Holly Martin
Lee Kimball
Boston, Mass.

Until about a year and a half ago, we solely drafted by hand. We now use AutoCAD LT for everything except hand-renderings or quick conceptual plans/elevations that give a sense of personalization to the project and keep it in the “idea” phase.

Other kitchen and bath programs did not allow us to create construction drawings or electrical plans. Also, only one of our cabinet vendors had bought into a program (we have four cabinet lines), and it was one we had used in the past and did not find very user-friendly.

AutoCAD LT is not as expensive as the full-blown program but our company would not use a lot of the more costly features anyway. CAD training can be a bit overwhelming — trying to learn the new lingo within two days. We brought in an AutoCAD expert who showed me a few commands at a time. Most programs offer the ability to create a library of symbols to make drafting much more efficient.

Robert Feinberg, CKD
Allied Kitchen & Bath
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

I have been using 20-20 for approximately seven years. I have tried other products but found that the 20-20 program meets all of my needs. When I originally chose the program, it included the catalogs of the companies I used, which allowed me to offer the best rendition of that particular line and door style.

With this program, I can show clients not only the drawings via floor plans, but also in perspectives, elevations, and top views. Revising drawings is easy and I can change the vantage point to almost any angle. The program also allows me to draw in all the outlets, lights, switches, and wiring that I need to submit for permitting.

Mollyanne Sherman, CKD, CBD, CID
MAC Design
Newark, Calif.

Software doesn't design kitchens and baths — designers do. Hand-drawing gives me the best results. Once I have developed the design on paper, some computer tools can help. I have used 20-20 for pricing and to develop a basic template for perspective sketching. The program is limited, and it doesn't show things realistically unless you invest a lot of time. I have had a hard time getting answers from 20-20 on how to make the program work better for me. One problem is that the graphic presentation doesn't meet National Kitchen and Bath Association standards. I have also used AutoCAD, but it is really just a drafting program. It is also a difficult program to master and requires too much time to make it cost-effective.

Paul Calafiore
DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen by Worldwide
Newington, Conn.

We are currently using 20-20 design software and have three licenses. Our designers find the program easy to use. It has great color graphics, and the software supports our cabinet vendors by annually updating catalogs. We had previously used Planit software but the company stopped updating our cabinet vendor catalog.

Max Isley, CKD, CBD, CMKBD
Hampton Kitchens Wake Forest, N.C.

I use Planit Fusion. After I had used two other design programs, my research indicated that Planit had the best graphics among the group. I found that the detail available via Planit allowed me to create drawings that were more style- and detail-specific. I wanted more than the “generic” look provided by other programs. This differentiation is critical where styling or detail is important, usually in higher-end kitchens and baths. With Planit I can draw detailed crown moldings, door styles, appliances, and fixtures. I can even draw a detailed electrical outlet mounted in an island, with a decorative overlay panel below it, and draw it in close-up view (about 18 inches away). Then I can provide the drawing to my client as well as to my lead installer and electrician, which minimizes mistakes and miscommunication regarding critical details.

I do not believe, however, that any of the software companies have kept abreast of the numerous fashion changes in the kitchen and bath industry. We need to be able to draw details accurately, quickly, and easily. It is imperative that the software companies understand that their product is a tool for us, not the final product.