For a successful property renovation or new build, you need to create a coherent home design. That means everything from producing floorplans, to overlaying an electrical and lighting layout, to choosing the furnishings, fittings and finishes; supported by 3D visuals. You also need a realistic budget. We have written several guidance documents at the links below, to help you achieve this.
- How to Renovate A Property covers: specifying your requirement, choosing professionals, creating the design, obtaining statutory approvals, producing technical documentation and contracts, choosing a contractor and overseeing the work.
- Property Renovation is an article on selecting and working with contractors and trades.
- Home Renovation is a case study exploring one of our renovation projects from start to finish that takes you through all the steps.
- Property Renovation Costs is a list of costs from selected projects that indicate the budget required for major renovations.
To really understand your new design for a major renovation or new build, you should work with a 3D representation of the property. The remainder of this article focuses on the value of 3D architecture in guiding you to build the home of your dreams, and how we can help.
2D or 3D Visualisation?
Over the past 12 years of designing homes we’ve noticed that our clients always reach for their 3D prints. Not everyone can interpret a formal 2D drawing. Which of the following 2 images would be easier to understand for a non-expert? The 2D plan view …
… or the 3D visual of the same floor?
The 3D view clearly shows the design features as you would see them – the windows, the doors, the balconies, the furniture. You get a clearer perspective of heights around the space (the window cills for example) which are not readily apparent from a flat 2D plan. Using the model, we can zoom, rotate, walk through, section the floors and walls and make changes easily.
Importantly, a 3D perspective view gives you a better feel for the space. It helps you gain an impression of how you might live there. Indeed, faced with just the 2D plan above, you may struggle to visualise the building at all.
For new builds, extensions and conversions, a 3D perspective view is much easier to work with. If you want to consider options, we can produce alternative designs for you to compare side by side before choosing the best. If you engage our complete deign service, we will produce the model on a laptop for review. If you are far from Bath, we can send as many views as you need by email. We’ve done this on several occasions, working remotely with a client.
Rapid Prototyping for Properties
We can produce 3D models quickly and cheaply. From the base model, it only takes a few mouse clicks to move a wall, resize a window or reposition furniture. This “rapid prototyping” allows you to converge quickly on the preferred design. For the project below, we produced 8 different schemes (inside and out) for the clients to compare and contrast before they settled on their favoured option.
Below is the finished project…
… and one of the kitchen-diners.
On a laptop we can walk you through the proposed, furnished building, viewing individual floors and zooming in on specific rooms. We produce visuals at whatever level and whatever angle is required.
We can even produce a dolls house view by slicing through the model.
Plans and Elevations
Of course, plan and elevation views have their place in formal planning and building control. Indeed we also produce 2D outputs when required. Everything is to scale, so our single model can generate 2D and 3D views of the same project. If your architect or designer intends only to produce a 2D drawing, ask if they can offer additional 3D images. If they don’t have the capability, you could send the drawings to us and we can produce the 3D version for you.
If you are only working with 2D plans and elevations, make sure you include details such as your specific furniture. If you have a treasured dining table, feature sideboard or sofa, these should be designed into the scheme. We visited a home recently where the designer included a table and chairs which bore no resemblance to the client’s actual furniture. This resulted in a poor fit and awkward movement around the space. Similarly, an architect will usually produce a plan view that includes a notional kitchen in the new space but not the actual kitchen that you want. So how would you know that the space will meet your needs? Our approach is to design the kitchen in sufficient detail, to make sure that the key elements and overall layout work for you. All in 3D, of course.
You don’t need to go to the expense of rendered, photorealistic images. High end visuals are staged for a limited number of views, and are for very high value projects which justify the price. You may come across what looks like a fantastic photograph of a building that is actually a computer generated image. However, that will have taken a designer several days using high specification software and photo-editing facilities to create one or two views.
By contrast, our model generates visuals to be used as working documents to help everyone communicate clearly. The images are a sufficiently close representation of reality and still look good at a fraction of the time and price of the high end alternative. The model is easy to modify for assessing options and you can have as many views as you like. This allows us to produce the visuals promptly from sketches or drawings. We focus on practical and essential details, with only a few embellishments to set the scene.
Here is an example of one of our close up visuals followed by a photograph of the kitchen when installed.
You can see that the resemblance was close enough for practical purposes, including the gloss reflection that we applied to the units.
Similarly for exterior views. Clients want to see what the home will look like. As shown below, our models are pretty accurate, helping our clients to make decisions on materials and finishes:
Here is the building nearly completed:
The value of 3D Architecture
It is so important for everyone to see what the final project will look like. For architects, it helps them to explain features to their clients. For clients, it helps them to understand what they can expect at the end of the project. If changes are required during construction, the impact of those changes can be evaluated quickly. For contractors, it adds to their sense of purpose, pride in the job and understanding of the roles of other trades and suppliers that follow.
When walking around our building sites we see prints of the 3D visuals stuck on walls alongside formal construction drawings. It clearly helps the trades to see what’s going on. Not all trades can read technical drawings. An electrician is employed to fit the electrics, but when he or she sees how the whole scheme will look, it helps to explain why sockets and switches are fitted in the places specified. They may even spot improvements as they go along.
Without question, the 3D picture is a more natural medium with which to communicate.
3D Modelling and Visuals for your Home
3D modelling is so important that it is embedded in our daily processes. If you engage our full interior design service, you would receive a 3D model as standard; details can be found by clicking here. Should you only require 3D images to help you to visualise your new home, you can send us your sketches or architect’s drawings. We will then produce a single model from £250+VAT. As a guide, this base price would deliver a selection of exterior 3D visuals of your choice for one design of a property. Reasonable changes to the basic exterior design would be included in this price. We would also insert representations of furniture to your specified sizes. As mentioned earlier, if you are remote from Bath, we can do everything by email, including mark-ups and amendments. We’ve done this several times in the past.
We can also produce detailed interior floorplans with electrical overlays (see further below) and export the 3D models as plans and elevations if required. The price for this additional work would depend on the scope of the task.
Electrical and Lighting Layouts
Taking the model a step further, we can also overlay a simple electrical design on the plan view. Indeed, when planning your room layout, it is imperative to identify locations for sockets, lights, lamps, switches, telephone, aerials, home network, audio visual systems and so on. We always design these elements concurrently, and apply a similar approach to plumbing and heating locations. We do all this before commitment to the final design.
I hope you have been persuaded of the power of 3D imagery in helping you to make decisions and plan for success. If you’d like to read more about property renovation in general, please see our advice article here. We have also compiled guidance on how much things cost which you can access by clicking here.
Best wishes for a successful build.
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