Virtual VS. Reality

My grandfather, George E. Minton, was the lead architect for the city of New York back in the 50’s and 60’s. He worked on many projects including LaGaurdia airport, Gimbel’s department stores and many parts of the 1964 World’s Fair. He would often take me to his office at the Department of Marine and Aviation on the west side of Manhattan overlooking the Hudson River at Pier 57. To this day a plaque with his name on it remains on the building.

(photo courtesy Pinterest)


I have such vivid memories of the 3d scale models and drafting tools everywhere. He gave me free reign to “play” with anything I chose to; the wax pencils that you sharpened by pulling a string and peeling the paper, the erasers that were like a big ball of Silly Putty, and the extremely sharp drafting tools. The thing I was intrigued by, though were the blue prints rolled up everywhere in bins and laid out on large drafting tables. At that time blue prints were exactly as they were called; BLUE!

                                                        (photo credit Pinterest)


As the years have gone by and technology has taken over, the art of hand drafting has unfortunately almost become a lost art. I’m not sure if my grandfather would be disappointed or impressed, but CAD (computer assisted design) seems to be the method of choice. As an Interior Designer it is important to keep up with the trends especially when working with a younger generation.

Between Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, blogging and Instagram, I have all I can do to constantly keep up with social media. It took me a very long time to figure it all out and just when I think I’ve got it, something new comes out and it’s time to relearn yet another platform!

One of the most important tools I have had to learn is virtual space planning. There are many different programs out there and it took me a while to find the best one for my needs but I think I finally got it. Basically, I had to find a way to best convey my vision to a client before they bought anything.  If people didn’t need this sort of help, they wouldn’t need my services, so it’s my job to make it as easy as possible for them.

Almost all jobs require a floor plan. A floor plan is drawn as if you were looking down into the room overhead to see how everything fits. This is a basic plan that I started off with for my client’s room.

RoomSketcher Level Image.jpg

This is a very helpful tool for furniture placement. However, in the case of this room, the client wanted a complete overhaul which involved ripping out an old mantle, installing sliding barn doors for noise control, and wallpapering the entire room. They wanted to have comfortable seating to watch t.v., but also a bar area with pendant lighting for entertaining.

With this program, I am able to draw the room in 3d and then move around the room as if I am walking in it. I am able to take photos of individual areas or single walls. After all is approved by the client, we begin the actual construction necessary and purchasing of furnishings.

This is the concept drawing of the fireplace. The client wanted to remove old tumbled marble and put up brick instead. They also wanted to get rid of the existing dated mantle and replace it with an aged wooden beam. Using real brick would have been costly and messy, so we decided on a wallpaper that truly looks like real brick.



and the REALITY!




 The bar unit would also have a wooden shelf installed at counter height with two pendant lights installed above. Shelf units would eventually be put in for glasses.

                                                                        The CONCEPT…

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and the REALITY!



I absolutely LOVE how the sliding barn doors came out! They separate the room from the kitchen to keep out noise.

This is another virtual angle of the room including the television. A custom unit was built for a large screen. Cornices will be going over the windows to match the big ottoman fabric.




The finished product…




this is another angle which includes the barn doors to the kitchen…..



again, the finished product…




This shot is  looking towards the sliding doors that lead to the outside. You can see the cornices wrapped in plastic that will be hung on the windows and slider.




This is one of my favorite rooms I have done so far. It is time consuming to learn these types of programs but worth it in the end. It is very important to me to help my clients visualize as much as possible when planning a project. I was excited to share it and show just how far technology has come. I can’t imagine how much more we will be able to do in the future such as holograms and virtual 3d.

My grandfather would certainly be amazed!