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From Design to Completion… Lay it Out to Get Ahead

If you are a handyman, contractor, or house flipper, you can always get ahead of yourself by designing your projects in a program like Sketchup (formerly Google Sketchup) prior to beginning your work. I’ll give you a couple of examples of how I use this technique below.

Typically I will use Sketchup prior to owning a property, or prior to getting approval from the person I am working for (my wife).  The window seat bookcase below demonstrates the technique.  We purchased a property (0ur cottage project) and since we are in NY, had about 60 days from the time we went under contract and the time we closed on the property.  This time can be used wisely.  Most contractors will have other work occupying that time, but there are certainly rain days, or sick days, where sitting at a computer is not a burden.

The window seat bookcase was designed in a couple of hours.  We took measurements of the window during our home inspection and built the 4 basic boxes used in this design (2 towers, header shelf, seat box) off site.  Designing in Sketchup allowed us to review design options, shelf spacing, and divider spacing.  By doing so, we were able to bring the pieces in, level, fasten, and then work on our face frame that tied everything together.  By doing it off site we were able to utilize our best tools rather than our site table saw, limited clamps, etc.  Click the image to view the full size collage.

Designing in Sketchup before a project begins

The scale used in Sketchup can literally be anything you want.  You could work on a 4mm watch gear, or something the size of the Eiffel tower.

I began using Sketchup years ago when working on a fixer upper house (Garfield Project).  Again, with 60 days until closing, we had plenty of time to plan.  This project was a complete gut job and Sketchup allowed us to test some wall removal, kitchen layouts, flooring choices, transitions, and front elevations.

floorplan garfield

If you have done a fixer (flip) before you know that creating a plan is the key to getting the project done quickly.  You can literally have your demo plan, rough plan, and purchase list complete before you ever close on the property.  This is a huge time saver and will result in a much better finished product since you will be able to focus on the details that will set the property apart from others.

Give Sketchp a try.

By WNY Handyman

WNY Handyman has been renovating property since the mid 1990's. We have done a number of renovation projects over the years and often share our experiences or renovation techniques. We have been in the business of flipping for fun and profit and provide advice based on our experiences.
Our site is geared toward the weekend warrior and the DIY'er. However, it is our experience that many "professional" contractors could use a little advice now and then.

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