A kitchen or bath floor plan can get pretty cluttered when you include every cabinet, faucet, appliance, sink, tub, and toilet paper holder.

Blackdog Builders in Salem, N.H., used to draw plans that way, but over the years the designers, who are also the salespeople, came to see that simpler is better.

They now use software to break out separate plans: In a larger project with more construction, they use Chief Architect to depict large-scale construction elements such as decks, room-enlargements, and rooflines. For smaller projects (or smaller components of larger projects), they use 20-20 to convey countertop overhangs, how cabinetry fits together, or how a stacked molding combination will look.

This has developed into a four-plan system, design manager Amee McNamara says.

Plan 1: The as-built plan.

Plan 2: The structural plan, which includes the exact location of walls, doors, and windows (no cabinetry, fittings, countertops, or fixtures are shown).

Plan 3, the presentation plan, gives clients plenty of information about what's included in their remodel, but “there's not enough there for a client to run around town checking prices,” says Blackdog Builders' design manager Amee McNamara.
Plan 3, the presentation plan, gives clients plenty of information about what's included in their remodel, but “there's not enough there for a client to run around town checking prices,” says Blackdog Builders' design manager Amee McNamara.

Plan 3: The presentation plan (above) with call-outs. “This is very user-friendly,” McNamara says. “Here's the silverware divider. Here's the TV. Here's the potato bin and the onion bin. This is not as scary as seeing ‘W3030 with LEF.'”

Missing is information, such as specific cabinet nomenclature, that Blackdog doesn't want clients to know. “We put in a lot of work and we feel compelled to protect it,” McNamara says.

Plan 4: The final plan. “We try to meet National Kitchen and Bath Association standards with these,” McNamara says, by including all the cabinetry nomenclature with any modifications or accessories called out in a separate legend.

The plans are only created once a client is on retainer with Blackdog. Clients like them — especially the presentation plan — and the four-plan system has helped to clear up miscommunication in the field that occurred from using a single, overly busy plan.