How to change first floor ceiling height of lower floor without affecting upper floors on split level

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hi there
I designed a two story split level house  in HDPro, After a plan change based on cost savings decided to keep the basement as built ceiling height of 82 1/4".
I only want to change the first floor which considsts of, a great room, bath, utility and open/crawl space below area back to ceiling heights of 82.25 on one side of the split. On the other i want to raise the floors by 28 1/4" in the bedroom 1 and closet on the other side of the split. this 28 1/4' reflects the difference between the current height minus the 82 1/4". except the other/upper side room of the first floor are full varying height rooms. a walk through of the uploaded plan will clarify what i am trying to explain.
Initially I had it drawn as such and then edited in the current platform elevations. it is quite apparent that going the oposite way is far more tricky. 
Since the first floor contains different ceiling heights, I over rode the defaults. the 2nd  floor roomson both upper and lower sides are all 8' 7 1/2" (i think?).
Any tips as to how this can be done without changing the 2nd floor attributes would be greatly appreciated.
Yes I should have copied the original before manipulating. (I think I did but might have deleted it in a moment of blindness or confusion around HDPro's save system)
Thanks, Bernard

arthur's stairs main thoroughfare half spiral final.plan

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The correct procedure is to set the ceiling height BEFORE you draw the first floor in "Edit - Default Settings -Floors and Rooms - Current Floor - Ceiling Height". The same is true for the second and third floors, you set their defaults before creating them as above. But when you do not, as probably you have done, then you set the first floor as above, then the second floor, then the third floor, over and over until you settings "stick" (are complied wtih) by the software. When its pre-programmed-expected procedures are flaunted, it seems to resist further change by acting as if it is an opponent (it is not stubborn or an opponent it just works smoother when used as intended by its makers).



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Hi david, thanks for the reply. 

When i started to build this structure, i did use defaults and as the structure developed in order to get the necessary platform height on the bedroom 1 in relation to the garage and also one side of the split levels in relation to the other i deviated from some defaults. 

So i tried to follow somewhat the so called building norm for the program. 

I am assuming that not every buliding is preconceived in every detail and that modifications are in order as relationships are discovered. But it sounds like the way you describe it, is that any deviation from the prescribed order of construction, tolerated by the program creates a situation where it is not possible absorb any changes, at least in this case, to the platform heights. And that the only remedy is to continually rebuild from scratch, when you have discovered relationships in platform heights that are unaccepable. 

This seems a little extreme to me and part of me refuses to believe that the program is so infexible. Ie.  I’m sure there are many instances where remodelling projects require the necessity for trial and error manipulations.  

Since you haven’t offered a different remedy, is this really so? Even if i could figure out how change the basement (great room) back to 82 1/4”, i would be very happy to muddle through and apply the same logic to  the other rooms. 

Okay thanks for your time. 




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You description of what you want to do is confusing, but here are some general ideas.


For your structure, work from the top down. In the structure panel you can change the Ceiling Below value.


It's often easier to remove internal walls so you are dealing with single rooms. Select your walls and use Transform/Replicate to move them away a set distance, then do the reverse to put them back.


I made the second floor, including the porch all one room, then set the floor below ceiling to 84" and made the 2nd floor ceiling the default height.





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Hello solver 

thanks also for your reply. Thanks for the tips also in rectifying the drawing. 

I agree the question is pretty convoluted. I was hoping the uploaded drawing would elucidate. Basically i am trying to make the great room an 82 1/4” unfinished basement. The complication arises because the foundation is all one level (apart from the garage jump up) as built so i am trying to raise bedroom 1’s foundation walls the 28 1/4” to make it flush with the great room’s foundation. 

Pretty simple in theory. All of the other rooms remain at their current elevations. 

I will try your suggestions to see if i can make head nor tails of it. To be honest the time it takes to rectify this might be longer than if i just started from scratch. But i feel it helps in my understanding how the program works. However unintuitive it seems to me. ( not a dig)

okay, thanks again. 


ps. When i get back to my desktop i will upload two elevation drawings to illustrate what i want. 

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You need to use correct terminology if you expect to get good answers.


For example, you refer to the great room as a 'basement', but you have drawn it as floor level1, and a basement (foundation, level 0) is below it.

You said you want bedroom1 floor to be 28"  higher than the great room, and now you are referring to it as 'flush'???

In your plan, the bedroom is set at 44" higher than the great room (instead of 28") ???

Why is the great room floor D ???

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hi Jo-Ann

The actual  building has an 82 1/4" basement. For the remodelling drawing the whole structure was raised to allow for a full 8' 7 1/2' + 2 1/2" for flooring and 3" for a soundproofed ceiling.This was drawn as the first floor and called the "great room". Upon further consideration we decided to not raise the house, not finish the basement ie (turn it in to a great room. So basically revert the drawing to reflect a basement. As I had already drawn it on the 1st floor, I figured I could just raise the floor back to the 82 1/4", minus the floor finish and ceiling sound proofing. I won't bore you with the math.The flush part was not  bedroom 1 being flush with the now reverted basement, but the foundation of the great room and the foundation of the bedroom 1 being flush or at the same elevation. so that 44" you mentioned would diminish by 28 1/4" to 15.75 which technically would put the foundation even along that back wall. So basically i'm trying to undo the great room and return it to an unfinished basement. Incidentally that whole side including the utility room, open space and great room which are all at 82 1/4". The other side where bedroom one and the closet is, is also on floor one. The garage floor elevation (also on floor one) is roughly 13 1/2" (can't remember) above the bedroom/closet. all those floors as well as the second storey floors should remain relatively the same in relationship to each other.It is only the lower floor "basement side that will raise along with the foundation under bedroom 1 in order to make the foundation the same elevation along that back wall. 

That's a lot of words for basically raising the great room 28 1/4" but I hope it is a little clearer. 

thanks for your input.


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Hi david

yes i did watch that video back when i drew this plan. And also again when this latest modification came up. 

So i’m pretty sure that i tried to follow this philosophy to a T bu like i intimated, a split level is different beast and had to deviate from the defaults on the bedroom 1 as it had a lower floor than the garage. 

My question is does this philosophy/ order of build, allow for modification after the fact? 

Solver seems to indicate yes. You have remained non- committed to recommending a fix but more intimate that i should have drawn it according how the program was designed to work as in the instructions in this video. 

Jo-ann is still gathering facts. 

I am merely trying to determine whether it is actually possible to modify/salvage this plan, and if so may be a little pointer in that direction. Seems a shame to start all over just because of this inability to modify what is now “set in stone”. Okay maybe a little bit dramatic. 

By the way, i have looked for the radial button “make same type” and can’t find it in hdpro. Does it exist? Other than chief. 

Dshall had an interesting video on how to create a room within a room. Using in this case perhaps a third story but placed on the basement/ great room i am trying to modify. Perhaps i can replace it with this method? It was a chief video so not sure if hdpro has the same capabilities. 

Thanks for thinking of me anyway. 

I won’t be able to work on this till the weekend as i have to do some real work but i will try all that’s been suggested



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The software is preprogrammed to do what it does. It is predicated upon your initial floor - ceiling height settings you lodge in "Edit - Default Settings - Floors and Rooms - Current Floor - Ceiling Height". After that, the software is preprogrammed to maintain those settings per floor. Lowering the first-floor room via a room specification dialog should be easy and straight forward to do. It is when you wish to raise or lower an upper floor room where the preprogramming comes in. When you lower a second-floor room, it by default lowers the ceiling of the room or spaces below that upper floor room. raising a second-floor room is less problematic in that the floor platform that holds up the second-floor room merely becomes thicker to make up the added distance. Where you get into conflicts is where you try to lower a second or third story room downward, it always drives the preprogramming of the software nuts and should be avoided where possible. I do hope this makes some sense to you. You are dealing with a 3D construct which tries to maintain structural integrity as part of its programming.



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Is this a plan you are still working on?

First, there's no basement to speak of, the foundation height is 37 1/2" not 82 1/4.

You have stairs that lead to the "basement" which is only 37 1/2" high.

What is the reason for Open below on the first floor and the foundation.

Why is there pony walls on the foundation??

Is this the exact layout of the house???

To get to the other rooms from the great room, you have to go thru the Garage.

There's lots of other issue's that this plan has.

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Hello LawB10

Yes this is a plan I am working on. 

You are correct there is no basement to speak of. If I had known when I was still a newbie, I might have drawn that floor on the foundation level.

Initially I had everything on the same level then split the building down the middle and raised one side up. As per the split level video on HdPro site. Added a second floor and stepped it as the first floor. I also tried drawing each level of the split on different floors. Ie. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. But that was a total disaster.

The "open below" was to create a landing at the bottom of the stairs and this in turn is how you would get from bedroom 1 through to the great room. I am not sure what you are referring to about going through the garage but this is not the case. although there is a door that goes from bedroom 1 through the closet then into a potential bathroom space and then to the garage. We were looking to maximize the versatility of separate spaces for perhaps a small apartment. Bedroom 1 actually gets re-purposed to a study in real life and the stairs joins the kitchen upstairs with bedroom 1/now "study" and then through to the basement. 

The pony walls was my attempt to draw the building as it is built,  as the addition will also continue with  the same construction. Ie 6" stem wall on a footing and framed up to the 2nd floor. It seemed simpler doing it this way as opposed to creating a basement below the kitchen, dining room and living room. Apart from of course,  if it creates problems reverting the platform height to the 82 1/4".

The existing as built structure has been expanded to create "arthur's main thoroughfare half spiral plan".

The issues you are referring to may not reflect the copious amounts of time I have spent trying to iron out little incongruities from ground zero. Ground zero being never having worked with Home designer Pro or chief architect for that matter, to learning a whole new language. I drew six different plans in Sketchup free version, learning curve included, in half the time it took to draw this one in HDPro. Some programs are more intuitive than others.  But if you see issues other than the ones I think you may be referring to, I would appreciate you clarifying.

Thanks for the input in any case. BTW here is a work in progress plan of the as built existing floor plan. Again, the "basement" is on the first floor elevation. You will note the unfinished ceiling height is...... you guessed it, 82 1/4'


catheryn and curtis' existing to addition remodel_auto_save_bak.plan

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Hi Solver 

Thanks for the video and the tips. Sorry I didn't notice this before. I will give her a try when I get freed up. 

Do you see a problem with my putting the "basement/Great room on the 1st floor as opposed to the foundation level. Would I get the same attributes Ie. pony wall, framing, finished floor, dropped ceiling, and the deck over a room as in this plan? Does it make a difference when manipulating platform heights? Or are there other considerations to worry about?

Thanks again for the video.


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