Sunday, February 10, 2008

I'm a nerd


As you may know, I'm an engineer. It was about time that I put some of my general skills to use on our home project. So once my brother updated our floor plans with all the relevant dimensions (so that we could give this to the contractors we interviewed), I knew I now had all I needed to make a complete 3D CAD model of our home, one that we can now tour on our computer and get a better perspective for making decisions. I used the freely available Google SketchUp to do the modeling (it's the program that is used to make all of the 3D buildings in Google Earth and Google Maps, if you've seen them). Here are some pics of my model... (click to enlarge)
Some of the exterior colors and textures won't be accurate (I had to choose something), but the physical features and relationships are just as they would be in real life.

What's cool about a virtual model is that you can walk through and discover things you never saw before in the floor plans. For instance, this is a view from the kitchen all the way down into the family room. On the floor plans, it's this... (click to enlarge)
But in the virtual model, it looks like this... (click to enlarge)
I never realized that my brother aligned that window waaaaay at the end with this "hallway" of sorts, and it's a great architectural detail. That window looks out onto the woods, and it's a great way of providing another visual sightline that draws your view outdoors.

If you remember that from the front door you can see straight through the home out to the wetland, you can see that here (looking through the front door to the other side)... (click to enlarge)
Another great thing about having a model like this to play around is the ability to see things that might be re-done to save cost. For instance, in the pic above, the brick that is lining the garage wall to the left of the trees is probably not necessary and it probably wouldn't compromise anything visually to remove it.

Here's a pic of the family room... (click to enlarge)
We're thinking of going with an exposed flue with a prefabricated firebox as I've shown above instead of a brick facade and fireplace. It's a great way to add visual interest while significantly reducing cost. Another thing that I learned in reading all the books I checked out at the library!

Here's a pic of the balcony on the second floor in the back of the house... (click to enlarge)
It will be fantastic to open the doors to the kids' rooms and let them play out there, while having the containment of being fenced-in and upstairs. Great for little kids. Molly can already imagine setting up a chair on a nice summer day.

We most likely won't be able to afford the outdoor patios and the covered walkway and balcony right away, but we'll get them built at some point and look forward to lots of indoor/outdoor activity. I must confess, my men's group and I like to conduct our biweekly meetings, which regard growing in holiness and following Christ, outdoors in the summer evenings... and with the occasional cigar (simply partaking of the Lord's bounty)... and I have had visions of this as well :-)


Molly Koop said...

And the location for cigar smoking will be perfectly situated so the smoke can waft up through our bedroom window. How wonderful. (slightly sarcastic tone) The 3-D model has been fun to "walk" through. All I can say is, "take me to my jacuzzi tub." Actually, the most fascinating part is changing the location of the sun to see how it will shine through different parts of the home during various times of day and seasons of the year. I worried that the kitchen would be too dark, but this model put my fears to rest.

Sarah said...

Have you imagined Aidan vaulting over that balcony rail yet? Especially when there's snow to jump into at the bottom....

Brendan Koop said...

Well, at least it will be a soft landing :-)

Molly Koop said...

I've imagined Aidan doing lots of "adventurous" things in the house. Those long hallways on either side of the dining room/school room/entry into the family room are going to become race tracks, for sure!! I'm hoping that by the time we've moved in, he'll have somewhat outgrown his crazy tenancies, but I guess that's not likely. And we have another boy who seems destined to follow in his brother's footsteps, at least in some respects!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Koop:
Your blog is excellent:
Excuseme: mi inglés no es muy bueno.
Digo que he descubierto su blog y lo he leído hasta el principio. La idea y desarrollo me parece brillante.
Yo también soy arquitecto y catolico y por eso valoro que comente con tanto detalle su s ideas y el avance de su Eclessia Domestica. ¿Es usted un católico tradicional? Yo amo la liturgia seria, pero lamentablemente donde vivo no hay. Rezo la Liturgia de las horas de acuerdo al ofcio monastico de la Abadía de Santa escolástica de Victoria, muy próxima a mi casa. Lo felicito, adelante y que Dios lo bendiga a usted y su familia.
Paulo Arroyo, San Fernando , Argentina.

Brendan Koop said...


Luckily for me, I did take 5 years of Spanish in school! I'm a little rusty though. In any event, I believe I understand what you wrote. Thanks so much for your interest in our blog, it's good that people from other countries find it valuable, most especially Catholic architects! I hope that maybe you can incorporate some of these principles in your work.

We don't really subscribe to labels in terms of our faith I guess; a faithful Catholic seeks to follow Christ in everything he or she does, and remains totally faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church and submits in obedience to her authority given by Christ and protected by the Holy Spirit. As such, I wouldn't call us "Traditional" Catholics or otherwise, just "Catholic" suits us fine! That said, we do pray the Liturgy of the Hours. I pray evening prayer or night prayer every day, and we have introduced our children to it. We are teaching them Latin in our homeschool as well. And we have a healthy respect for the Tridentine mass in addition to the novus ordo mass. As our own parish isn't really traditional architecturally, we look forward to incorporating more traditional elements in our chapel to give that perspective to our kids.

Thanks, and I hope you keep reading! Vaya con Dios.