In case you don’t already know (since I’ve told virtually everybody I know and posted it on every social network site I’m involved with), I had the privilege of being included in a story in the New York Times in the Home Section last Thursday: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/garden/computer-programs-help-users-bypass-the-architect.html?_r=1&ref=stevenkurutz . The title of the piece was called “Skipping the Architect: Wise or Otherwise” by reporter Steven Kurutz. If you read the article, you’ll see that I of course tend toward “otherwise.”
The story was based on the premise that there are a lot of sophisticated software available to the public now so that anybody who can maneuver a mouse can also design a house. With a little ingenuity and practice, software has become so sophisticated yet affordable that you can draw stuff that looks fabulous. My premise was that just because you can draw great stuff, doesn’t mean it can or should be built. I should know –I draw great stuff.
The story goes on to tell of my woes as I experienced the actual construction of the subject of my drawings for my own home remodel. Yes, you can draw just about anything —even in 3D. What is scary is that the software has become so sophisticated and realistic that it can fool you. Some things just don’t show up in photo-realistic renderings… like the shear wall that I had to have built to make up for the one I took out to create a doorway at an additional unexpected cost of about 5K.
While there are many capable people out there who are willing to do their homework to be able to create a set of working drawings and design their own spaces, there are reasons why architects and designers invest years and years to learn their craft. Aside from making a living drawing stuff, they learn a lot about design aesthetics (it should be beautiful), economics (the cost savings possible when making good design choices, resale value, best bang for your buck), and last but certainly not least –safety issues (it complies with building codes so your house won’t land on your head).
So how did lil’ o me on the California central coast end up in the New York Times? I asked Mr. Kurutz and he said he basically Googled Chief Architect and my name popped up. I’m assuming it’s due to past blog posts I’ve written about using Chief that included my renderings. Next thing I knew there was a phone interview followed by a nice photographer who showed up at my door last Sunday to take pictures of me and my kitchen.
This all seemed very random and a bit surreal. I Googled every one involved just to be sure they all were who they said they were …and sure ‘nough, they were the real deal. Newspaper deadlines being what they are, this all happened very fast. So there you go… one more of the really strange and wonderful experiences I’ve had since joining the throngs of social networking bloggers who design kitchens… Now if I could just make a living at this, all would be well. If you know anyone who needs fabulous design renderings of their future kitchen, please send them my way.