Computer Assisted Design for Remodeling
“Smile! You’re on Candid Camera…”
One of the more interesting and important new developments for homeowners who are planning to remodel or renovate, is the recent emergence and increasing usage of in-home “computer assisted design” programs to help visualize what a finished project will look like.
Computer Assisted Design (CAD), as it relates to homeowners, was first put into play by major manufacturers of building products and materials to demonstrate how their installed products might look on a home. Architects also used it to speed-up their designs and blueprinting.
More recently, computer assisted design began appearing as a regular staple in kitchen and bath designer’s showrooms and in “big box” home center stores as a very slick and useful on-site planning and sales tool. However, computer assisted design has just taken another quantum leap forward – this time, right into our living rooms. So, what’s new…for you?
Today, more and more products and services that are sold to homeowners – and that are selected in their homes – are being presented and configured with the help of sophisticated computer design programs that allow the buyer to “visualize” the finished product.
Contractors of all types are fast replacing armloads of product samples and color swatches with notebook computers, digital cameras and state-of-the-art computer software. They are using them to help their customers visualize what various products, materials and colors will look like – on their specific home – thus eliminating guesswork and thereby increasing the likelihood of customer satisfaction with the completed project.
Perhaps you may have heard about this… or seen it on TV or maybe in a magazine and have often wondered how it works. Well, here’s the scoop:
One of the more intriguing current uses of in-home computer design to help customers select products, colors and materials – and to visualize what they will actually look like on their home – is being used by contractors and interior design firms who plan and sell remodeling, home improvement projects, interior finishes and furnishings.
One such state-of-the-art program, created by a leading computer design software company headquartered in Canada – called RenoWorks – specializes in “visualization tools” for remodeling and renovation. And what makes their software and program totally unique is that it was designed by a former contractor (now the head of RenoWorks) specifically for use by contractors.
Here’s how it works: Today, when a contractor comes to your home, instead of just measuring and preparing a written quote on a clipboard (while you juggle a handful of samples), as before… with this program, the process instead begins with their taking a photograph of your house and transferring it into their notebook computer.
Then with a few knowing clicks and commands, the computer design software starts doing its job…right before your eyes. First, you see your home on the screen as it is now…and as you watch, a process called “masking” begins. The image of your home takes on various bright hues and blocks of bold colors where specific products will be applied, such as on your existing siding or on the roof.
This is where the “interactive” aspect of this amazing design software becomes evident. At every step, you participate in the decision-making process. First, by selecting or suggesting products and colors; and then viewing them on your home. Best of all, you have the ability to make “instant” changes without using an eraser or, worse yet, a hammer and a crowbar. With a simple “click” – sky blue changes to forest green and sleek siding becomes sturdy brick – and “whole-house” changes take place right before your eyes. Better visualization programs contain a host of products and finishes in their libraries in order to provide the consumer with a wide array of choices. Want white plantation shutters on the interior of your dining room windows? Use the visualization tool to compare different styles, colors and textures of various window treatments available. An increasing number of manufacturers are providing product images to be used in various visualization software programs.
Want to add new windows… or luxurious double entry doors? No problem. How would it look with etched glass side light panels? Again no problem. How about Mahogany… Birch… or a bold color, Maroon maybe?
Once you’ve had the opportunity to experience design visualization, choosing from a glossy color brochure, tiny samples and color swatches will never be quite good enough again. While there is no substitute for the ability to see, touch and feel fabric, stone and tile textures and finishes; design visualization offers the added benefit of giving the consumer the ability to have a peek into the future to see what the finished product will look like.
And another nice feature, once you’ve decided on specific products and colors for your home, the designer or contractor can print a high quality photo image of what your completed home improvement or remodeling project will look like… before you ever say “yes” and the work has even begun.
Today, while this specific program offers in-home “design visualization” for a wide range of exterior products including: siding, roofing, stone, brick, paint, windows, doors and a host of accessories… still more programs (such as for in-home kitchen and bathroom design or for choosing, say… window blinds) are continually being developed software designers, and are steadily being introduced and made available to contractors and homeowners alike.
Planning a remodeling or renovation project has never been easier. And maybe, never more fun. Next time you’re planning to add a fresh coat of paint, replace your roof, add siding or install new windows; ask your designer or contractor if they can help you “visualize” your dream come true with this wonderful tool.
For more home improvement tips and information search our website at www.onthehouse.com or call our listener line any time at 1-800-737-2474! All you need to do is leave your name, telephone number and your question.