So this week I have a project update. A few weeks ago I told you about the trouble that I had getting my house plans started in episode 79 called My house plans— back to the drawing board.
But now, I have a good report. I’ll tell you about the treasures that I’ve found since recording that episode, including a markup tool that I used to tweak my house plan and the person that I’ve got helping me.
After I recorded episode 79, I wanted to think through my house plan sketches and make a few changes. I downloaded a free trial of Bluebeam Revu software (www.bluebeam.com). It's a pretty expensive program that is used by architects, building designer and even contractors to make changes to house plans.
Although I am not technologically savvy, I was able to pretty quickly figure out how to use the red line markup tool and the measuring tool. The red line markup tool allows you to mark up a PDF of a house plan. You can modify an existing house plan by marking over existing lines of the plan. You can see how enlarging or shrinking a room will effort the overall layout. And you can delete those red marks if you decide you don't like the changes. A measuring tool is also available to determine how the changes that you've made will affect the square footage. The original PDF never changes, but you can save the marked up version of the plan. Check out the free trial of Bluebeam Revu if you want to play with a house plan that you've found online or a plan that you've gotten from a house designer.
After I made a few changes to the plan, I still had some design dilemmas and I knew I needed someone to help me and to put my plan into CAD (computer aided design-- the software that many architects and designer use to draw house plans). So, I called my colleague's husband. He's a licensed architect. I've known him for years and knew that he was easy going and easy to talk to.
The timing was perfect. He had recently quit his commercial architectural job to pursue residential architecture. Although he has designed houses in the past, he had been working on apartment buildings and offices buildings in the most recent years. After taking a few weeks off, he had plans to start working again the week after I called him! Before I called him, I had no idea about his plans or his schedule, so it seemed like it was meant to be when his timeline and mine matched up exactly.
I sent him an email with my sketches and inspiration photos and he got started right away. A few days after I sent that initial email, he sent me several house plan options. And that has been his habit for the several weeks that I have worked with him. He sends several options for me to choose from and he sends them within a few days of our last discussion. He is super responsive! And I love being able to choose from several versions. If you can find a designer or architect who is willing to send more than one option, put him on your short list of finalists.
Over these last few weeks, I learned that although I'm having a custom home designed to my specifications, there will still be some compromises. Compromises because of budget, lot shape, lot size, your desire to stay within a specific square footage, homeowner association regulations, or even building codes. Although your house will be designed and built for you and your family, it is unlikely that you will get everything exactly the way you've dreamed.
Now, I'm not saying that you'll have to make big compromises, but there will be compromises all the same. For me they have been little things-- a guest bedroom that's not quite as large as I wanted, an entrance hall that's a little longer than I originally planned and a kitchen island that's about a foot shorter than I had expected. I'm having to make those compromises so the overall flow of the house works better.
All in all, it's been a great experience so far. We're probably about 2/3 of the way through the design process. I'll continue to update you as the project progresses. Thanks for stopping by.