Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I can tell you first hand, going from nearly 3900 sq.ft. to 1325 sq.ft is not an easy task. So what does one do when forced with such a dilemma? I felt it best to find a tool that would help me figure out how to optimize furniture layout and storage, without having to move everything around.

After some research, I decided perhaps home design software would be the answer. I played around with the Sims game back in the day. Mostly so I could build and furnish the homes, shops, restaurants, etc. I jumped on Google and started reading reviews on the various software available.

I was hoping to find one more suited for the average, non-architect, non-computer geek, like me.

I narrowed it down to this one because of the following...

Wow, "Make Your Decorating Ideas Come To Life!" That image looks fabulous, yes!? Well, it gets better. Next, they hit me with this...

As great as it all looks, I'm still a bit skeptical. So00000 they hit me with this image...

The three magic words I needed to see "Powerful, Fun, EASY"!

Did you notice who is at the computer making decorating magic....a kid. Yep, a kid! Well slap me silly, if the little guy can do hard can it be?! (At this point someone should have really slapped me! ha! )

Like all savvy frugalistas, I searched online for the best (cheapest) price. Three days and $50.00 later it arrived. I was as giddy as a drunken goose! I jump on my computer and loaded the program. I couldn't wait to get started! I could arrange my place...then I could build my dream home! I could design the floor plan and decorate it the way I always imagined it to be!

After nearly an hour watching videos tutorials and reading helpful hints, I decided it best I just get started. After all, I've done a sufficient review and feel I have a clear sense of the basics. The rest, I can learn by trial and error, right!?

David Bromstad was so right when he said, "you can't fix stupid!"

About 5 minutes into it I realize I need measurements. I jump up, grab my notepad, 16' tape measure, a pencil and measure out each room. Back at the computer, measurements in hand...oooops made another booboo, not only do I need room size, I need closets, pantry, windows, cabinets, appliances, doors, wall height...get the picture?

I'll spare you the rest of the gory details and show you what I finally was able to accomplish. Mind you, it only took about 30+ hours, over 3.5 days and I was only able to complete the first floor. Oh, and pay no attention to that roof line. It made me add it or it wouldn't let me see my 3D version...

Woohoo, Houston we have a floor plan! It's not spot on, but dang close!

After several hours of frustration, I was now feeling pretty good. It was short-lived. lol! Who would have guessed that creating the floor plan was the easy part.

Adding furnishings was frustrating on so many levels. Here is what I managed to do.

The upside, at least I can now see my 1st floor in 3D! I did not figure out how to put in the vaulted ceiling over the livingroom; mostly because it wanted me to put in the 2nd floor. At this point, that wasn't going to happen anytime soon! ha!

So what you won't see is the 2nd floor that has a laundry closet at the top of the stairs between 2bdrms, 2 full baths.

Yikes, why is the furniture so ugly and what is with those color??? It was very cumbersome to place the furniture, some pieces were near impossible, so I gave up.

I decided to just stop trying to make it pretty and explore the "walk through" feature. Bugga, another hurdle to tackle; navigating the camera is a whole new semester all its own!

Birdseye view of my teenie-tiny kitchen. In real life it is white with black granite countertops....

I have glass canisters and these, oddly enough, weren't too bad.

Behind the glass canisters is subway tile backsplash that is suppose to be a pass thru into the dining room that goes the full width; another failed nightmarish attempt!

The only storage I have other than the closet in the 2 bedrooms upstairs, are these 3 closets.....

and a pantry tucked under the stairs

Of course I have 3 garages filled with stuff too. ha! Stairs were another hurdle, but I managed, somehow!

A Sarah Winchester moment; I'm trying to confuse the spirits in the software ha!

Viewpoint from the stairs towards the kitchen & dining room. How ironic that the monitor on the desk is the best looking item from the furnishing library ha!

View from the living room towards the dining room

One fun feature is you can look through the windows and glass doors

If I were able to figure out how to do the landcaping and backdrop, you would have been able to look out from the inside. You can, it's just all...blank.

I can see how computer wizards and computer savvy architects may find this software easy and simple. I'm not computer illiterate nor am I a wiz. For me, this software is not "for dummies" friendly. I see the potential it offers, I would have liked to attain it. I just don't have the motivation (time) this software requires to become proficient enough to enjoy it.

I must add, the fee for architects, interior designers, and landscape designers is worth every penny and more!

In case you are wondering....

you can view the webpage here Better Homes & Garden's Home Designer Suite

If you think you might want to give it a go, I know where you can get a used! ;)

This post is linked up with the following fabulously talented hosts:

Cindy @ My Romantic Home ~ Show and Tell Friday

Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage ~ Transformation Thrusday

Lori @ Life as Lori ~ Get Your Craft On Thrusday

Steph @ Somewhat Simple ~ Strut Your Stuff Thrusday



The Muse said...

i had to smile because as an architect one of the ideas clients have when you say that you will use CAD computer aided drawing...that the computer will do
I am glad that you wrote about this so give just a glimpse into the actual amount of Work design really is for those who must implement such software.

I must say, you should be very happy with your have done very well with the program. :)

D said...

Well, I have always wanted to try one of these programs, and at the beginning of your post, I was ready to place my order. Now, however; I think I will pass. You did seem to do a good job though.


Petit Coterie said...

Oh Tina, I can feel what you are going through with that program. I tried as well, but you lasted much longer then I did. At least you have rooms and stairs. I had to give up.
I want to thank you so much for stopping by my blog and leaving such a great post. It is just so hurtful and I appreciate your understanding. I agree, all of the bloggers need to unite.

xxx, Michelle

Susan Wicker said...

Hello Tina...I could never do what you did! I admire your stamina and prowess to even attempt it! Wowsers! Sincerely, Susan from

Lynette said...

OK - that looked so very scary!

Your blog is so very pretty - I'll have to come back when I have lots of time to visit and look around!

Thanks for stopping by last night!

Sylvia at Lily's Pad and Petals said...

Too funny - been there done that - if you ever come across something for "dummies" let me know for sure.

You were brave and spent so much time on this, kinda feel bad.

someplace in thyme said...

Oh my gosh Tina, that looks like so much work, I would not know where to begin. You are hanging in there like a pro. Great job, Char

Leann said...

Ohh, kinda cool! Have fun with it, Tina!


jenjen said...

Wow - that looks like it was a ton of work! But the finished product is pretty cool!!

I love the kitchen with the subway tiles!

Jen said...

wow! that looks like a lot of time and work you put in to that layout!
But I must say, it looks cool! I used to play sims with my daughter... it was addicting!

Lori said...

You are brave!!! I would never be able to do this...

Thanks for joining me for another great party at "Get Your Craft on Thurs." Please join me next week for another wonderful party..

Please stop by for a big annoucement Tuesday, the 16th. I'm so excited I'm about to bust...

Debbie said...

I have to say I could never do that planning myself, I am sure this system makes it a whole lot easier. There was that show on HGTV where they would show you three different homes and the guy would make the changes over the computer to show you what you could do with the space for X amount of is pretty cool!

vignette design said...

This is fascinating. I've always wondered about these programs. Sounds like it had a huge learning curve, but is worth it in the long run when you get more computer savvy. Your pictures are great!

vignette design said...

This is fascinating. I've always wondered about these programs. Sounds like it had a huge learning curve, but is worth it in the long run when you get more computer savvy. Your pictures are great!

Colleen @ MuralMaker&More said...

OMG! Congratulations! My hub has bugged me for years to get one of those programs. I kept telling him it wasn't as easy as it looked.
But you did a wonderful job!

Nice and Easy Antiques said...

We have plans to move in about 1 1/2 years to the half (or less) of the square footage we have now.I'm looking forward to the change, but I have decided thanks to your post that not simple, easy to follow, decorating suite will be included in my plan!!! Thank you for a fun post!

Amanda @ Morning Glory Cottage said...

Too funny. I have the same software. We used it to design our guest house to submit to country for approval. It does take some time to learn. For your pass through try making it a window without any glass. You can change the window appearance in the tab menu. Good luck. Looks like you have a darling house. We moved 10 years ago from 2,500 sq ft to about 1,300. It wasn't easy, but we did it somehow. {{HUGS}} Amanda

Ms. Bake-it said...

Wow Tina! I must admit to being impressed. You had the perseverance to keep plodding on. I ran out of patience and gave up! Sad, I know... Looks good!

~ Tracy

Victoria said...

Oh my gosh, I laughed so hard reading this! Especially the Sarah Winchester moment at the staircase!!! I admire you for getting as far as you did, I would given up way before that!

grannyann said...

I am impressed!!!

Tammy@ A Doctor in the House said...

I think you did a great job! I probably couldn't do any better but would love to give it a try if you're interested in selling it on the cheap! I've contemplated buying something like this but have been too afraid b/c I'm a dummy too! lol


I'm laughing so hard. That totally sounds like something I would do! What do you MEAN I have to measure everything? Can't you just get the info downloaded directly from my brain???? Yeah, I won't be buying the software, even cheap! But thanks for letting me giggle at your expense. Happy Belated PS!


P.S. Your mosaics are Beautiful!

Dawn said...

LOL! Great post! You hung in there and figured it out. I'd have given up when I realized I had to MEASURE. Details, details!

The Winchester stairs are so funny! I always wanted to go there when I was a kid but never got to. We would see the billboards advertising it all the way from Fresno to San Jose when we would visit my grandparents there. I think they would get tons more visitors if they would replace the scary red and black billboards and the skull. They should market more towards beautiful craftsmanship and less mystery!

Queen of Dreamsz said...


I think you figured out a bunch! I'd love to have this software...just for giggles. I'm fairly computer literate..

I think I may have seen this at Staples but didn't pay any attention to the price.

Thanks for showing us what you've really looks like a great program.

So does it do landscaping a rendering from the outside??

♥ Love & Faerie Dust ♥

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