Drawing software and CAD programs have made it easier for kitchen and bath designers to generate floor plans and perspectives. However, many designers are finding that adding hand-drawn details makes for a more positive homeowner reaction to the plans. The artistic and personal touch of a sketch also seems to give their clients a better idea of the final project.

Designers at Case Design/Remodeling in Bethesda, Md., and Callier and Thompson Kitchens & Baths in St. Louis offer examples of how they prepare for presentations by sketching details on computer-generated drawings.

Case Design/Remodeling

Case designers have found that when homeowners are in the preliminary stages of design, they are open to all types of ideas. If you go to the meeting with hard line drawings, their impression is that it's a finished product, Bill Millholland says. The company's vice president of design says creating hand drawings or tracing over a CAD drawing makes the design look like the work in progress that it is. He says customers are also more likely to suggest modifications to a sketch vs. a computer-generated drawing.

Bill Millholland and his staff use the Vector Works program to design remodels. Millholland prefers to use the program for basic design. He then places tracing paper over the plan and outlines and draws in details by hand.

Designer Paul Maxim of Case says an artsy sketch, especially if you add color, makes the plan appealing and gets customers excited. But if it is done poorly, it can be to your detriment, he says. Changing line weight or width adds detail and personality to a sketch. If all line weight is the same, it all blends together. It's hard to tell what is a cabinet and what is a wall, he says.

Callier and Thompson Kitchens & Baths

Owner Thompson Price and his staff use Twenty-Twenty Technologies software to design kitchens and baths. In early meetings, designer Denise Kloth focuses on what type of overall look the clients want. She then lays out a skeleton floor plan and uses it to come up with a few designs that meet their needs.

Thompson Price finds that perspective drawings work best to convey the design idea to clients. His design staff uses the Twenty-Twenty program and often adds hand-drawn details.

Designer Denise Kloth likes to add a personal touch by including hand-drawn details in CAD drawings. In this example, she has drawn elaborate molding detail on the ceiling, cabinets, and island base. Kloth shows clients alternative cabinet doors by drawing the door on a transparent sheet and placing it over the CAD drawing. She adds color after she and the clients have almost finalized the design.