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Chief Architect Home Designer Essentials (PC)

Platform : Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP
3.2 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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  • Use House Wizard to choose your rooms and drag them to your design layout
  • Choose from over 500 sample floor plans to help generate ideas
  • Easy to use automated building tools for roofs, stairs, framing, cabinets and more
  • Create the Virtual Look and Feel Before beginning your next project
  • Use the Color Chooser to create the perfect color for your walls, floors, furniture and accessories
  • Assign costs for materials: descriptions, quantities, costs to estimate your project
  • Generate new floors automatically based on your current floor plan design
  • Cabinet Designer Tools – choose from over 1,000
  • Create custom landscaping or site plans in 2D and 3D
  • Choose from over 500 realistic landscaping plants

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System Requirements

  • Platform:   Windows 7 / Vista / XP
  • Media: DVD-ROM
  • Item Quantity: 1

Product details

  • Item Weight: 136 g
  • Delivery Destinations: Visit the Delivery Destinations Help page to see where this item can be delivered.
  • ASIN: B004346R7Y
  • Release Date: 10 Nov. 2010
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,449 in Software (See Top 100 in Software)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
We are planning on building an extension and we needed a basic but easy to use software tool that would allow us to create an accurate floor plan of our existing house and to add the extension on at the side.

This software is American which means the default house style is a bit American looking and the default building materials are all American spec such as stucco and stud wall and shingle roof felts rather than UK-spec materials. However it is fairly easy to amend the materials (there are lots to choose from) but it is a bit time consuming. Also, all the tutorial videos are with an annoying American woman doing the narration, but that's a small niggle.

Having spent several evenings working on getting all our house dimensions input correctly and adding our internal walls and stairs etc I have to say that I have created a novice masterpiece (it actually looks like my house even to my untrained eyes!).

The very best features are the 3D pivotal imaging that allows the floor plan to be automatically converted into a revolving/pivoting dolls-house view (which shows your chosen materials - tiles, brick, glass, windows, doors etc), also the glass-house view (which shows the 3D view but in a translucent blue so you can see the angles and planes in best definition) and also the cross-sectional view that can be used for all aspects of the building.

I will be submitting my plans to our local council soon for pre-planning application advice and hope that the images generated by this software will be sufficient for the council to advise me of any tweaks I need to make to the design before I get professional plans drawn up.

Good software for beginners, especially useful if you are a Do-It-Yourself extension designer, though probably not a replacement for proper plans, but useful at the pre-planning application stages to help generate ideas.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have been using a web-based programme to draw site plans. Problem is that the programme costs a monthly fee which is more than the cost of this programme. There are several versions of this programme and this is one of the most basic. However, basic was all I needed so I was keen to see if it could compete.

First the programme is PC only so that is not as advantageous as a web-based programme which can be used by any Mac, PC or Linux computer. Notwithstanding, the programme loads speedily on my Windows & computer and I am ready to go. The programme comes with instructional videos and plenty of them. Maybe too many videos and it took me a while to find the one I needed. However, the videos are short and informative and saves the struggle to read any instructions.

Once I got going the programme is easy to use and though it may be a bit slower than the web-based programme it was more flexible making it a breeze to draw walls, add doors and windows and bays.

All in all the programme in my eyes is well worth the money, does what I need it to do and when I get more adventurous I can do 3d images and decorate the walls.
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By Russtafarian VINE VOICE on 19 April 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I want an extension, but not actually sure if it would suit our property. So thought I'd mock-up an idea. To practice, I reproduced my current home, and then tried an extension to the rear of the house, in a guesstimated fashion.
I quickly created my property boundaries and terrain, and then roughly the two floors. Afterwards, I had the basic doors, windows and fixtures in place. (In reality, you would obviously, spend the time to take measurements or refer to blueprints to be 100% accurate.)
From there, I played around with altering various parts of my home... this is where I got lost day dreaming about doing up the whole house - it appears to be great for planning any remodeling and "what if" scenarios, (changing walls, door placements, new fixtures, and so on). It literally takes seconds of simple point and click mouse action to achieve these changes. You can also customize the properties of a particular object, such as renaming it, stating colour, texture, etc.

If there's not enough fixtures etc for you - despite the dozens of object libraries with the program - you can expand with additional download content from the Chief Architect site. Some of these are free, but not all.

Admittedly, I had to refer to the help function quite a bit to get me started, but I find this to be the way when learning any software... I still do it today with programs I've been using years!
The help function is easy to navigate and gives very clear step-by-step instructions for building just about any structure.
(In addition, Chief Architect maintains an on-line user community area for chat and Q&A - although I've not used this, yet.)
One annoyance: There is no "auto-help" function to explain if your measurements do not work out...
Read more ›
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By ziggy_fan TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Nov. 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have to say, I got this more as a curiosity than a real need to redesign my home. It has bags of features and particularly the Tempates and interior decor visualisations are impressive and fun. I think that calling it an entry level design software is probably under selling it a bit, unless you are an actual architect wanting to use this as your main software tool, in which case yeh,u need to spend a bit more! For the amateur designer who is seriously thinking of a new home plan then I think this package is a good one to take the plunge with.
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