by Kendra Dorosh
Have you spent hours laboring over a drafting table? Remodel/ Addition Design Contest winner Sandra Lukas can relate.
Sandra’s winning design in the Chief Architect Remodel/ Addition Design Contest caught our attention and inspired us to learn more about her story. It turns out that she hand-drafted designs for high-end spec homes for years before making the jump to Chief Architect’s Home Designer Professional software. Follow along as she takes us on a trip down memory lane from her days of hand drafting to how she discovered and fell in love with design software.
Sandra’s Hand-Drafting Days
Around the turn of the millennium, Sandra was taking some interior design classes and met a woman who was sitting in on some of them. The woman was building her dream home and enjoying the process so much that, as a successful businesswoman, she decided to build a spec house in the upscale suburban Chicago community. One thing led to another and soon Sandra found herself joining the adventure. “Over an eight-year period, we built several million dollar plus homes. It was an exciting, challenging, and rewarding experience… then the crash of ’08 came, ending our adventure.”
Getting Started with Home Designer Software
After the crash, Sandra shifted focus to projects she’d had on hold. Times being what they were, her first project was for her own family: remodeling their weekend home in Southwest Michigan to become their primary residence. The weekend home was a small, 1970’s three-bedroom ranch on a beautiful wooded lot located a stone’s throw from a private Lake Michigan beach, and the redesign took 3 years.
It was during this time that she discovered the benefits of Home Designer Professional as opposed to hand drafting. “I’ve been working with Home Designer Professional since 2012. Prior to that, I was using simple 2D design software. And before that, I was laboring over a drafting table with a pencil, a straightedge and lots of paper, tissue, and kneaded erasers. Don’t miss that…at all.”
When you are drafting the old school way, it’s always a chore to make changes, so you become a little blind to the ways the design can be improved
One of the greatest design challenges presented by the weekend home remodel was the placement of a large, wood-burning fireplace that disrupted the flow of the space. It was through the process of dealing with that challenge that Sandra came to appreciate the ease with which changes can be made to a design in Home Designer Pro. Even complex objects like entire wall assemblies can be easily moved, pushed, pulled, relocated and even eliminated altogether. Of the wood stove, she says, “When I finally said ‘it’s toast’ and located a new fireplace in a much more appealing and usable place, the design became what it was meant to be.”
While a hand-drawn and colored rendering can be very beautiful, Home Designer’s 3D renderings can come very close. Minus the angst…when a design change is called for.
Confronting the Learning Curve
At Chief Architect, we talk to many drafters and designers who have been creating hand drawings their entire careers. When contemplating the jump toContinue reading