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  1. Richard Norris wins 2nd with his Phoenix Home Design! Updated

    “I lived my former years with the notion I wanted to go into Real Estate. As a child, I had a burning passion for building with Lego, crafting creative objects from obscure materials and creating abstract, yet understandable forms through any medium I could get my hands on. Essentially, my passion for architecture, houses, the glitz, the glam, the overall peculiar curiosity for a betterment of design of the sort had always been a prevalent part of my upbringing. The moment I turned 18, I obtained my real estate licensure in Arizona and soon discovered that I had an insatiable desire for more; I started working alongside my father, who is an architect, learning the complex jargon and every bit of minutia involved in the trade. I still love what I do to this date despite the constant desire to discover and master everything in the realm of architecture. 
     
    “I have used Chief Architect religiously for the past four years. My father has been using it for almost two decades. Both of us love the ease of use of the software and how each process is streamlined for maximum business efficiency. Clients often have grueling demands and strict time frames. In order to meet and exceed their needs, our business relies on your program to deliver more than what is asked at a time frame shorter than what is requested. Chief Architect is the most well-kept design software secret in the architecture community; it serves a niche of its own to those bold enough to deviate from the norm and reap the maximum benefits from doing so.
     
    “Chief Architect's design software is so efficient that it has landed us multiple design jobs, help create fabulous marketing renderings to properly position our firm and revise even the most extensive of requests to large custom home projects at the last minute. The end result of using this product is simply so incredible that not one success story can measure the level of acuity this program provides.”
     
    Connect with Richard
    Norris Architects LLC.
    www.norrisarchitects.com
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  2. Featured Customer - Chris McKillip Updated

    Chris placed 3rd in our Residential Home Design Contest in April. He has been designing since the 80's and has moved from residential design to the commercial marketplace.
    "I am an Architectural Production Manager for Daman + Lechtenberger Architects located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We are a full-service Architectural Design firm specializing in big box retail and worship assemblies. My start in residential design started in 1988. My parents owne d a design firm in Tulsa and I landed the “super exciting” job of producing foundation plans in CADD as my mother would hand draft the house plans and elevations. In 1989 I started my first full-time Architectural job working with Michael R. Dankbar, AIA. I was able to study under Mike over the next two years working on residential architecture. My ongoing relationship with Mike as an architect and mentor has been an invaluable asset. In 2002 I started designing my own homes in South Tulsa. Over the next 4 years I designed over 1,000 house plans. I had 10-15 builders I worked full time producing builder sets for construction as well as custom homes. As the residential market started to decline in 2007, I was hired on as a designer at a local firm producing house plans in the upper market. This was a great experience as it led me in into the commercial marketplace for design and drafting.
    "I have been with Daman + Lechtenberger since 2011 working on the production of Construction Documents. In 2012 I was promoted into the design side of our firm. Working directly with Brad Lechtenberger, NCARB, I started working with 3D models and renderings that we produced as a selling tool to the clients and also a guide for our production team. In 2013 I had the opportunity to design the Saint Jude home in Owasso, Oklahoma with Epic Homes. This was my first project with Chief Architect and we won the 2013 Parade of Homes Best Design in the $500,000 – $699,999 category. I have been using Chief Architect for residential house plans and design now for 4 years.
    "The best comment I can make about Chief Architect is the look on the client's face when they can visualize their home in 3D and see a 2D plan come to life. The toolset in Chief Architect is one of the best I have used. From the concept drawings, through the final stages of design, Chief has a proven track record with me that it's fast, precise, and extremely detailed. I still design with the lost art of pencil and paper. I love the ability to sketch out ideas and shapes. I think it’s important as a designer to be creative and allow the design to take shape naturally but also use the latest tools to produce an extremely detailed set of plans."
    Connect with Chris
    Daman + Lechtenberger Architects
    http://www.damanlechtenberger.com/
    cmckillip@damanlechtenberger.com
    918-933-5323
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  3. Contest Winner – William Woody Updated

    William of HearthStone Homes placed 1st in the Chief Architect Residential Home Design Contest in April! He fell in love with log home design back at the very beginning.
     
    “My family is my number one passion, and residential design is my second. I often find myself doing plans in my down time, just to relax. I fell in love with residential design in high school, when I took a board drafting class. Putting pencil to paper and laying out rooms and shading in stone hatchings, was a dream come true to me. I was already an avid artist, doodling my own comics and painting. I was the Art Letterman for my class and graduated with honors 12th in my class. Being from such a small town it is all about picking the right career when you finish high school. So I chose design.
     
    “After graduating from Walters State Community College Magna Cum Laude with an AS in Drafting and Design in 1999, I took my first design job as a Project Designer for Hearthstone Log and Timber Homes in Newport, TN. I started out right out of school working with AutoCAD to do revisions and with Hearthstone’s production software (Cadwork, Informatique) which is used for the CAD/CAM manufacturing of their log homes. Eventually, Hearthstone invested in Chief Architect (version 6) in order to create preliminary and concept design plans for their customers. Chief quickly became one of the primary design tools we used to generate design plans.
     
    “In 2001 I left Hearthstone, Inc and floated between a couple of jobs taking my knowledge of Chief Architect with me to each. Eventually, I went to work for R. Allen Design who was using Chief Architect X2 almost exclusively to produce plans for customers. Coincidentally, they sub-contracted work back to Hearthstone, Inc. Last year I was fortunate enough to return to Hearthstone, Inc. full-time. My experience with Chief Architect allowed me to jump right back into the deep end of the pool as if I had never left. Hearthstone began in 1971 as a restorer of old log homes in the Appalachian Mountains. It wasn’t long until there were more people who wanted those homes than there were old logs for restoration. So, they set about learning how to craft new homes in the old Appalachian style. Today we design and build everything from hand hewn log homes to timber frame homes, to hybrid homes that fuse both log and timber designs. Personally, I fell in love with the log home back when I started designing. The craft, the design, the look, and the feel of these style homes are in my blood. Being born and raised in these mountains, I really appreciate the hard work and determination of my ancestors and am excited to be back at Hearthstone Inc. doing what I love to do.
     
    “Chief Architect has provided our company with a quick and easy solution for us to get preliminary and concept plans, models, and renderings in front of customers. Chief also accepts exports from our production software, which we use to operate our CAM manufacturing Essetre and Hundegger machines. This means the actual timber we will eventually produce looks just as it is supposed to in a customer’s Chief model.
     
    “Over the course of my eighteen years of design experience, I’ve used AutoCAD, Revit, DataCad, Archicad, and more… Chief Architect by far has the most user-friendly interface and does the best job.”
     
    Connect with William
    Hearthstone, Inc.
    wwoody@hearthstonehomes.com
    800-247-4442
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  4. Featured Customer - Justin Link Updated

    Justin Link placed 2 nd   in our   Design Contest – Remodel/Additions   in March. He is from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, and owns a small drywall business called LX Drywall.
    “My wife, Helen, and I are really just home renovation enthusiasts, but I’ve had an interest in design and remodel as far back as I can remember. As a young child, I remember looking through Sears catalogs not at toys, but at the furniture and home décor imagining what my home would look like when I became a “grown-up.”
    “I received my first design software as a gift in high school. It was great except for the lack of library content and the difficulty of attaining ceiling details. I just couldn’t get over the fact that the final result never looked professional.
    “I stumbled upon a trial version of Chief Architect’s Home Designer Pro about a year ago and loved it! The libraries in the trial version were way better than the software I had previously used, plus not only were ceiling details a breeze to compose, but the entire program was much easier to navigate and the final result truly looked professional! I purchased Home Designer Pro shortly thereafter and it was exactly what I was looking for! The possibilities are truly endless.
    “I designed the remodel of my entire home using Home Designer Pro. It was a huge help in determining what ideas worked and what ideas didn’t work. It was also a great aid in determining colors; if a color didn’t work I simply chose another one until I found one I liked. I enjoy designing homes and spaces just for fun as well. I have designed a couple renovations using Chief Architect and it always impresses customers!”
     
    Connect with Justin
    LX Drywall
    justinlink@lxdrywall.com
    705-257-1608
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  5. Featured Customer – Tara Pike Updated

    Tara Pike tied for 1 st in our Design Contest – Remodel/Additions in March.
    “Ever since I was young, when I saw an abandoned house that was in disrepair, I’d automatically start thinking about what I’d do to make it beautiful again, if it were mine. It became a joke between my father and me. If we were out in the car driving somewhere, and we happened to pass an old shack, often in unison and with excitement we’d say, “there’s a fixer-upper!” Eventually, my husband continued on with the humor. However, since he was very handy in all areas of home construction, it soon became more of a goal of ours than a silly joke.
    “I studied Visual Merchandising Arts in college, and have spent my career working in different fields related to visual design. I’m passionate mostly about interior decorating and design, but I have also worked in graphic design. It was, however, during my career as a design consultant for a home builder, where I gained most of my knowledge about floor plan layout, and construction processes.
    “Approximately two years ago (in May of 2015), my husband and I finally found our “fixer-upper”, and to our joy, it was located on waterfront property, and only an hour outside the city of Toronto. It had been on the market for quite a while. Apparently, a lot of people were frightened away because it needed so much work. We fell in love with the property, and knew that we could fix the rest of it with hard work and patience…I’m still trying to master the patience part.
    “The project involves extensive renovations to an old cottage, originally built in the 1920s, while living on the property full-time. We plan to turn it into a functional modern house that still has the look/charm of a cottage. We decided to keep the concrete foundation (crawl space) that was added to the cottage in the ‘70s. However, to bring the building up to current building code requirements, we had to replace the existing 2x4 exterior walls with 2x6 construction. That basically meant that the entire cottage (except for the foundation) needed to be rebuilt.
    “I remembered hearing some great things about Chief Architect’s design software. I researched its capabilities and decided that it would be the perfect tool to design our new home. It seemed very user-friendly, it wasn’t too expensive, and there were a lot of educational tutorials available online. I spent my first winter in the old cottage watching tutorials and experimenting with floor plan layouts and different roof options, etc. I wanted the design of the house to be very simple. I’m a huge advocate of the “less is more” design principle — Plus, I had to design to the current foundation footprint, which was very basic. It didn’t take long before I felt proficient in the use of the software. By the end of last winter (2016), I had finalized the plans and we had a building permit in hand.
    “Once spring arrived, my husband started replacing the main floor exterior walls. Then, on July 1st, with the help of family and friends, we very aggressively began demolishing the place by hand. When the roof came off it was a sight to see! We were still using the kitchen and bathroom inside the cottage but had moved our beds into an old Airstream trailer (it will eventually be a restoration project too). The summer of 2016 was crazy!
    “We had made huge progress. However, once winter arrived we started working inside the house running the plumbing, electrical and heating ducts to the second floor (while living on the main floor). It’s a very slow process without any visual satisfaction. Our goal is to fully complete the second floor (with two bedrooms, a large washroom, and a laundry room) and then move upstairs. Once we’re residing on the second floor, the main floor will then be fully gutted and renovated. It will have one bedroom with a washroom, and an open concept living/ dining/ kitchen area. Hopefully, very soon I’ll be able to start snapping and posting more progress photos.
    “I couldn’t imagine taking on this project without being able to visualize its outcome. Chief Architect has allowed me to do that. I can calculate all of the materials we need and have exact measurements and references throughout the building process. Being able to visualize each room in 3D allows me to show my family and friends what the house is going to look like when it’s complete. Showing people the images helps me reassure them that we haven’t lost our minds (haha).
    “After the house is done, the next project is to build a new garage. I’ve almost finished the plans for it — using Chief Architect software of course!
    “We’re hoping that our forever home on the water will be a place for family and friends to gather and grow over the years. I like to think that my dad’s spirit is somewhere here cheering us on. I think he’d be happy that we finally got our “fixer-upper” — and he’d be proud.
    “I recently started my own design consultation business called Williams Point Design. I use Chief Architect as a tool to design other people's projects and guide them through their renovations. Once this project is done our house will be the studio for my business. If you’d like to see some of our demolition and construction photos that I’ve posted on my Houzz.com user page: https://www.houzz.com/user/tarapike .”
     
    Connect with Tara
    https://www.houzz.com/user/tarapike
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  6. Featured Customer – Christopher Anderson Updated

    Featured Customer – Christopher Anderson
    Christopher tied for 1st in our  Design Contest – Remodel/Additions  in March.
    "I am a Residential Designer in the San Francisco Bay Area designing custom homes and remodels. I have been designing homes since I was a High School student back in the 80’s in Austin Texas drafting by hand. I then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and worked for a kitchen designer and then for a structural engineering company. I later needed a change and began my lengthy career as a designer when I started working with my good friend in Palo Alto Designing Homes by hand drafting and then later turning to AutoCAD. 
    "In 2005, I had attended the PCBC in San Francisco and spent most of my time watching the demonstrations of Chief and became a believer that this was the way for me to make a major change. I had a client that asked if I had any program that was 3D capable and had mentioned to him that I was thinking of getting a program that would help me make the inevitable transition, that is when he said let me buy it for you as part of my payment. I was then hooked and there was no turning back and made every effort to change from the horrific AutoCAD to Chief Architect.
    "I think it was back in 2008 when I had the opportunity to design a new home that made my success story. I had the opportunity to finally do my first set of working drawings with Chief but it was when my client was so impressed with my 3D that catapulted me to the next level. I have been working with Chief since CA-v.7 to Chief’s current version X9. Chief has been the best tool since Have starting designing homes and only continues to get better. One of the best things about Chief is the online help from other users, one thing AutoCAD never had. I only continue to look forward and never look back with Chief as it continues to get better and better."





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  7. 2016 Design Contest Winners Updated

    Highlighting our 2016 Design Contest Winners.
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  8. Featured Customer - Jenna Mattison Updated

    Meet Jenna! She won our Design Contest – Kitchen Design in October. Here are a few more of her designs.

    "I am a Senior Designer at Dream House Dream Kitchens in Madison, WI. I am originally from a smaller town a couple hours north and have been interested in design since high school. I was hired at Dream House right after college at UW-Madison (Go Badgers!) and have been working here ever since. I love being able to work closely with each individual client on their personal space. They are all working on such cool projects. Chief Architect has been a big part of our success at Dream House. It is a great tool for clients to be able to visualize their space before their project starts."

    Dream House by Dream Kitchens
    dream-kitchens.com
    608-344-1916
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  9. Featured Customer - Scott Turner Updated

    Meet Scott! He won our Design Contest – Remodel/Addition Design in September. Here are a few more of his designs. Read Scott’s Story:

    I started designing and drafting 15 years ago in a small design build company while taking night classes in Architectural. SMT Residential Design, LLC. was formed over 12 years ago and our creativity and uncompromising standards have made this firm one of the most respected design firms in the industry. We are located in North Carolina and offer services to clients nationwide.

    I have been using Chief Architect for over 15 years starting with version 10 and have upgraded ever since. I chose Chief Architect over other programs because it seemed very user friendly and that I could accomplish everything I needed within one program (construction drawings, renderings, material list, and so much more). If it wasn’t for bringing Chief Architect into my design and drafting practices I could not have been able to design homes across the USA and parts of the globe and offer the service that I do today.

    Connect with Scott through his website: www.smt-design.com

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  10. Featured Customer - Michael Leach Updated

    Featured Customer - Michael Leach. He won our Design Contest – Outdoor Living Spaces in June. Here are a few of his great designs, but check out his website for more: www.mtldesigns.net. Keep reading to learn more about Michael!

    I’m Michael Leach, of MTLdesigns, LLC. I started my company “officially” the winter of 2015.

    I have designed a few houses in the past, using AutoCAD, but I had a full time “day” job, family to raise, etc. and I just never got going with this passion. I have always loved architecture; all my vacations for the last 25 plus years have always included checking out the local buildings and houses. My career path kept me in the design world, but not designing houses. I got into 3D modeling on pharmaceutical and chemical plants, which then led me into a lead designer position for the new class of aircraft carriers. The CVN78 and 79 in Newport News VA, all using BIM software (Catia).

    I moved to Missouri in 2013, and last year an acquaintance asked me if I would design his “downsized” ranch, and being a 3D BIM guy, I researched software which led me to Chief. I like Revit, but am not designing skyscrapers, so I really didn’t need to pay such a crazy high price to design houses. I chose CA, because it was easy to use. Yeah there is a huge learning curve, but I grasped the tools pretty quickly with my experiences (and I am still learning). A lot of people can look at a 2D drawing and most of it looks like a foreign language. They can see the label “LIVING ROOM”, but really need to focus to see the walls, doors, etc. They don’t have that spatial concept. When I show them camera views, it’s like reality hitting them. Especially in the kitchens. It has caused changes, but to me that’s a good thing. I want to give the homeowner what they dreamed of. I also chose CA because of the rent to own option. So I purchased, designed the ranch, and been using CA ever since.

    I then decided to push my company and make it legit. I got the bigger desktop, the LLC licensing, all the legal tax stuff, website, etc. This is what I love to do. The hardest thing is getting the name out there, especially when others in area have been in residential design for 20 plus years and are known. The goal is to do this full time, for the rest of my working life.  Do what you love to do, and it won’t seem like a job.

    Michael Leach
    MTLdesigns, LLC
    www.mtldesigns.net
    Republic, MO. 65738
    (417) 719-5195

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  11. Featured Customer - Bryan Ramírez Updated

    Featured Customer - Bryan Ramírez

    Meet Bryan! He won our Design Contest – Residential Design in May and is primarily using Chief Architect for his hobby. Keep reading to learn more about Bryan!

    My name is Bryan and I'm from Costa Rica. I used to make 2D plans in a Graphics Vector Software, but I was unable to preview my plans in 3D so I started searching for 3D Software. I read many good comments online about Chief Architect so I decided to go for it.

    I started using Chief Architect Home Designer 2014 as soon as it came out back in 2013. It was my very first time using 3D software of this kind, so I went to the online reference manual provided with the software and it was really easy to learn.

    After months of gaining experience with Designer 2014, I realized I needed more features so I went to Chief Architect X7. Now I'm trying to learn more and more and look forward to updating it to X8.

    I'm not a professional architect, most of the time I use the software as a hobby and I will recommended it to anyone. It’s a great software and you will learn to use it very quickly.
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  12. Featured Customer - Marie-Ève Raymond Updated

    Featured Customer - Marie-Ève Raymond

    Meet Marie-Ève! She won our Design Contest – Kitchen Design in February and has been using Chief Architect for 5 years! Keep reading to learn more about Marie-Ève and Designer d'intérieur Marie-Eve Raymond!

    Marie-Ève Raymond
    Designer d'intérieur Marie-Eve Raymond
    1-514-575-4567
    www.designerinterieur.com

    Originally from Quebec City, I moved to Montreal, a city full of culture and trends, where I studied dance, fine arts and interior design. After my studies, I worked for different companies gaining experience to finally create my own design company in 2002 called Marie-Ève Raymond designer d'intérieur. My company mainly focuses on residential interior design, house renovations and some new builds and is specialized in kitchen and bath overalls. We take an old house and redesign it in part or in whole for the customer.

    It has been already 5 years I am using the Chief Architect software. Actually, the reason why I chose this software was the flexibility, easy-to-learn advanced functions and the support. Chief Architect allows the customer to fully experience the design project before it evens starts through the realistic visual renderings. I really like the fact it is possible to draw technical drawing with the 3D with the same software. A must have software for interior designers!
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