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Home Architect Software - Software for the Home Architect

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If you’re tired of trying to sketch out those magnificent home plans of yours on scrap paper, maybe it’s time to take a look at several of the home architect software packages out there today. But, before you get some software, you’ve got to figure out what you want to do. Create working drawings for the builders? No, that’s what Computer Assisted Design (CAD) programs are for. But you can find several other computer programs that will let you create a detailed plan of what you propose for your home.

If you’d simply like to try out a few of your creative ideas, or draw a few simple floor plans, get one of those free drawing or sketching programs to start. Then if you want to add some details, invest in some cheap software that lets you do 3-D models. If you still feel confident, go get the more powerful software that lets you add details like cabinets, colors, and landscaping. Some of the more advanced software will even let you add plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. But, be aware that these added functions do add complexity to the software, and you’ll have work your way through instruction manuals and tutorials before you’ll be able to do the things you’d like to do.

Let’s take a look at a few software packages meant for the home architect. We’ll start with the free ones, and work our way up to the most expensive ones.

DesignWorkshop Lite (FREE) from Artifice
This software program gives you the ability to build 3-D models of landscapes, buildings, and many other structures. You can buy, at a low cost, examples of 3-D structures, tutorials, and documentation. DesignWorkshop Lite will run on:
- Windows: any Pentium PC with 32 MB RAM that runs Windows 95/98/ME/NT/XP/2000, or higher
- Mac: any Macintosh in the Classic environment (OS 9 or higher )

Google SketchUp (FREE) at sketchup.google.com
Google provides you with a free program to draw 3-D images of your design project. You can also find other examples in Google’s “3-D Warehouse” of structures and shapes of all kinds. If your computer can surf the Internet, your computer can run this program.

Home Design Suite from Punch!
Punch! Software offers many home architect programs, ranging from the very cheap to the very expensive — this package is one of the least expensive, but does offer some comprehensive functionality. You can add custom trim to a room, do some layout of plumbing and electrical systems, or design your own windows and doors. The system requirements are:
- Windows: PC with minimum 486 Processor, Windows 95 or higher, 16 MB RAM, 700 MB hard disk space, VGA video card with minimum 16MB Memory
- Mac: Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger or higher

Turbo FLOORPLAN Instant Architect from IMSI
This budget-priced home architect software program lets you draw an elevation, build 3-D scenes, create floor plans, estimate costs, and design outdoor landscapes. It starts you off quickly, and brings you up to speed on all its functions easily. The system requirements are:
- Windows: PC with Windows 2000, XP, or Vista, 500 Mhz processor, 512 MB RAM
- Mac: OS X or higher

Turbo FLOORPLAN Home & Landscape Pro from IMSI
This software is the next step up from Instant Architect. It’s easy for the beginner, but also has simple CAD tools and many other features for advanced designers. This software for the home architect also makes it easy for you to create landscapes, and plan out interior rooms with utilities. The system requirements are:
- Windows: PC with minimum 500 Mhz processor, Windows 2000/XP/Vista, 512 MB RAM
- Mac: OS X or higher

Home Designer Suite from Chief Architect
Originally a Better Homes and Gardens product, this software is now up to version 9.0, and has many sample plans. Plan to spend a lot of time learning this software and watching the tutorial videos. When you’re done, you’ll be able to add extraordinary detail to your own plans
System Requirements:
- Windows: PC with minimum 1.2 GHz processor, Windows XP or Vista, 1 GB RAM, 2 GB free hard drive space
- Mac: Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger or higher

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