GenghisKant

Reconstructing Family Home without Plans

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Boy, do I have a cracker of a project.  And I have no idea where to start.

 

My grandparents family home was the house we all grew up in, we spent countless holidays and weekends at their property.   In 2000, my grandparents sold the property and it was subsequently subdivided into a series of units. We all collectively miss the house, but I have an especially nostalgic view of the house.  In an attempt to perhaps one day, build my own version of the house I attempted to get the original plans for the planning office - only to be told that the owners of the new property must request it.  The trouble being, I'm in the United States, and the house is in a small town in Australia.  I'll attempt to gain favor from the body corporate when I return to Australia on holiday.

 

So, without the plans, I petitioned my family for any and all photos of the house, to try to reconstruct it.  So far, the photos collection is small - but it's growing.  Chief Architect looks like it's more than up to the task, but I'm a complete beginner. I do have two assets that I'm aware of: time and discipline.

 

My question is:

 

How would I even get started on such a task, specifically taking designs from photos and memory, does anyone have advice?

 

All the best,

 

GK.

Exterior1.jpg

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Welcome to the forum.

 

First off, you have two tasks ahead of you:  One - learn to use the software, and Two - try to remember all the little details from the old house.  Believe it or not, the second may be easier than the first, but I would give more weight (as in "importance") to the first for reason being that you will likely remember incorrectly (the memory is funny that way) or you may discover that you want to make upgrades and/or improvements to suit your current or future needs.  Try not to get frustrated, because the software does have a bit of learning curve in order to use it well ... and there are many workarounds to the software limitations where you will need to use creative, out of the box thinking.

 

Watch tutorial videos, read the user/reference manual, read knowledge base articles, and search the forums for answers to the most common questions you will have.  We forum members, like yourself, are just users of the software: we don't work for the software developers, but we most likely will have encountered many of the challenges you will face.  Ask and we'll help to the best of our ability, but in the end, you will need to put forth your own effort to achieve the results you want; the greater the effort, the better the reward.

 

I've done what you're proposing to do, and without plans and actual dimensions, the best you will get is "close enough" - meaning you will need to estimate room (and other item) sizes and then tweak them to where they all fit together.  Start with dimensions that make sense, and see where it goes from there.

 

Good luck. :)

 

p.s.  It will be helpful if you would put your software title and version in your signature so that you don't have to tell us over and again in each post, and so that we can provide you with the most accurate suggestions for your software title; not all titles/versions are equally capable.

 

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Do you have any family or friends in the area that could take pictures?

 

Have you checked Google for images?

 

Recreating plans from memory can be a challenge, especially for one who did not live in the house. It looks like it is multiple floors, which makes things even more difficult.

 

You mentioned Chief Architect, and this is the Home Designer (by the Chief Architect company) forum. If you are considering one of the Home Designer titles, then this is the correct spot.

 

 

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29 minutes ago, Elovia said:

Welcome to the forum.

 

First off, you have two tasks ahead of you:  One - learn to use the software, and Two - try to remember all the little details from the old house.  Believe it or not, the second may be easier than the first, but I would give more weight (as in "importance") to the first for reason being that you will likely remember incorrectly (the memory is funny that way) or you may discover that you want to make upgrades and/or improvements to suit your current or future needs.  Try not to get frustrated, because the software does have a bit of learning curve in order to use it well ... and there are many workarounds to the software limitations where you will need to use creative, out of the box thinking.

 

Watch tutorial videos, read the user/reference manual, read knowledge base articles, and search the forums for answers to the most common questions you will have.  We forum members, like yourself, are just users of the software: we don't work for the software developers, but we most likely will have encountered many of the challenges you will face.  Ask and we'll help to the best of our ability, but in the end, you will need to put forth your own effort to achieve the results you want; the greater the effort, the better the reward.

 

I've done what you're proposing to do, and without plans and actual dimensions, the best you will get is "close enough" - meaning you will need to estimate room (and other item) sizes and then tweak them to where they all fit together.  Start with dimensions that make sense, and see where it goes from there.

 

Good luck. :)

 

p.s.  It will be helpful if you would put your software title and version in your signature so that you don't have to tell us over and again in each post, and so that we can provide you with the most accurate suggestions for your software title; not all titles/versions are equally capable.

 

Thank you so much!

 

For the time being, I'll focus on learning the software.   I think, honestly, I want it to "feel" like the original, not neccessarily to be a replica, I shall add specs to my signature, also.

 

Many thanks again,

 

GK

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37 minutes ago, solver said:

Do you have any family or friends in the area that could take pictures?

 

Have you checked Google for images?

 

Recreating plans from memory can be a challenge, especially for one who did not live in the house. It looks like it is multiple floors, which makes things even more difficult.

 

You mentioned Chief Architect, and this is the Home Designer (by the Chief Architect company) forum. If you are considering one of the Home Designer titles, then this is the correct spot.

 

 

 

The original house unfortunately has been demolished, so I can't rally the family to go invite themselves in with a tape-measure (don't I wish!)

 

Thanks for the ideas though, I'll do a thorough Google Search.

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I'm a mechanical designer and nearly all of my designs start out as a simple hand sketch. Get yourself a pad of 1/4" grad. graph paper and a handful of pencils, and start sketching the floor layout, using your memory and photos as a guide. The longer you work at it, the more of it will come. Once you get a basic layout, along with some rough dimensions, THEN start looking into learning the software. Don't worry about the exterior until after you start working with the software. As long as you know the style of the house, and have a basic floor layout, the exterior will follow. Be sure to share the progress with the rest of the family as you go because they could be a lot of help filling in the blanks.

 

Developing the basic design and learning the software are two completely separate tasks, but both must be mastered. Once you have a plan in mind, that should be the motivation you'll need to learn the CAD program. Above all. have fun! And let us know how it turns out.

 

Tom

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I've also done what you are proposing too, and without plans.


My starting place was my county auditor's property search site, where I found the sketch of the exterior walls/shell of the house, with the dimensions.   You will need to search to find out if Australia offers the same type of public records.


Once I had the exterior walls drawn,  I then did an aerial view of the house...and this helped me to get the roof correct.

 

 From that point,  my memory served me to draw the interior walls for the rooms.
I can now walk through the rooms of my virtual house whenever I want.  This is as close as I will ever get to revisiting the house, because an investment company demolished it several years ago.
As the song lyrics say, "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot".  :(

Center Ridge dimensions.jpg

family home.JPG

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Hi Genghis,

A few of us here are in Oz and as you are well aware it is a big place, but I find that so often, no matter where I go, there is someone that knows someone that knows you. If you give us an address there is a small chance it could dig up some info. Is Google earth/street view any good - it can go back some years.

As for learning to use the software - most of us, I guess, started from a position of little to zero design knowledge and you do learn. My experience you can view at

http://forum.homeone.com.au/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=85625

Probably the first thing to do in getting started is to get a good handle on what the basics of the building were, such as wall type, window style & size, roof material etc. as getting the defaults right at the start will save you a lot of time later on.

Best of luck. Pat

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21 hours ago, TomGriff said:

I'm a mechanical designer and nearly all of my designs start out as a simple hand sketch. Get yourself a pad of 1/4" grad. graph paper and a handful of pencils, and start sketching the floor layout, using your memory and photos as a guide. The longer you work at it, the more of it will come. Once you get a basic layout, along with some rough dimensions, THEN start looking into learning the software. Don't worry about the exterior until after you start working with the software. As long as you know the style of the house, and have a basic floor layout, the exterior will follow. Be sure to share the progress with the rest of the family as you go because they could be a lot of help filling in the blanks.

 

Developing the basic design and learning the software are two completely separate tasks, but both must be mastered. Once you have a plan in mind, that should be the motivation you'll need to learn the CAD program. Above all. have fun! And let us know how it turns out.

 

Tom

Tom,

 

This is a great idea!  And, a tremendous use of graph paper that I have lying around from a recent math class.

 

I shall get started right away!

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4 hours ago, Jo_Ann said:

 

I've also done what you are proposing too, and without plans.


My starting place was my county auditor's property search site, where I found the sketch of the exterior walls/shell of the house, with the dimensions.   You will need to search to find out if Australia offers the same type of public records.


Once I had the exterior walls drawn,  I then did an aerial view of the house...and this helped me to get the roof correct.

 

 From that point,  my memory served me to draw the interior walls for the rooms.
I can now walk through the rooms of my virtual house whenever I want.  This is as close as I will ever get to revisiting the house, because an investment company demolished it several years ago.
As the song lyrics say, "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot".  :(

Center Ridge dimensions.jpg

family home.JPG

 

I had concentrated on the actual plans from the local council, who will only release original plans to the owners or the owners corporation (similar to a Homeowners Association stateside).  I'm going to try to leverage (read as: plead with) the owners corporation to let me have the plans.

 

That's such a great story that you managed to get the house drawn up, that gives me such hope.

 

How true the words of that famous song are.

 

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2 hours ago, Halcyon said:

Hi Genghis,

A few of us here are in Oz and as you are well aware it is a big place, but I find that so often, no matter where I go, there is someone that knows someone that knows you. If you give us an address there is a small chance it could dig up some info. Is Google earth/street view any good - it can go back some years.

As for learning to use the software - most of us, I guess, started from a position of little to zero design knowledge and you do learn. My experience you can view at

http://forum.homeone.com.au/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=85625

Probably the first thing to do in getting started is to get a good handle on what the basics of the building were, such as wall type, window style & size, roof material etc. as getting the defaults right at the start will save you a lot of time later on.

Best of luck. Pat

 

G'day Pat,

 

I just recently discovered Google's Historical Image feature, Google Earth goes back to 2008, the house was demolished in 2004, unfortunately.

 

It's in Geelong, I still have family in the area, so I might get them to do a drive-by for the body corporate details. to see if I can't get the plans that way.

 

What an awesome story you have, that's so inspiring.  I'm so incredibly impressed!

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Update 1: Land Dimensions

 

I did a little digging, trying to find the local owners association/body corporate and managed to get the size and elevation (I think) of the land parcel that my grandparents lived on and with the subdivision plans, which don't give me anything, except those dimensions.

 

It's not much, but it's a start.

 

Thanks team, I really appreciate all your help, I'll keep you posted.

 

GK.

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