At 1pm today, we handed over 5 pages of “architectural drawings” to our general contractor (or maestro here), Fernando. The drawings are far from professional, but they should be plenty to go on. In fact, Fernando appears to have the skills, experience and confidence to do the whole project with no more than a quick, “we’ll need a bathroom here, a new ceiling, let’s add a wall here, etc.”
Needless, to say, with such skilled workers at hand, I did the obvious thing and burned two days creating to-scale 3D drawings in Google SketchUp. To be fair, I really do enjoy architecture-y work and have a solid background in designing secret underground lairs with on my dad’s drafting table with his fancy pencils and see-through paper. That said, the reality is that creating drawings that are even close to useful for contractors takes a great deal of time, patience and experience – I might even go as far as to say, that there is a good reason that most people hire trained professionals.
In any case, the model is done and with only two hiccups in the process. The first was the total uselessness of Sketchup’s tool for adding dimension text alongside the drawing and the resulting need for us to write, with pencil, all of the dimensions on the printed drawings. The second was a very short bit of couples tension when I missed our first deadline for turning in the drawings to the Maestro Fernando, after spending around 14 hours days straight working in Sketchup and saying, “Yep, just about done. Just a couple more minutes…” approximately 100 times. We ended up with smiles thanks to Caye’s ample supply of patience and my tongue-in-cheek insistence that “a lot of people would pay someone thousands of dollars for this kind of work..”
So, tomorrow the work will begin with a thorough cleaning of decades of dirt, smoke, dust, cobwebs, etc. We’ll have lots of before, during and after photos. In the mean time, here is a short video I made to show-off the joy of Sketchup and a couple of perspectives from the final version.
To learn a bit about SketchUp or download the free program (mac or pc), check out: http://sketchup.google.com/