper. If anyone knows of something that might work that would be great. Thanks!
 

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Hi there. New to the forum and to house design Im looking for some software to help. Ive learned a lot about proper structure of a home after building so many. !



I do not want to seem condescending or mean spirited but here is my take on it. There is so much more to home design then proper structure. Our country is saturated with homes "designed" by those that can pass muster as far as structure goes. It takes so much more; with architecture being our oldest and largest art form aesthetics should be on every designers mind. If it is not,your designs will join ranks with all the other homes that look like the fifth wheel on a wagon or a boxcar that fell off the siding.


I would suggest getting as many books as possible that elaborate on the aesthetics of architecture. With that said,I'm very much a fan of traditional architecture,my pick to get you started on that route if it works for you would be Marianne Cusatos' book Get Your House Right.

If non-traditional architecture is not your thing there are many books to fit your needs.
 

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General Contractor
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Depends what your budget is and what you want to do with it.

For a long time I have been using free Sketchup, which allowed me to do most of it what I needed to do. As I became better at it, I upgraded to Sketchup Pro and like Golden View said, with Home Designer Pro you can do plans, layout,etc and I been using that for the past 3 years...

But like anything else, the better you get the more you want to do with it and you need something more advanced... so now I jumped to SketchUp Pro 2013 and Chief Architect Premier 6, from here who knows, but I think I will not be looking for anything else for a while, because between this 2 programs there is no limit of what you can do.

Go to Chief Architect website and you can download Chief Architect free evaluation version and give it a test run, you can do the same with Home designer Pro.
Go to Google and download free Sketchup, and see if that will suit your needs. In any case, I would get both, because you can use Sketchup to make doors, custom railing, and all kinds of symbols to be used with HD or CA.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies and solid suggestions!

Im liking Home Designer Pro a lot. Its very detailed with an unreal amount of tutorials online. :thumbup:
 

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I'm The BOSS
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I like softplan. I have the lite version which works great to get started.

they also have free demo

A little pricey for starting out, but, they have a payment plan.

I'm upgrading to the full version this spring. they take the lite version back and give you credit towards new program
 

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I use an old version of 3D Home Architect (3.0). It's really old and basic but it lets me play "what if" to my heart's content. It has a lot of limitations but since I only use it for conceptualizing, it works great for that. It also will design the roof. When I complete a design, I draw it manually (1/4" to 1" scale). I think I paid less than $20 on eBay for it.

On client-provided plans, I will still draw them out on 3DHA. Every set of house plans I've ever been provided has had the caveat "Builder to confirm actual dimensions" or something like that, which means, "the dimensions shown on this plan are not guaranteed to add up to the overall dimensions indicated". I can recreate a set of plans in less than an hour (for dimension checking purposes). This has saved me a lot of grief over the years. On the first house I built years ago with client-provided plans, there was a 5 inch discrepancy in the width of a house.

Whatever you do, don't get a product that runs only on Windows XP.
 

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I use an old version of 3D Home Architect (3.0). It's really old and basic but it lets me play "what if" to my heart's content. It has a lot of limitations but since I only use it for conceptualizing, it works great for that. It also will design the roof. When I complete a design, I draw it manually (1/4" to 1" scale). I think I paid less than $20 on eBay for it.

On client-provided plans, I will still draw them out on 3DHA. Every set of house plans I've ever been provided has had the caveat "Builder to confirm actual dimensions" or something like that, which means, "the dimensions shown on this plan are not guaranteed to add up to the overall dimensions indicated". I can recreate a set of plans in less than an hour (for dimension checking purposes). This has saved me a lot of grief over the years. On the first house I built years ago with client-provided plans, there was a 5 inch discrepancy in the width of a house.

Whatever you do, don't get a product that runs only on Windows XP.
I ued 3DHA 1996 10 years after it was released. Finally upgraded to Home designer and was thrilled that the interface is almost the same, so there was not much learning curve. The higher 3D rendering quality wows clients from time to time, and is an additional space planning tool.
 

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My son uses AutoCAD Revit. It is a little pricey at around $1500, but the things you can do on it are amazing. The 3-D is great for showing designs to customers.
 
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