Tag Archives: Home Visualization

A fun, creative kitchen remodel

HOW A STRESSFUL KITCHEN REMODEL BECAME CREATIVE AND FUN

Major kitchen overhauls represent a huge investment of time, energy, and trust. Think about it — after carefully poring over and painstakingly selecting paint colors, cupboard styles, flooring options, fixtures, appliances, floor plan layouts, window treatments, etc., you have to trust that your contractors will deliver something that meets your vision.

Sounds stressful, doesn’t it? But there is a way to improve the trust with your contractors and service providers… and consequently free up your energy for a fun, creative kitchen remodel. Recently, a friendly couple discovered first-hand how they could renew their trust in their service providers and embrace the fun in their remodeling project.

A Little Background

When the couple first contacted me, they were in the process of planning a major kitchen overhaul.  They had plans and elevations drawn up by a reputable kitchen designer. But they were getting frustrated  because they just couldn’t visualize the end result from those black-and-white CAD drawings. Luckily, as they were looking through an issue of DesignNY magazine, they saw the write-up about CastleView 3D.  

They sent me a message.

“We are planning a remodel and having difficulty with our plans. The folks doing the kitchen have very limited imaging software and we are having difficulty communicating our wishes. Can you help?”

Why, yes!  Yes, I can help!

Since the couple only lived about 40 minutes away, I got in my car and paid a visit to their home (a rare treat for someone who works virtually with people all over the country).  We talked about what they wanted, I took some photos, and they gave me copies of the plans and elevations prepared by their kitchen designer.

More than a Kitchen

As we chatted, it quickly became obvious that they weren’t just remodeling their kitchen — they were actually redesigning the entire main living area of their home. The home had undergone some quirky remodeling before they purchased it.  The kitchen was enclosed by partial walls within a great room with a vaulted ceiling (see photos).  There was an awkward spiral staircase directly inside the main entry which they were planning to replace. They also wanted to give the fireplace wall a makeover by eliminating the stone facing, adding a hearth, and incorporating a Kozy Heat gas fireplace.

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Photo of partially enclosed kitchen area within great room

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Photo of partially enclosed kitchen area looking towards front entry

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Photo of awkward spiral staircase and landing.

The Innovative Vision

This couple loves to cook and entertain.  Their plan was to remove the partial walls surrounding the kitchen and extend the kitchen area across the whole back side of the great room, allowing them to use the entire space to socialize and interact with their guests.  A large center island would be added, as well as cabinet/work areas at each end. They had decided on painted black and white cabinets with custom-made concrete countertops.  The center island was to include a bar-height counter in the general shape of the Nike® “swoosh” logo, with the front covered in sheet metal with rivets. As a final playful touch, they wanted to incorporate a custom bubble tile mural from Mercury Mosaics on the back wall above the stove (similar to this one, inspired by the work of artist Gustav Klimt).

The overall effect was innovative and modern yet filled with creativity and fun!

Using their plans, elevations, and ideas for materials, finishes, appliances, lighting, and decor, I created a detailed 3D model of the space.  Then we worked together through several draft versions to arrive at these final renderings of their new kitchen design (click images to see full-size):

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3D rendering of kitchen remodel plans showing new center island, bubble tile backsplash, and new staircase

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3D rendering of kitchen remodel plans showing new fireplace wall and center island

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3D rendering of kitchen remodel plans showing counters, center island, and new stairs and landing

A WONDERFUL WORKING RELATIONSHIP

My clients were ecstatic to see their ideal kitchen come to life. Once they had a good understanding of the process, they really got into trying out different ideas and finish materials to see how they’d look and whether they would work out as they hoped.

After all, with detailed 3D renderings you are free to play with ideas without the risks of investing piles of time and money!

I received a lovely thank-you note at the completion of the project (as well as a really nice review on my Houzz profile):

I am so very pleased with these photos [renderings]. It has made my kitchen come alive! I will be using these religiously to get through the chaos of the remodel. Thank you so much!

These clients were great to work with because they really discovered the value of 3D renderings in helping them to achieve the exciting, fun kitchen of their dreams. In the end, they knew exactly what they wanted and were able to communicate that vision clearly to their contractors and service providers. It was a win for everyone!

Do you have remodeling plans you’d like to see come to life in 3D?  I’d love to hear from you.


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Visualizing a contemporary home remodel

A CRISP, CLEAN, CONTEMPORARY HOME REMODEL DESIGN

Recently, CastleView 3D worked with a couple in Florida who were undertaking a major remodel to the townhome they had purchased.   They had a few preliminary 3D views done by someone working in Sketchup, but they weren’t really satisfied with the level of detail they were able to see, plus they felt the process was taking too long.  That’s when the wife did a web search and found CastleView 3D.  After a brief phone conversation and a couple of emails, a wonderful working relationship was born.

We spent a great deal of time visualizing numerous versions of the kitchen and master bath designs, tweaking the details to get them exactly right.  The couple wanted a sleek, clean, contemporary design — no fuss, no frills, and no curves or rounded edges.  The color scheme was light and neutral — taupe, ivory, palest green, and white, with natural limestone, bleached wood floors, glossy lacquered cabinetry, and some dark wenge wood accents.  Below are photorealistic renderings of these two room designs.

The kitchen design features glossy white lacquer European-style frameless cabinets, frosted glass pantry doors, white quartz countertops, a large island with serving area, and a backlit backsplash behind the stove.

[click images to open full-size]
Contemporary home remodel - kitchen design rendering

Kitchen, island, and dining area

The master bath has limestone counters and tile, white wenge wood floating cabinets, a steam shower enclosure, a skylight, and pale green walls.

Contemporary home remodel - master bath design rendering

Master bath

Over a period of several months, the clients and I also explored various options for the great room, the office, the home theater, the exercise room, and the master and guest bedrooms, to help with finish material choices, lighting, and space planning.  We also worked on visualizing the patio, pool with decorative water wall, and landscape design.  It took over 9 months for the couple to get everything designed to their satisfaction and subsequently approved by their homeowners board.  Below are a few of the renderings done for this project, out of more than 200 total.

Great Room design rendering

Great Room design rendering

Office and home theater rendering

Office and home theater rendering

Home theater design rendering

Home theater design rendering

Landscaping for front entry

Landscaping for front entry

Patio, pool with water wall, and rear landscaping

Patio, pool with water wall, and rear landscaping

These clients were very enthusiastic about the value of their work with CastleView 3D in visualizing their contemporary home remodel.  They say it was extremely helpful in their design planning to be able to see detailed renderings of their ideas.  Some things they originally thought they wanted, such as stainless steel cabinets and a dark marble counter in the kitchen, were eliminated once they saw how they would actually look.

The wife says that the 3D renderings helped her to communicate with her husband and get him excited about her ideas for their home.  The renderings also helped the couple communicate with their contractors about exactly what they want.

“Working with CastleView 3D has been a real gift for us and has made an incredible difference.  Saved us many, many mistakes in our build.  I had no idea how incapable I was of visualizing things from blueprints and plans. We tell people about you all the time!”

NOTE:  All modeling was done in Chief Architect X5.  Renderings were done in CAX5 or in Thea.

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3D Home Visualization

Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D:

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“Visualize Your Home Improvement Project in 3D”

photo of audience wearing 3D glasses - "The amazing miracle of 3D home visualization!"This is the title of a seminar on 3D home visualization that I’ll be giving this weekend at the Rochester Home Builders Association 2012 Home & Garden Show.

I’m truly excited to be giving a seminar at the show.  I feel that homeowners are just beginning to glimpse the value that 3D home visualization can bring to their home improvement projects, so I appreciate the chance to share even more information with them about the potential of this technology — in addition to chatting with interested folks who stop by the CastleView 3D booth, of course.

Basic topics I’ll cover in my talk include:

  • What 3D technology is — and what it isn’t
  • Some current uses of 3D technology for home building, remodeling, renovation, and redecorating
  • Specific examples from projects I’ve worked on with my clients, with lots of before-and-after images
  • A real-time demonstration of how 3D home visualization works, using Chief Architect X4 software
  • An overview of currently available options for using 3D visualization technology, from using simple DIY software packages (such as Chief Architect’s Home Designer Essentials) to working with specialty firms like CastleView 3D

I’m really looking forward to sharing my passion for 3D visualization with people at the seminar, as well as answering their questions and hearing about their home improvement projects.

When I wrote about last year’s show, I said:

Next year I plan to be an exhibitor myself, so I’ll be able to talk with people directly and get them excited about the benefits of “seeing it before you build it” with 3D visualization!

And here I am!

This promises to be a great show — in addition to all the seminars, exhibits, and garden displays, there will be culinary demonstrations (looking at this list makes my mouth water!), plus wine tastings from a variety of Finger Lakes wineries.  Can’t beat that!

Show info:

  • Saturday 3/24, 10 am – 7 pm
  • Sunday 3/25, 10 am – 5 pm
  • Rochester Riverside Convention Center
  • Admission is $8 (but save $2 with this coupon)
  • CastleView 3D will be exhibiting in Booth #815

If you’re in the Rochester, New York, area this weekend, I hope to see you at my seminar (1:30 pm on both Saturday and Sunday), or stop by the CastleView 3D booth #815 to say hi.

UPDATE:  If you weren’t able to make it to the Home Show and would like to know more about 3D home visualization, leave me a note in the Comments section below, or contact me through the CastleView 3D website.


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Had enough turkey yet?

Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D:

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A 3D modeling project halfway around the world

In honor of American Thanksgiving last Thursday (the one day of the year when an estimated 88% of U.S. households are eating roast turkey, the traditional Thanksgiving meal), today I’m featuring some 3D modeling work I did for a client in Turkey.

This client is a builder, specializing in designing and building elegant villas on the coast of Turkey.  He had floorplans for his new project in Bodrum, and had already commissioned a few exterior renders.  But he needed some virtual interior decorating to show off the interiors.  He hired CastleView 3D to do the interior modeling only, since he preferred to do his own renders.

But of course, once the interiors were modeled, they looked so beautiful and inviting that I couldn’t resist generating a few renders.  Here are a couple of them.  The views out the windows are photos of the actual views from the house!

3D Modeling and Rendering of Kitchen/Dining Area of Turkish Villa

The image above is a kitchen with bar, dining area, and breakfast nook, decorated in a modern style but with classic Mediterranean touches.  (The wonderful “Sputnik” chandeliers were modeled for me by my friend and virtual colleague, Bryce Engstrom.)

3D Modeling and Rendering of a Tower Bedroom in a Turkish Villa

This image is a tower bedroom overlooking the Mediterranean.  Ne kadar güzel!  (Google Translate tells me that that’s Turkish for “how beautiful!”)  I can just imagine curling up on that round bed in the tower to read and gaze out at the amazing view.

3D Modeling and Rendering of a Tower Bedroom in a Turkish Villa

I also modeled and “decorated” a marble entry hall with inlaid floors, and a cinema room.  You can see my client’s renders of those rooms, plus the exterior renders and his versions of the rooms shown above, here.

Here’s the website’s description of this particular villa:

Mesa Construction has selected a 4 hectares land in a bay where the most luxury villas of Yalikavak are located…  From this land there is a wonderful view of the bay of Yalikavak and nature is really beautiful. Mesa Construction will build a luxury villa inspired by french style “belles demeures”, equipped with all american comfort (central air conditioning, smart home system, jacuzzi, elevator, …) but also full of the turkish charm. A unique combination to fully enjoy Bodrum’s life!

As of this posting, I believe this villa is still for sale, so hurry up and make an offer if it appeals to you!  You’d better believe I’d buy it myself if I could.

This was a great 3D modeling project to work on, even more amazing because it involved collaborating with someone literally on the other side of the globe.  It’s my fantasy that someday I’ll get to visit Turkey and see some of these beautiful villas in person.


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Virtual home staging

Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D:

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Recently a friend sent me an article from the New York Times.com Real Estate section about virtual home staging:  “Staging, Ever More Virtual.” I was pleased to see that virtual home staging is becoming such a hot trend that it was written up in the Times!

Home staging is the art (or is it a science?) of preparing a home for sale, with the goal of making the home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers to help the property to sell more quickly and at a higher price.*

Staging focuses on improving the property’s appeal by adding a few carefully selected furnishings and accessories to transform it into an attractive, neutral space that anyone might want.  By adding warmth, staging can help the potential homeowner emotionally connect with and “see” him or herself in the home.  Plus, there are many people who simply can’t visualize furniture in a space without furniture actually being there. A few pieces of artfully arranged furniture can help the buyer determine scale in the room and imagine how their own furnishings will fit.

In the Times article, Vince Collura, the president of Gotham Photo, a company in New York City which offers virtual staging services, is quoted as saying:

“I’ve gone to dozens and dozens of open houses, and I’m always being told to use my imagination by a broker….   Customers don’t have imagination; they’re looking for the potential risks, not the possibilities.”

Staging is particularly important if a home is vacant, to minimize that hollow, echo-y, deserted feeling and help a potential homebuyer feel more at ease.  In today’s buyers’ market, it’s an especially worthwhile investment. Buyers may assume that because a house is empty the owner needs to sell quickly, and will make a lower offer.

The beauty of virtual staging is that it can help potential buyers see the possibilities of a property by working the same magic as regular home staging — adding extra warmth and livability to a vacant property — but accomplishing this much more cost-effectively than renting and hauling in furnishings, rugs, accessories, etc.

Home virtually staged by 3DPlanView

Home virtually staged by 3DPlanView

My colleague Kay Nordby of 3DPlanView has a wonderful example on her website of how powerful this technique can be and how much value it can add.  Using photos of an empty living and dining room, Kay added her beautiful furnishings and decor (see the “after” photo above).  The images were then used by the real estate professional as a virtual model home, showcasing the property’s hidden potential.

CastleView 3D did a similar type of project a few months ago for a realtor in California whose client wanted to use his home’s potential view of the bay as a selling point by creating a virtual second story with a balcony.  For that project, we created a 3D model of the home rather than digitally altering a photograph.

Gotham Photo, the company profiled in the NYT article, works their virtual staging magic with Photoshop rather than 3D modeling.  The article says that their pricing “starts at” $100, but I’d be interested in knowing what the price was for the nice example they show on their website.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t $100!

As noted in the article, it’s important to keep things on the up-and-up by being  clear with potential renters or buyers that digital modifications have been made to the space, either by including a notation on the image  that it has been enhanced with virtual staging, or by presenting side-by-side “before” and “after” images.  But as long as everyone is clear about what has been done and that no serious defects in the property are being hidden with tricky computer magic, virtual staging can be of real benefit to realtors, sellers, AND buyers.

If you’re interested in virtual staging for a home or property you’re selling, CastleView 3D would be happy to work with you!


*To be honest, there doesn’t seem to be any verifiable research on the ultimate value of home staging.  One widely-quoted statistic claims that a study by Coldwell Banker found that staged homes realized on average a 6.4% increase over the list price, and another claims that a HUD survey found that staged homes sell for an average of 17.9% higher than unstaged homes!  But unfortunately I was never able to find the actual study to verify either of those numbers.  So, while it makes sense that staging can boost a property’s sales potential, it’s hard to quantify by exactly how much.
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CastleView is a verb!

Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D:
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At a party celebrating my recent leap into full-time entrepreneurship, a friend  suggested that one of my goals in building my business should be to make the name of the business synonymous with the product.  In other words, I should aspire to be the defining standard in the 3D rendering business — to become such a known and trusted quantity that people would use the name of the business to refer not only to MY product, but to the entire class of similar products.

Great examples of this abound:

  • kleenex
  • jello
  • band-aid
  • popsicle
  • post-it
  • velcro
  • q-tips
  • frisbee

Frisbee

What else would you call these things?

But there are also company names that go beyond being merely synonymous with a product — they have become familiar verbs:

  • Google (“I just googled myself.”)
  • Xerox (“Could you xerox this for me?”)
  • Facebook (“I’m facebooking that photo right now!”)

or the curious case of

Spam

My friend suggested that CastleView 3D should aim to become not only a noun synonymous with 3D rendering — as in, “does your contractor provide castleviews?” — but also a verb:

I’m thinking of remodeling my kitchen.

How exciting!  Have you castleviewed it yet?

His suggestion made me smile — as it was intended to.  But it also got me thinking… hey, why not?

I wonder if Google or Xerox ever imagined that their company names would become common verbs?


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“Leap and the net will appear”

By Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D | Like CastleView 3D on Facebook

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leap and the net will appear

Today I make my big leap.  I’m trusting that the zen wisdom in the quote above will prove true.

I’ve been employed in the field of higher education full time (sometimes MORE than full-time) pretty much without a break for almost 25 years. Working in higher ed has been rewarding in many, many ways.  There’s a lot to be said for the professional challenges and stimulating intellectual colleagues of academe — not to mention the steady paychecks, health benefits, paid vacations, holidays, sick time, generous contributions to retirement accounts, etc., etc.

But today I choose to leave all that behind.  Today is my last day of job security.  Today I leap into the world of entrepreneurship. After a lifetime of working for other people, as of tomorrow I will officially be self-employed (which some people seem to think is a euphemism for UNemployed).  As you can imagine, I have very mixed feelings about all of this.

It’s not a complete leap of blind faith, however.  I’ve put 4 years into preparing for this drastic life change.  I have plans in place, some big dreams, and an exit strategy, if it comes to that.  So I’ve created my own net, of sorts.  But it still feels like a leap into the unknown.

Butterfly on Lilac BlossomPeople tell me that it takes guts to walk away from the field I spent 8 years training for and most of my adult life working in. I seem brave to some, foolhardy to others.  I may have guts, but my guts have butterflies.

But I’m also very excited, because I have found my passion, work that fascinates and challenges and sustains me like no other.  And just as important for an INFP like me, I believe in its potential to add value to people’s lives.  Embarking on a building or remodeling project can be a big question mark — a big EXPENSIVE question mark — and my visualization and rendering services can help provide a bit more security and peace of mind in a process fraught with tension and uncertainty.

So let the new adventure begin.  I’m ready to leap.


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