by Don Vandervort, © HomeTips
As discussed in How to Read House Plans, visualizing rooms by reading construction drawings can be tricky. Unless you’re very familiar with blueprints, it can be difficult to imagine walls, ceilings, windows, doors, cabinets, and the like by looking at plans. Fortunately, a variety of tools exist to help homeowners visualize the shape their remodels will take.
Many architects utilize plan-drawing software that gives them the ability to quickly turn plan views and elevations into 3D axonometrics—renderings of what the rooms will look like. If the firm has this type of software, it typically offers these renderings as part of the plan-drawing service.
Many architectural firms also have illustrators who can do these types of renderings by hand—but they may charge a premium for this service.
For a complicated remodel that involves changing the structure of the house, adding windows, affecting the roofline, and similar major changes, a scale model is often a helpful tool for visualizing the final spaces and how they will interrelate. Unless your design agreement with the architect includes the building of a model, this is usually an extra. Typically made from foam-core matte board or heavy card stock, a scale model typically costs $1,000 or more.
A variety of home-design software programs that employ photo-realistic room visualization are available for both professional designers and homeowners. With these, you can pick wall and floor coverings, cabinet styles, colors, furniture, and much more—and they will render photo-realistic views from any angle. High-end versions of this software utilized by professional designers can be very powerful; the low-end homeowner versions are relatively limited in their usefulness.
To get free recommendations for top-rated local architects, call the most reliable and comprehensive referral service, HomeAdvisor, at 866-350-2983 (toll free).