Monday, March 21, 2011

AutoCAD, SketchUP and Shaderlight

I spent the last month seriously debating Softplan, and I almost bought it... While browsing the internet for what I consider the most professional looking rendering (as per my taste) I have decided to stay with SketchUP  and  AutoCAD with a plugin. This is a good time to throw in the fact that all of these programs run on Mac and PC, with Mac being a leap I plan to make here soon.

In my eTravels searching for the "look" I admire most, I found Shaderlight. This is plugin for SketchUP. It is so easy to take a floor plan or elevation from AutoCAD ( $900.00 for LT) throw it into SketchUP  (FREE) and run Shaderlight in SketchUP (FREE) Take a look at the examples of the renderings shared from everyone in posts above and then look at what shaderlight can do with a sketchUP drawing. I was floored, and even more amused when I tried it on one of my previous SketchUP projects.

I love to invent, draw my ideas, furniture and other crazy ideas I dream up daily. I do not want to be tied down to an expensive program that only draws house plans. ($3185.00 )

The only flaw in my plan is not being able to kick out a detailed material list.  This was a major factor I considered.  If anyone knows of an alternative, I would appreciate your input.

UPDATE 2015:

After looking at what can be done with Lumion 3D, I switching to a different rendering program. Shaderlight does not seem to be customer friendly and has not advanced in features. Lumion has an extensive library and works with multiple programs. I have decided to start using Revit, along with SketchUp Pro. Lumion will work with both programs.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Building a fish tank into an existing wall

The original fish tank & stand restricted the room to a smaller dining are. Building the tank into the wall allowed for storage at the opposite wall and a means to hide the wires, filters and equipment. Picture framing the opening almost seemed to transform a tank of water into a piece of art. You see here how the simple pine picture frame conceals the spaces around the tank with out having to frame the tank in tight space. A single silicon caulk bead allows the trim to look as if the tank was sized for the opening.Remember that houses and glass move over time and during temperature change. Be sure to size the rough opening for the tank to allow movement. We held two inches at the top and sides which should be sufficient. Remember to check with an Architect or Engineer before cutting into walls and adding weight to your floor system.
fish tank in wall 3
The finished project. This built in project was a fun and easy job for the most part. I recommend you consult a local professional to size headers for bearing walls and Electrical should be GFI. To make cleaning easier we plan to run water and drainage to the area.
fish tank in wall 4

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Solar Farm Project

Fox Design Studio is currently working with Fields Construction on the design of several Solar Farms. I have included a rendering of a test farm currently being built and run at Fields Construction headquarters where they are testing several various panels / brands for efficiency versus cost and footprint. For more information, please email me at

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Green,post and beam home

I am posting this Post and Beam floor plan / house plan on my blog as an example of how simple architecture can prove to be difficult. The client realises the benefit of a well designed, passive solar, energy efficient home however their need for space makes this project a bit difficult. We need to tie a HUGE garage and workshop into a modest simple while maintaining a design that looks as if it were always there, in one with the natural surroundings..... This is coupled with the steep slope, the clients wish of minimal roof lines, a magnificent northern view and the need for maximum free passive solar heat in this cold north east climate. This Post and Beam floor plan that meets all of these requirements. I meet with the client Saturday and will post their reaction.