Planning Study 2.1

Back in April 2010 (was it really that long ago?) I wrote a post called Planning Study 2.0 showing how I was using a free online application called Floorplanner to work out whether it was feasible to move my study  from the former garage upstairs into bedroom four.

Then we discovered that we were expecting Isaac and those plans were put on hold. Bedroom four was to become Isaac’s room and my study would need to remain in the “garage room”.

Fast forward a couple of years and it became clear to us that Isaac was going to need a larger room. So Jane and I dusted down our plans and we decided to sacrifice the guest bedroom to move Isaac into, then the study would move into Isaac’s old room, and finally the garage room would become a second living room/lounge with the option of a sofa bed or inflatable double-mattress on the floor.

Initial plan — study 2.0

This was my initial plan from April 2010.

Proposed floor plan of relocated study

Initial floor plan of relocated study

Revised plan — study 2.1

My revised plan of Summer 2012, rotated 90° right.

Plan of study

Final plan

And so during the last couple of months we’ve slowly moved things around. Isaac moved rooms first of all, and then the study steadily moved upstairs. Bookcases and books first, then the filing cabinet and Ikea Poäng chair, and finally my desk (which I had to completely dismantle to get out through the former garage’s sliding door and back in through the front door).

So, here are the 3D renderings from Floorplan to compare with photographs of how the actual room looks.

Looking south

Floor plan of study shown in 3D

Floor plan of study shown in 3D (looking south)

My study, showing from left to right: filing cabinet, desk and bookcase

My study, showing from left to right: filing cabinet, desk and bookcase

Looking west

Plan of study, shown in 3D

Floor plan of study shown in 3D (looking west)

My study, looking towards the window, with chair and bookcases

My study, looking towards the window, with chair and bookcases

Conclusion

Floorplanner has been a really useful tool. As I said in my initial review, the free account is limited to only one plan (although you can join rooms together to create, for example, a whole floor) but that has been enough for our requirements.

We are now beginning to use it to plan what to do with the old study (the “garage room”). How can we fit in a sofa or two, and still make it comfortable for guests to sleep in? I’ll report back once we’ve worked it out.

Getting ready for Baby 3.0

I took a holiday this week so that we could focus on getting the house ready for Baby 3.0 who is due to be born sometime after 20 January 2011.  We didn’t want to get to the end of December and suddenly panic that we’d not done anything.

We had three big tasks:

  1. Buy a bigger car.
  2. Buy some furniture for Baby 3.0’s bedroom..
  3. Drive to Dunoon to collect a cot from Jane’s sister.

It’s now Tuesday evening and we’ve completed all three tasks.  How efficient are we?!

1. Buy a bigger car

Citroën Grand C4 Picasso

Citroën Grand C4 Picasso (photo from AllWorldCars.com)

We currently own a Vauxhall Vectra Estate.  It’s a massive car.  It’s black and it looks like a hearse.  It’s great for getting Reuben and Joshua’s car seats into and the boot is the size of a small country which makes it perfect for carrying the Baby Jogger double pushchair.  But it’s not big enough to carry another baby seat.

What we need now is a Compact MPV and from what we’ve read and tried out already we’re going to need a 7-seater in order to accommodate three children under three years old, a double buggy, and whatever luggage we also need to cart about with us.

So, armed with research-she’d-done-on-the-internet Jane went out on Saturday afternoon with Joshua to check out a couple of car showrooms in Dundee, while Reuben and I stayed at home and played with cars.  Toy cars, that is.

On Sunday afternoon Jane took me to see a light blue Ford S-Max.  It was lovely, the test drive was fun and the price was about £3,000 too high.  So we walked away but with details of a similar model in Armadale.

On Monday afternoon we drove away from Armadale having bought a Citroën Grand C4 Picasso that we’d test driven.  It looks like a nice car, it’s practical, it’s the right size and it was also the right price.   By trading in the Vectra we’ll also get about £500 back which can’t be bad.

I also discovered that the car salesman had lived in my hometown of Selkirk during the 1980s.

2. Buy some furniture for Baby 3.0’s bedroom.

Wardrobe and chest of drawers

Wardrobe and chest of drawers in Baby #3's room

Ikea was wonderfully deserted late on Monday afternoon We were in and out in no time, and managed to get out without buying something that wasn’t on our shopping list.  Not even a bag of Daim bars.

I built the furniture today while Jane …

3. Drive to Dunoon to collect a cot from Jane’s sister.

… drove to Dunoon to collect a cot from her sister.  In fact, she’s just got back so I’ll go and say hello.  I’ll unpack the car in the morning.

Reorganising and rearranging

It all started this morning when I said to Jane if she minded me hoovering and mopping the floors downstairs.

Of course she didn’t mind!

A couple of months ago we had a cleaner — a wonderfully practical joint Christmas and birthday present from family. She visited twice — did a marvelous job — and then phoned to say that she’d had a nervous breakdown and was quitting. Was our house really that untidy I joked … erm, empathetically.

The most time-consuming thing with hoovering and mopping is the preparation: clearing the carpet, and ‘playing shipwreck’ with the furniture so that those items that normally sit on the floor are balanced on tables and chairs.

And so with everything stacked on top of the TV cabinet, the sofa and a couple of chairs in the middle of the room I was reminded at how much space we used to have.

And, well, one thing led to another and we spent most of the day rearranging furniture.

Under the stairs

It started with the ‘dumping ground’ beneath the stairs which was transformed into something practical.

Coats and shoes under the stairs

Under the stairs

DVDs

Next, the bookcase housing our rather pityful VHS (remember those?) and DVD collection came out from behind the sofa and sat proudly next to the television.

We might even get to watch some of them, now that we can get to them.

If you look closely you’ll see that Paddington Bear and Rubert the Bear even joined in; they are currently partying beneath the TV.

Bookcase with videos next to a TV

Video/DVD storage

Toys

Finally, the bookcase that had been dominating the space beneath the stairs found new life as toy storage in the living room.

Toys arranged on shelves

Storage for toys

It’s been a very productive day.  But there is still much to do …

Planning Study 2.0

Proposed floor plan of relocated study

Proposed floor plan of relocated study

This evening I’ve been using Floorplanner.com to see whether it’s feasible or not to move my study from what used to be the garage to what is currently the fourth bedroom (affectionately known as ‘the bunk room’).

Jane and I have been thinking ahead to when the boys are a little older and wanting to sleep in the bunk beds; we’d also like to do something a little more creative with the former garage, turning it into another ground floor public room (TV room? play room?).

Plenty of room for

I’ve managed to squeeze in:

  • 1 x planners desk and chair
  • 1 x small bookcase for my printers and scanner
  • 1 x Ikea Poäng chair
  • 1 x four-drawer filing cabinet
  • 6 x book cases

No room for

But I’m still puzzling what to do with:

  • 1 x cupboard full of filing boxes, Big Boy’s Box of Interesting Things™, etc.
  • 1 x PC and CRT monitor
  • 1 x Prie-dieu (prayer desk)
  • 1 x bookcase of guitar music
  • 4 x guitar amplifiers
  • 8 x guitars

What’s holding me up from moving up immediately is working out how we move the broadband connection upstairs (without the use of WiFi or a PowerLine adapter). I suspect we may to have to get an electrician in to add a telephone extension in the new study and perhaps more electrical sockets.

Proposed floor plan of the relocated study in 3D

Proposed floor plan of the relocated study in 3D

Floorplanner

Floorplanner has been really simple to use. It uses an Adobe Flash interface (so you can’t plan your rooms on an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad), is pretty intuitive.

I followed the short tutorial to get an idea of the basics, loaded it up on my laptop in the room I wanted to plan and got measuring.

Price: Free for personal use (limited to 1 plan). There are also Plus (€19 per year; up to 5 plans) and Pro (from €19 per month; multiple plans and tours) accounts available.

Strengths: It’s really simple to get started: draw rooms, add doors and windows, tweak dimensions, preview it in 3D. There is quite a large library of objects, furniture, etc. You’re not locked to one PC as plans are available from any online PC.

Weaknesses: Some of the furniture looks quite generic and unremarkable, although dimensions and general colours can be tweaked. There are no filing cabinets in the office category of objects! I couldn’t find an obvious way to put things on the wall (shelves or pictures). The 3D view can be a little tricky at times: you can’t always see exactly the view you want to see.

Conclusion: It’s a great tool for quickly checking to see if your proposed floor plan is going to work (even if you have to improvise some of the furniture).

It’s really much quicker to learn and cheaper to and use than the likes of TURBOFloorplan 3D from IMSIDesign.

Update

This evening (Friday 16 April) I also discovered Autodesk Homestyler which is another Flash-based floorplanner. I don’t mean ‘discovered’ in the same way as say Ferdinand Magellan discovered how to cross the Pacific without the use of a marine-style lollipop man.

In some ways it was nicer and shinier. In other ways it wasn’t quite so customizable.

New chair and sofa

New chair

Last weekend, we bought a new sofa and chair at Reid Furniture Store at Edinburgh Fort Kinnaird Park.

We’re not getting the dull beige one, but the more exciting and decidedly-more-Jane Yard Blueberry. You can see the colour on the table in the foreground — it’s the purple-looking colour in the samples book.

The feet will be in mahogany.

Above is Jane on the sofa, with our new chair on the left.

Jane sitting on our new sofa

And here’s Jane on the sofa. It’s REALLY comfortable.