The team at Lake + Land Studio, LLC, has won first place in the Chief Architect Residential Design Contest with their charming Walnut Cottage. The home’s quaint features like a wrap-around porch, exposed rafters, and exterior trim details conjure thoughts of rest and relaxation.
Located in South Mississippi, and operating since 2015, Lake + Land Studio focuses primarily on designing lake houses, boathouses, and retreats. They operate as a small business and take great pride in each project they design. They believe in designing spaces that are inspiring, resonate with their clients, and evoke a sense of calmness.
We pride ourselves in creating unique, one of a kind designs for every client we work with.”
Lake + Land Studio, LLC
“Every time we are able to walk our clients through their future home or project with Chief Architect 3D Software, it’s a success. Many of our clients are not visual. Chief Architect helps bridge the gap between the 2D floor plan and grasping what the finished project will look like. We hear constant feedback on how impressive the capabilities of being able to see the scale of the spaces, customize materials, try different cabinet configurations, etc. We are able to save them so much headache and heartache in the design phase vs. going through a change-order process in the field. Being able to offer the 3D aspect for our projects has truly set us apart from our peers.”
“We’ve been designing with Chief Architect software since 2010. We do high-end residential design, and we felt this software best optimized our needs for a program to design residential structures.
“Our Partners Luke Sippel and Bill Holloway were already using Chief Architect from their previous employer. Luke Sippel originally starting using Chief Architect in 2010 and trained exclusively through online training videos, Chief Talk Professional Forum, and the Reference Manual. We now employ 5 staff who all utilize Chief Architect daily.”
See more renderings of the Walnut Cottage plan below.
We’re inspired by the feelings of harmony with Lake + Land Studio’s designs. It’s an honor to share their story and we’ll look forward to seeing more of their work!
Taking inspiration from a broad spectrum of influences, Rene’s goal is to draw you in, make you feel welcome, and spark intrigue.
By Kerry Hansen
Based out of Oakland, California, Rene Rabbitt has global reach with extensive experience working with people and projects all over the world. As a freelance Designer and Draftsperson, Rene offers a broad scope of services and experience, including but not limited to architectural and structural plan sets, Chief Architect training, and both residential and commercial rendering.
Rene began designing years ago when he was a General Contractor. “I once worked with a terminally-ill client whose only goal was to recreate her mother’s kitchen to a tee. After several iterations of attempting to achieve her goals through typical “spec design”, the space was still not reflecting what she remembered. It became clear that we needed to rethink our process. It was then that I discovered Chief Architect, through which I was able to help the client visualize and reflect every precise detail from memory. That kitchen still stands today and serves as an incredibly special homage to something that truly defined what design, to this day, means to me.”
…I discovered Chief Architect, through which I was able to help the client visualize and reflect every precise detail…
Rene has been using Chief Architect for over twelve years. According to Rene, “the differentiator with Chief lies in its simplicity and pliability specific to residential design.” You will often find Rene adding his renderings to the gallery or offering up advice on the ChiefTalk professional forum.
The differentiator with Chief lies in its simplicity and pliability specific to residential design.
Rene’s inspiration is drawn from a broad spectrum of mediums, individuals, and places. The first being his “designer wife, Kelley and her innate ability to tell a story through design.” His biggest Chief Architect success story happened when his wife’s favorite artist, Taylor Swift came to town.
“I needed those tickets to surprise her. I fired up Chief Architect, hunted down the blueprints of the stadium where Taylor was set to perform, and even found a CAD drawing of Taylor’s exact stage layout. What better way to choose a concert seat than to build the venue in 3D? I proposed to my wife in the morning with that concert as a surprise in the evening – she said yes, so I would consider that a pretty decent success.”
Other professional influences include the 1995 Gold Medal recipient, for a lifetime of distinguished achievement in architecture from the American Institute of Architects, “Cesar Pelli and his residential works; Ramon Zancanaro’s insane renderings; Winy Maas for his vision, his upside-down/sideways approach, and his use of color; and Bali, Indonesia with its stunning people, culture and landscapes.”
Rene’s goal in design is to push the boundaries of the particular style he is working with. Light-play, with its opacity, sheen, and movement, has always been a focus in his work. The goal is to draw the viewer in, make them feel welcome, and spark intrigue. The most important outcome for any project is to have the client feel like they are actively designing through the designer’s hands. “When I’m done, you should feel like you designed it yourself.”
We’d like to send our sincere thanks to Rene for sharing his story with us about all of the ways Chief Architect has impacted his life both professionally and personally. Take a look at more of Rene’s inspiring work below.
Contact Rene Rabbitt on ChiefTalk or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rene uses Thea, Photoshop, and Procreate to enhance his Chief Architect renderings.
How do remodeling professionals capture as-built measurements? Paper, Napkin, App, or Laptop software? Chief Architect software surveyed remodelers and found 75% measure as-built homes by hand using paper and pencil. The compounding effects of repetition have made this an efficient process. If the system works, why change?
What is an As-Built plan?
The As-Built plan refers to the original condition of the house before remodeling. Remodeling projects and home additions start with as-built measurements, also called red-line drawings or record drawings. It’s vital to map out the as-built plan as precisely as possible.
In August 2019,
Chief Architect surveyed over 50 remodelers asking three key remodeling
3) What is your biggest need for Remodeling software?
1. For Remodeling Projects, how do you get your As-Built Measurements?
75% of remodelers measure as-built homes by hand using paper and pencil from the survey responses. Less than 8% use software. Reasons people are not using software vary, but many cite the efficiency of using technology at a client’s home.
There are many specialty apps designed to capture as-built measurements, the majority of people are still finding the most success with taking these measurements by hand and then later importing them into their remodeling software. Remodelers can simply do it faster on paper than struggling with a tablet app and they want to avoid being in a client’s home any longer than necessary. A detailed checklist for as-built measurements helps to avoid missing key information. You will find an As-Built Checklist below from David Heimann.
Respondents said they have tried one or more of the various mobile applications designed specifically for capturing as-built measurements. The overwhelming consensus seems to be that these apps can be frustrating because they cannot model real-life remodel conditions, such as misaligned walls, multiple stories, vaulted ceilings, etc. In fact, Chief Architect discontinued its own Room Planner app because it lacked the sophistication of Chief Architect’s desktop version. And now that laptops, such as the Microsoft Surface, are easily portable and work with Bluetooth lasers, remodelers have access to Chief Architect’s most powerful software for as-built measurements and conditions.
2. Do you import As-Built Measurements into Chief Architect Software?
Just over 30% of respondents that use software for As-Built measurements import it into Chief Architect. Many manually input the measurements due to compatibility, such as files that are created as images, pdfs or proprietary formats.
3. What is your biggest need for Remodeling software?
The most commonly cited request for remodeling software is help to isolate the “as-built” from “new” in a remodel project. In the construction drawings, people want to show walls that will be removed or how a new addition will be overlaid on the home. Some building departments may require the as-built overlay. A similar overlay in 3D could help the remodeler show the client how the new project compares to the current as-built. Chief Architect’s reference display can accomplish both of these tasks for overlaying an as-built in 2D & 3D – you can see how in this summary video.
Architect, we’re always striving to keep up with the latest trends in the
remodeling industry, so that we can provide the best remodeling software
available. Remodeling software enhancements are an important focus which is why
we asked the survey questions and we will continue to ‘remodel’ our software.
Thank you to our customers who took the time to answer the survey questions!
Leave a comment below to let us know how you’re capturing your as-built
How-to resources on remodeling using Chief Architect software
Learn how to configure a Leica wireless Bluetooth laser meter with Chief Architect to help improve your as-built capture process
Learn to use reference display to show as-built, demo and new construction components in plan views and 3D views
Have you ever spent hours on-site only to get home to your drafting table or software to realize that you’re missing key information or measurements? The table below was provided to us from David Heimann at East Wind Designs.
Checklist for Capturing As-Built - Exterior
Take Pictures of Exterior Elevations
Take Pictures of Exterior Perspectives
Take Pictures of Site, Lot, Terrain, Vegetation
Exterior Wall Thickness
Siding Material and Size
Ext. Window and Door Trim Material and Size
Locate all Ext. windows and doors
Locate Utilities, Meter Location, Electric (overhead, bury, etc.)
Foundation Type, Size, Height Above Grade
Roof Pitch and Material
Sketch Elevations (Exterior)
Sketch Perimeter of Building or Dimension Google Earth Image
Site plan- Google Earch, MTCADASTRAL, Survey, etc.
Locate and Dimension as Needed to Fill in Missing Info
Decks- Locate on Sketch, Note Railing Height, Spacing, Height above Grade and Related to Subfloor
Exterior Stairs, Locate on Sketch, Note Riser Height and Tread
Checklist for Capturing As-Built - Interior
Take Pictures of Interior Elevations
Take Pictures of Ceilings
Take Pictures of Floors
Interior Wall Thickness
Interior Wall Finish (Gyp. Bd, Plaster, etc.)
Sketch Floor Plan
Locate Interior Doors, Note Sizes on Sketch
Interior Door and Window Trim (Size, Material, Finish, Window Coverings)
Base trim (Size, Material and Finish)
Crown Molding (Size, Material and Finish)
Flooring Type (Per Room, Note on Sketch)
Fireplace-Locate and Detail on Sketch
Vaulted Ceilings- Which Room, Height at Peak
Ceiling Height(s), Note on Sketch Per Room
Cabinets (Locate, Describe and Detail on Sketch)
Stairs-Locate on Sketch, Note: Rise, Run, Tread and Riser Height
Checklist for Capturing As-Built - Electrical and Plumbing Fixtures, HVAC
Gabriele Pizzale designs spaces that reflect the people who enjoy them, perfectly tailored down to the last detail.
“Gabriele Pizzale is the founder and principal designer of Pizzale Design Inc. in Oakville, Canada. She graduated with a degree in Fashion Design from Ryerson University in Toronto and then started her firm 25 years ago. Gabriele is known for creating spaces that are, above all, fashionable. Her love of fabrics and meticulous detail is always evident in her designs, as is her talent for mixing colors and patterns to create perfectly curated spaces. In the realm of interior design, she is known as the Queen of Colour.”
“Gabriele is always eager to learn new things. She purchased Chief Architect software over 18 years ago and taught herself how to use it. One day she hit the camera button by accident and it changed her life! The 3D option was a revelation. Now that this feature was revealed, she took the online tutorials and live course. This has quite literally changed her business. Showing clients what their space will look like before it is built is a magical tool!”
Chief Architect has quite literally changed my business. Showing clients what their space will look like before it is built is a magical tool!
Gabriele Pizzale, Pizzale Design Inc.
Gabriele recently placed first in the August 2019, Chief Architect Remodel and Addition Contest with her Oakville, Ontario condominium remodel. “The wishlist from the client was to upgrade their existing space with a transitional style and offer more space to socialize. Utilizing their large windows and fireplace, along with an addition to expand their existing space, we focused on maximizing their current space with an open concept layout between the kitchen and living room setting. It was also important to focus on the small details by incorporating custom pieces such as the pillows, drapery, and millwork with an integrated built-in bench under the window.”
We are thrilled to be a part of Gabriele’s design process. Thank you to Gabriele and her team for sharing your story with the Chief Architect community. View more elegant interior designs from Gabriele of Pizzale Design Inc. below.
By Adam Gibson, Architectural Designer, CMKBD, CLIPP, CAPS
There’s a growing need to make homes safer and healthier with thoughtful elements that don’t compromise aesthetics.
Many of us use assistive devices that have become part of our everyday lives, things we consider normal… take glasses and hearing aids, for instance. Why not take this same approach when designing a home?
Baby boomers are retiring at an astonishing rate, creating issues not often addressed. Aside from them, many families have specific needs (outside of age) for features embedded in design. We are doing them a disservice if we don’t educate ourselves, and in doing so, them, on how to contribute to their health and welfare.
Here are some common aging in place design considerations
Contrasting tile colors are proven to help people with vertigo by giving them a horizon line in the shower. That horizon line should be about five feet above the floor. It could be several rows of accent tile, or even contrasting tiles.
Have towel bars serve as grab bars
How many have had their children accidentally pull a towel bar out of the wall? Keep this quiet, but I’m a grown man and have done it. The bathroom floor can get pretty slippery. We’ll grab the closest thing to steady ourselves. Why not have every towel bar serve as a grab bar? Grab bars can be beautiful, not like the ones in public restrooms. Most decorative hardware manufacturers also make designer grab bars. Obviously, they have to be installed correctly. Not so obviously, that doesn’t necessarily mean into studs or solid blocking. Check out companies like Wingits and Moen for installing bars the right way. How can you know you haven’t created a crack in the stud or blocking when fastening those monster screws? You don’t want to find out by an emergency room call from your 250-pound client.
Design vanities to incorporate varying heights
When designing a vanity, why not incorporate varying heights? This enables someone to be seated or standing, accommodating for a wheelchair or seat if it’s more comfortable.
Have doors open out
Here is an unfortunate scenario: Grandpa visits and falls in the bathroom against the door. You can’t get to him because the door opens into the room, so you have to call paramedics and you hope they arrive in time. A door that swings out would have saved time by providing immediate access. We know shower doors must always open out.
No-barrier shower entry
Speaking of showers, a curbless, or “beach entry” shower used to be seen as a luxury but is now common. There’s rarely a reason to step over a curb to enter a shower. This feature also allows access for a wheelchair or other supportive device. Schluter, True Dek, and many others provide systems that require little floor framing modifications.
Lever-style door handles
More people are gravitating to lever-style door handles for their aesthetics. They’re also better than doorknobs for those with trouble gripping, especially the elderly and very young. A healthy adult with slippery hands may grab the handle and lose their balance, almost falling as their hand slides off. For the elderly or those with special needs, this is even more common.
This could be prevented by specifying a lever with a return. The return can catch the hand before slipping off. A lever also reduces the risk of the handle catching one’s clothing.
Never place a microwave above a cooktop
One more safety concern and also a pet peeve: Why place a microwave above a cooktop if you don’t have to? First, there is never enough ventilation, even on the off chance that it’s actually vented to the outside. If it is, it’s probably only 150 CFM, which in my opinion is severely lacking. More importantly, when you have a vertically challenged person or a child removing extremely hot liquid reaching above shoulder level, possibly above a hot element, there’s an accident you can count on.
Exterior doors with flush thresholds
Many door manufacturers now offer exterior doors with flush thresholds so people with a walker or wheelchair can enter without stumbling. All interior doors can be framed for a 36” door, but by extending the bottom plate and infilling the studs for a standard-sized door, and with judicious electrical placement, a wheelchair-width door can be installed in a matter of hours.
With 74.9 million baby boomers, and most planning to live in their homes long-term, clients will appreciate the longevity of your plan.
Stack closets for future elevator
Why not plan ahead and stack closets above one another for a future elevator? With 74.9 million baby boomers, and most planning to live in their homes long-term, clients will appreciate the longevity of your plan. An aside: If you specify a residential elevator, they have a typical swing door on each level and an accordion door in the elevator car. Kids can get trapped between what’s sometimes a 5-inch gap. Always specify a space guard on each door at each level. It’s not expensive and will save lives. If you have a client with an existing elevator, refer them to this article.
These are just a few items to incorporate into our plans. There are many more. I encourage designers and builders to check out the Living in Place Institute for tips on how to address the needs not just of those who want to age in their homes, but anyone with requirements outside the norm. For me, it’s been great to confront issues with aesthetically pleasing solutions for homeowners and their visitors alike.
Adam Gibson is an architectural designer living in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer, Living-in-Place Professional, and Aging-in-Place Specialist. He’s been leveraging Chief Architect software for his business since 1995.
Brent Julius’ 1st place modern lake house in the Chief Architect Residential Design Contestis a stunning example of turning clients dreams into reality.
“I started designing while in college as an architectural student. Shortly after, I worked at an architectural firm learning a lot about the construction and design industry. A few years later, I transitioned to a job specializing in residential design. It was there that I started using Chief Architect. Fast forward a few more years. I now own a residential design firm, 605 Drafting + Design.
“I have been using Chief Architect for 8 years. Influenced by the user-friendliness and capability to help clients visualize their homes, it was a no-brainer to use Chief Architect over other design software.”
Chief Architect has helped me successfully assist in the new construction, remodel, and renovation projects for over 200 clients.
Brent is a very talented designer and we’re grateful to have him in the Chief community! You can see more from 605 Drafting + Design on their website here.
If you’d like to learn how to create design options for your clients, like Brent has demonstrated below, check out our training video on the process…
“Born and raised in Elwood, Indiana, just north of Indianapolis, I knew from a young age that residential architecture and construction were what I wanted to do.
My first design project, to layout a new home for my family, took place in an advanced drafting class at Elwood High School. Working with the drafting instructor, and a local architect, that I ended up interning with, I created a set of plans and we built the home the next summer.
“I was fortunate enough to attend the University of South Florida for architecture school and to work in the greater Tampa Bay area for a while before returning to Indiana. Martin Design & Planning was started in 2004.
“During downturns in the building industry, I have kept busy teaching algebra in high school, and also worked in the engineering department for Chrysler. I am always drawn back to design and creating construction documents.”
I have two American Residential Design Awards on my resume, both won using Chief Architect Software.
“I have two American Residential Design Awards on my resume, both won using Chief Architect Software, and hope to add another this year! One of the winning designs is currently featured on the Chief Architect Samples Gallery. With one son at Ball State University, one in High School, and one entering Jr. High School, I will need to keep designing for many years to come!
“This project, I love!” The client wanted the look and feel of a New England coastal home, complete with multiple decks and patios. You can find homes like these all along the Eastern coast. The only catch was that this is Indiana. The client didn’t want an overdone kitchen or extravagant baths. They wanted to invest in the details that made their home feel exactly the way that they wanted it to feel. The design includes lots of stonework, shake siding, plenty of outdoor spaces, and a functional floor plan with convertible flex spaces that allow them to change as their needs change.
“I love the results, and so does the client!”
Thank you, Joey, for sharing your stunning New England Coastal style home design. For more information about Joey Martin and his design and planning firm, find them on Facebook at Martin Design & Planning.
Take a closer look here at the full plan set for this home.
With a long history of experience in construction, Todd Wilderman creates a top design in Chief Architect’s Residential Design Contest.
“I started doing residential drafting at about the age of 12. My father was an industrial arts teacher at the local high school but drew plans on the side to supplement a meager teacher’s salary. I walked by his drawing table one day and said: “I could do that, doesn’t look that hard”. The next day, there was another drawing table in the room and I had a garage plan to draw.
“After that, I eventually went on to do many other things… construction trades, sign-making, welding, and carpentry. I also managed to get a BA in Art with studies in Math and Physics, a Construction Management certificate, a diploma in Surveying, and a Masters in Architecture.
“I started my own design company, Wilderman Designs, LLC in 1990. I started out drawing everything by hand, then I ‘graduated to CAD’.
“I was always frustrated with the CAD because it was limited in 3D designing. Also, I felt like software should be able to do the more mundane things (like dimensioning) in a more automated fashion.
“I had experience with DataCAD, AutoCAD, Revit, Rhino, etc. but it seemed to me that Chief Architect was a better solution for me since I focus on residential design. I find the software relatively easy to learn and usually very user-friendly. I say this from of perspective of NOT being a computer-type guy.”
…Chief helps me get it done faster. I think it probably has reduced my drafting time to about 30% of what it used to take.
“I like that I can do everything 3D, all the time. The fact that I can send clients the 3D model to browse on their own time, helps me find more time to do other things and the designs get communicated more clearly and more quickly. Changes are usually quick and easy, and the client is generally more satisfied with the direction of the design from the first rendition.
“I have a pretty steady workflow of about 15-25 jobs at a time and Chief helps me get it done faster. I think it probably has reduced my drafting time to about 30% of what it used to take.”
More from Todd
We’d like to thank Todd for taking the time to share his journey with us and our community!
We were happy to learn about how he’s leveraging the use of the Chief Architect 3D Viewer! If you’re interested in sending your clients 3D models to browse on their own time, like Todd has mentioned he’s doing, you can learn more about sharing Chief Architect 3D Viewer models here.
Chief Architect Design Contests are a fun way to share your designs, build credibility and expose your brand. Share one of your Kitchen/Bath or Interior Designs for a chance to win Chief Gear. Use any Chief Architect or Home Designer software product to create your original design.
Chief Architect Software is a leading developer and publisher of 3D Architectural home design software for builders, designers, architects and home DIY enthusiasts.
What our Customers are Saying
Thank you, Chief Architect!!!
I use Chief Architect software exclusively in my design business. I started out with CA Home Designer Pro, used that for two years, then “graduated” to the full-blown Chief Architect software. The structure and platform of all their products is… identical so, moving up to the next, greater version is SO comfortable! I’m getting raves about the work I’m doing – thank you, Chief Architect!!! Read more “Thank you, Chief Architect!!!”
William Haigh Design
A very powerful tool
I am an interior design professional who has been using Chief Architect software for my business since 2010. The software is a very powerful tool I use on all my projects and allows me to create detailed plans, elevations and… very impressive 3D renderings for my clients. The software has taken time to learn, but the support from Chief is quick and helpful, and the tools including videos and online forums also very helpful. Read more “A very powerful tool”
The best home design software we’ve ever used! Finally, a program that works or “thinks” like a designer as opposed to a program for the manufacturer of boxes or materials. Great quality renderings too.
We use Chief Architect every single day and it is an absolutely indispensable part of our business. The ability to show a client, with extreme accuracy, what a space will look like before the work has even begun is everything.
Since we have been using Chief Architect, we have been able to give our customers a complete visual of what we proposed for their project, as well as, boost our credibility, our sales, and our overall profit for all projects… we have sold. Thank you Chief Architect for a great program. Read more “Thank you Chief Architect for a great program.”
Our favorite software. I have been using chief for about 6 years now, I believe I started in x4. Chief was the clear choice for architectural design and plan sets, with its import and export into other CAD and BIM-based… products, its extensive catalogs, its massive collection of support articles, bustling internet forums and decent rendering abilities. There is no other software on the market that is as user-friendly, capable and fast. We’ve recently started using Chief Architect for market advertisements as well as importing into high-end visual video walkthrough software such as Lumion. We’re quite happy with Chief’s versatility and ever-expanding features. Read more “Our favorite software”
I’ve had great results using this software. I started with Home Designer Pro and then moved to Chief Architect Premier. I really like the way the software is set up, it’s much easier to use than other products. My clients… love the 3D renderings and I know it’s helped me get new projects. Great job Chief Architect team! Read more “Great job Chief Architect team!”
We're so pleased that you were able to attend the 2019 Chief Architect Training Academy.
#ChiefSpotlightWoah -- take a look at this 360 panoramic view of a kitchen rendering our Head of Design, Stephanie, created at day 1 of a 2-Day Chief Architect training conference! I think we'll be creating a lot more of these. We love improvements in virtual technologies! ... See MoreSee Less