How we do Floor Plans

A few of you emailed yesterday asking about how we do our floorplans.  We draw them by hand.  When we're surveying a room, we photograph it and measure it.  Everything is measured & noted: windows, ceiling height, baseboards, electrical, etc.  



Back at the office, my design assistant, Meghan, creates a scaled drawing of the room & makes a couple of copies of it.  They're then placed in the client's binder for me to work on.  I'll play around with different furniture arrangements.  Like I mentioned yesterday, some furniture plans are obvious while others have many solutions and can be tricky.



I'm not a big tech-lover and am very visual & tactile, so I prefer to move little furniture pieces around & draw on the empty floorplans myself.   One of my favorite tools is  "The Board."   It's a magnetic furniture plan kit.  I attach the floorplan to a magnetic board and the pieces of furniture are magnetic.  Once I've decided upon a furniture arrangement, I trace around the magnets in pencil or draw in the pieces and it goes back into the binder. 



I create a list of everything on the floorplan that needs to be found for the room.  Once I have the list & the floorplan, I can start specifiying products for the room.  I like to use a mix of new & vintage or antique pieces in most spaces so it's a time-consuming process.  At this point the floorplan is more of a guidline for what we're looking to do, and as I find the right pieces- in showrooms, shops, online, etc-  the exact dimensions are noted & the "messy" pencil floorplan is edited for the final floorplan.



Once I've finalized everything that will go into the room and where it is, Meg draws the final floorplan for the client's presentation.  We give our clients a design folder to keep and everything on the floorplan corresponds with the photos on the design board:



As you've probably noticed, much of this could happen in CAD, but for now it's all done by hand here. There's a certain charm to hand-drawn plans that I love.  I'm not sure we'll ever make the switch but if we do, I know I'll still be printing out the floorplans and using the board and drawing on them myself.  It's just part of how I work.

Anyway, I'd love to hear about your process for furniture plans & let me know if you have any other questions!!

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

28 comments:

christine {bijouandboheme} said...

I absolutely loved seeing this and agree, the hand drawn plans are infinitely more charming.

Carla@DesignintheWoods said...

I do hand drawings too. I do have an assistant that does my CAD work and it is great for revisions. I find that clients are most impressed with a hand drawing of their space. Nice work, Lauren. Thanks for sharing this.

Valerie Wills Interiors said...

This is exactly how i work Lauren.... most of my clients are not too interested in all the technical drawings they prefer the rough floor plans and boards with furniture and fabrics, etc.

Dandy said...

If you ever get a hotel project or one heavily involved with an architectural firm,, it would be good to have CAD. As an interior designer, I have been able to do tile layouts in CAD that gave me more creative control-that sort of thing. And you can trace over CAD and even do watercolors from the basics of CAD to make ti look more hand done but very precise for client presentations. For me, I like the precision of measurement you can get with CAD and once you know it, it is very easy to play on the computer and move your furniture around, the same way you do with magnet board. And you can save and print different versions of a floor plan, which can come in handy if you have some changes. Since I went back to school late, I was thrown on the computer early. I don't regret it, but still see the value of sitting down with a pencil and paper. As long as whatever you do works for you and your clients, it's all good. All the great designers of a bygone era worked the way you do, basically.

An Urban Cottage said...

Very interesting to see how you do things. I assume if you use magnetic furniture pieces, you have to draw all of your room to the same scale.

I think I went into the wrong field because I LOVE doing floorplans. My architects had the easiest job because I had done my whole house to scale and reworked everything before I ever met with them. Sometimes I just do a few rooms just for fun and move walls and closets and furniture just to see the possibilities.

I think it's great that you do it by hand. Old-school is very hip!

Karen said...

Lauren,
This is really cool and I love the personalization of your hand drawn renderings. I also like the fact that your clients get to keep a folder so that after the job is finished they can go back to it for reference. How interesting. Thank you.
Karen at Garden, Home and Party

Shannon said...

I draw all my landscape designs by hand. I started college as an art major and have no formal landscape design training. Everything is measured and drawn to scale. It seems more natural for me to get the creative juices flowing with a pencil in hand. I agree about the hand drawn quality. I have clients that frame the elevation drawings I do for them of what their landscape will look like when it's completed. Thank you for explaining the process you go through. I sometimes feel like I'm the only one still designing with a pencil. I love your blog!

diane said...

Very interesting and thanks for sharing all your tricks. I, also, prefer hand drawings to the cold look of a CAD drawing and present it to my clients in much the same manner as you do. I wish I could produce a beautifully drawn schematic drawing, and I can, but it is very expensive and few clients want to pay that fee. In the meantime, they are stuck with my feeble attempts at drawing. Thank goodness for photos!

Peggy and Fritz said...

I can't draw to save my life but in interior design school - I was good at drafting because it was all straight lines. I had found some great templates which they no longer make and it was perfect for me. However, I loved CAD for precision and it is better for hotel or kitchen projects because you can get the measurements precise and changes are sooo much easier. CAD was challenging for me to learn but I did like puting the floor plan in CAD, printing it and doing what you did - I liked to have multiple copies to play around with space plans and I visually liked moving things around. There is another program (CAD people won't like this) from http://www.icovia.com/design/ ICOVIA and I snubbed my nose at first at it being a CAD person - but it's a simple program to use to do space plans and it's made for Interior Designers. Of course, if your working with an Architect they will be using CAD but sometimes the old fashioned way works - i think that's the creative part in all of us.

meenal bishnoi said...

loved your post..this is how i like to work too..though i don't have 'the board'..which sounds like a very useful tool..thanks for sharing your design process..have a wonderful day..do visit my blog when you have a moment..xx meenal

Boo Hazard said...

I try to stay as far away from CAD as possible! Although I do have my own home's dimensions saved and I'll play with knocking out walls, dream renovations, etc. That's when the computer is very handy!
BUT when you're just doing furniture arrangement I do something very similar to you. Question: Do any of yall do perspective drawings as well? I find it really helps me visualize the space more than just a floorplan... - BOO

pve design said...

You know me, I am an old fashioned kinda gal too and I love drawing by hand. Thanks for the glimpse of your furniture layout and inspiration. I love the way you work. It looks like it is working for you too!
pve

chezjolly said...

Wow, it's always nice to see how artists lay things out. Thank you for sharing!
-Jessica & Holly
Etsy.com/shop/chezjolly

Anne-Marie @ 10 Rooms said...

I draw them by hand, as well. Didn't know about that tool - I'm going to be ordering one of those - thank you!

Kristy @ I Design Love said...

Drawing a floor plan by hand definitly gives your presentation more of a personal feel. I usually use autocad because it is quicker than hand drawing, but when I want that personal feel I will hand draw it. Sometimes autocad is necessary for larger projects. I love the "Board" tools also, they come in handy :)

The enchanted home said...

I always favor the personalization and the creative flow behind a hand drawn plan over the techical perfection of one done on the computer, some things definitely get "lost in translation".

Aimee@ the Functional Space said...

Though I came to design through drawing I have somehow turned into a CAD person. When you are moving walls or installing cabinets it can be indispensable (for precision and making changes!) I usually "hand draw" over my plans when first presenting a project to a client though. It gives the drawings life, it feels personal and for some reason makes it feel less concrete so that the clients don't feel locked into one mindset. Love your client package! Very nice.

Lisa, An American Mom said...

This is so interesting Lauren, thanks for sharing.

For some reason, I thought you also did e-design work, as in working virtually with clients across the country. Is this true? If so, is your design process the same? (Of course you wouldn't be doing dimensions, etc yourself)

Debbie Jacobs Designs said...

I thought I might be the only person left that drew plans by hand. I have been in this business more years than I want to tell! It is great to hear of so many that still draft by hand. Love your description of how you work and your pictures and board examples!
I always look forward to reading your blog to see what you are up to...you are one busy gal!

Hooper Patterson and Ann White Schutte said...

I love it. The drawings are beautiful as are the boards. Great post!
Hooper

Stephanie Sabbe said...

agreed, very charming. But I cannot imagine making changes by hand and unfortunately all of my clients usually require a change or two. I do computer renderings as well for the same reason.

Hand drawings are such a dying art. Yours look great:)

Sonya said...

Hi Lauren, I recently found your blog. I'm so happy I did because I'm a student of interior design (and hoping to have my own business at some point) and your blog has served as a source of inspiration and I've loved reading about what you do on a daily basis.

I had a question about your floorplanning process- I'm just curious how much time you usually allow for the finding of the pieces for the room (the part between making the list of items to look for and drawing the final floorplan for the client boards)?

I also found it interesting how you like to do eveything by hand using the magnetic board (which sounds so fun, btw!)... I am learning CAD right now, and although I can see how it will make my life SO much easier in a myriad of ways, I can see the flexibility that the paper/board way would allow when working furniture arrangements. I am kind of like you in that the tactile sense of it appeals to me and I like to "play" with the arrangements by hand. Thanks so much for your post, I really enjoyed it!

5th and State said...

always prefer hand-drawn, CAD is so 'canned' to me.

your presentation is lovely and easy for a client to read, i need to refine mine. thank you for this inspiration lauren
xx
debra

Lexanne said...

I cannot imagine doing floor plans by hand but admire your patience. CAD is so much more efficient, accurate (especially for custom cabinetry and large projects), and easier for revisions that always pop up along the way.

Thanks for sharing!

Sarah said...

Your drawings look great Lauren, and I totally agree that the hand-drawn method is just perfect - I have spoken to local designers here in New England, and a lot of them still have not gone 'techie' -thanks Lauren! :0

Muraca Design Notebook said...

Hi Lauren,

Thanks for this great post. Always interesting to see how other fellow designers communicate their work to clients.

I was doing the exact same method of hand drawing. I agree that pencil and paper makes for inspired, creating thinking. However, last year I discovered SmartDraw. www.smartdraw.com , an easy to use software (not expensive) and you can easily adjust the dimensions of the furniture pieces. I like to print out the blank room and use pencil to flush out the layout, lighting plan etc. I then go back and fill in the pieces with SmartDraw. You can also add your logo and a text box if necessary.

Thanks again for sharing your beautiful work. You're an inspiration.

Culpepper Designs said...

Love your post Lauren. Can you tell me how you create the pictures of the furniture and casegoods that you are presenting to your clients? Thanks!

Jillian Frances said...

I really enjoyed reading this post and getting a glimpse into your process! I'm an interior design grad student and planning to do my thesis on design communication because I'm fascinated by hand drawing vs. CAD/renderings. It was really great to hear your thoughts and why you prefer hand drawings. Do you ever do rendered perpectives for your clients or just the floor plans?