Virtual decorating, more on '3-D Home'

February 21, 2000|By Bonnie Scott | Bonnie Scott,Knight Ridder/Tribune

We live in a 1200-square-foot tri-level home. We live in absolutely every inch of that space. I have toyed with the idea of an addition for years. I have talked to contractors and have a basic idea of the investment involved. I have even gone as far as checking financing options.

Where I seem to get bogged down is in the planning and decorating of the addition. I am not even sure where to start. Then I discovered "Total 3-D Home Deluxe" from Broderbund (about $40 at

This program lets me enter my home's floor plan and then experiment with additions. Using a patented technology called Smart Roomblocks, I can drag and drop additions to the current plan. The addition I am considering would be on multiple levels, so I use the 3-D option to view the plan from any angle.

From the main menu, I can drag and drop a kitchen, a dining room, a family room and a bedroom. Within each room I can click to add windows, doors, furniture and appliances. In the kitchen I can add tile, wallpaper, paint and even cabinet finishes. If I'm not sure about a "finished" room, I can save it like any other file and start again.

"3-D Home" uses brand-name products including Anderson windows, Pergo laminate flooring and Whirlpool. A shopping CD is included, so when I finally commit to an appliance fixture or finish, I can just click to purchase the item.

If I don't find exactly what I am looking for on the shopping CD, I can log onto and browse through thousands of choices. This site is well organized for both the neophyte and veteran shopper.

I bought my house 10 years ago and was very into Martha Stewart and stenciling at the time. To redo my kitchen-family room area, I will have to paint over all of my handiwork. I don't think I want more handcrafted stencils, but I am not sure what I do want. A handy little quiz on the opening page of took me through my likes and dislikes. I found my tastes have changed. I am much more rustic and traditional than I used to be. then pointed me to everything I need to create my new look.

The last stumbling block is, as always, cost. Fortunately "3DHome" includes an expense-tracking feature that lets me see what I am spending. There is even an option to enter contractor bids so I can decide how much to borrow and finance.

If I can just get over my dread of a house full of contractors, I might have a bigger home a year from now.

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