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Every so often, we like to share some of the things that we’re doing with you guys (actually we would like to do it more often, but we’re so busy actually DOING the things that we sometimes forget!).  In the past, we’ve talked about Google Sketchup and how we use it to help our clients visualize what their space can look like with different options.  Recently, we have been “Sketching Up” a LOT!  It has been a great tool for one of our out of town jobs (almost 4 hours from Steamboat), because we can see the house and try things out without actually having to be there.  We have also been using it for another project here in town to help a client visualize the fabrics, finishes, furniture and lighting that we have been proposing.  It has helped her so much to have an idea what things will actually look like in her own house and not just in a fabric book or on a furniture website.

Today we wanted to share some of our hard work with you!  It’s really amazing what we can do in Sketchup, from creating the smallest accessories (like mirrors and light fixtures),  to adding furniture, to building an entire house.  We can add the same rugs, wallpaper, paint colors, etc that we are planning on using to create a tiny little version of real life.


This is a 2d image of a 3d model of the library in our Steamboat project.  We are using this wallpaper, and proposing the rug, the cabinet on the right, and the art piece all as options.  Isn’t that neat to be able to see how things will look in your space before you even see them in person?

Google Sketchup | Home on the Range

The wine cabinet is an example of the abilities of Sketchup.  There is a 3d library that is free for Sketchup users to access and contribute to, but the furniture that we use and propose is generally so unique that we don’t have much of a chance of finding it, so we build it instead!  I built the wine cabinet in the 2D image above from the picture below.  You can see that it’s not exact, but I think it looks pretty close!  For pieces like large sofas and chairs, we will usually find something that is very close in style to what we are looking for, then apply our own fabric or leather to the piece.

Wine Cabinet | Home on the Range

Here is another example from the same house.  In this bar area, we are using really amazing and unique horn sconces (so unique that they’re almost one of a kind!)  Obviously we’re not going to find anything close to this in the generic 3d library, so we build it!  In the background though, you can see wine bottles that we got from the 3d library and arranged in the wine cabinet that we built from the plans.  It’s great to be able to mix our own creations with existing pieces to capture every little detail!  You can also see that we were able to apply stone to the back wall of the bar area and the arch in the hallway.  The possibilities are really endless!Google Sketchup | Home on the Range

Here’s a picture of the horn sconce in real life.  We used this picture and the dimensions that we got from the company to built the model in Sketchup.

Horn Sconce | Home on the Range

This is a picture of one of the bedrooms in the Bunkhouse of our out-of-town project.  This is a crazy house!  It was built over time, room by room, and the angles and heights and pitches definitely reflect that!  We used a combination of photos, Softplan files, and plans from the builder to piece this puzzle together in Sketchup, and have had so much fun coming up with creative ideas for our clients, who are excited to keep this place as funky as it always has been.

Bunkhouse | Home on the Range

Here’s our idea for the bedroom in the picture above!  How fun is this?  We are going to make a bunk loft area, accessible only by rope ladder!  Below, we’ll use a queen bed, and a built in closet with hanging and drawers to maximize space.  We’ll use gray reclaimed wood to keep the cabin vibe going strong.

Google Sketchup | Home on the RangeTo learn more about Sketchup, you can read our previous posts here: are so excited about the possibilities that Sketchup has created for us, and we really enjoy sharing them with you!  It’s just amazing what we can do these days with technology, I still can’t believe that we can see a house complete with furniture, finishes and lighting before it’s even built, or see the results of a complete remodel before it’s even begun!

Also, please visit us on Pinterest, Houzz, and Facebook, where you’ll find lots of great inspiration and ideas on a daily basis!

You may remember when we did a post a while back about using Google Sketchup for design and construction concepts.  Well, today I wanted to share something VERY exciting with you.  One of the rooms that we put in Sketchup to help our client visualize the space and make decisions on finishes is now on its way to completion.  I received a photo of it the other day, and I was floored at how amazingly similar it looked to our Sketchup rendering.  Take a look below!

This is the original image as it was built in Sketchup- we used the program to build this room from the plans to help choose finishes, furniture and accessories.

spa bath updated

This is a photorealistic rendering that we did of the original image to make it more realistic and help our client visualize how it was really going to look:

spa bath updated 2013-04-12 12541900000

Our client approved the finishes, wood, etc, and the building and installing began.  This is a photo of the progress of the room so far:


Isn’t that amazing?  Remember, in the first and second images, the room in the third photo was not in existence!  The first two images are 100% computer generated.  This really goes to show how far technology and design have come, and the possibilities of how far we can go with tools like this are endless!  Just thought I would share!

Google Sketchup is one of our favorite new things.  Have you ever heard of it?  It’s a 3-d modeling program that allows you to build literally anything you want.  Anything.

We started building with it in October, and have used it to create everything from small scale pieces of furniture and custom light fixtures, to entire homes that haven’t been built yet.

Sketchup Pendant Light | Home on the Range

We created this pendant light to put over a bar in one of our projects

Sketchup Cabinet | Home on the Range

We built this cabinet as one option for a powder room (that you’ll see below)

Sketchup Room | Home on the Range

This is the kitchen/dining area for a project we’re doing that is just past the framing stage


We love Sketchup not only because it helps us to come up with ideas and address any potential unforeseen problems before they arise in real life, but also because it is an invaluable tool in bringing our ideas to life and allowing to help our clients visualize what we are talking about.  We find that while some people are visual and can picture a whole in their mind after only seeing the parts, many people are not that way.  People have a hard time seeing a fabric, a picture of a chair, a rug and some hardware, and taking those pieces to create a vision of an entire room in their mind.  Without that visual, it is difficult to make decisions on what you want for your home.  That is where Sketchup comes in.

This is the future dining area of a home that we are working on remodeling.

This is the future dining area of a home that we are working on remodeling.

We build the floorplan, raise the walls, put in windows, doors, ceilings and floors, apply finishes, then add furniture, rugs and accessories.  We can do a single room or an entire house, and since everything is built at its actual size in Sketchup, you can look at your nonexistent space from every angle, and even walk around the room as if you were there.

Sketchup Floorplan | Home on the Range

We begin with the floorplan, and often add dimensions to the image so we can see how much space we have

Sketchup TV Room Walls | Home on the Range

This is the second stage of a room where we add windows, floor and ceiling

TV Room Sketchup | Home on the Range

Next we begin to try out different options to see what works, in this case we are trying to decide on a fireplace layout

TV Room Sketchup option | Home on the Range

We add finishes- notice the wood floor, ceiling beams and window trim

Sketchup TV Room Final | Home on the Range

Finally we end up with an image to show the client. This is our favorite layout so far.



We can easily change colors, switch between furniture options, or swap finishes.  We can then position the room in Google Earth to get an idea of how much light the room will get and when based on any day of the year.  Pretty neat, huh?

Powder room option 1 | Home on the Range

Here is one option for a powder room. We built the vanity and fixtures to exact measurements, and added the mirror and wallpaper from vendor websites.

Powder Room option 2 | Home on the Range

This is the second option for the powder room. Isn’t it so cool to be able to see the same room with different options? No more using your imagination!


The finishing touch that we add to our Sketchup images is with a rendering program.  With the program, we apply light values to all of the materials in the model and render it and Voila!  You have a photo-realistic image of a room that has not been built yet.

Sketchup Spa Bath | Home on the Range

This is the 2d view pre-render


Spa Bath Render | Home on the Range

This is the rendered image of the Spa Bath. Amazing!

I hope you enjoyed learning about Sketchup today as much as I enjoyed telling you about it!  If you are having trouble visualizing what your new home could look like (or more importantly if you need help to even create a vision of what your new home could look like) call Home on the Range today.  Google Sketchup is only one of the many tools that we use to help you create your dream home using a process that is hands on, exciting, and ultimately satisfying.  Let us know how we can help today!

This post (like most posts on the Home on the Range blog) was written by Payje Bier. Payje is the Design Assistant/Marketing Manager/Blog Writer/Facebook Poster/Sketchup Artist/Web Designer/Sales Associate at Home on the Range. Come visit her in the showroom  sometime and say hello!


It’s hard to forget the moment that the full force of the pine beetle epidemic struck me.  For years in Colorado, we have watched our hillsides turn from green to red.  Everyone remarked on how sad it was to see our trees dying, and wondered when it would stop.  But, though the trees were red, they were still there.  I moved to New Mexico in the fall of 2010, and in Albuquerque, no pine trees meant no beetles.

When I returned to Steamboat last spring (2012), my dad and I continued a long held tradition and went for a drive to Steamboat Lake, something we have been doing as a family for my entire life.  When I was little, we would camp at the lake every summer.  We built campfires, pitched tents, laughed and played in the forest.  The place is ingrained in my memories.  It came as a horrific surprise to me when we arrived at the lake and I didn’t even know where we were.  My dad had to carefully explain our surroundings to orient me.  The reason I didn’t recognize the place where we had spent so much time over the years was this: ALL of the trees were gone.  An entire FOREST was missing.  It was then that I understood the full repercussions of the beetle infestation.

Hundreds of thousands of trees have fallen victim to the pine-beetles.  Loggers have been cutting them down, acre after acre, because dead trees make for such a sever fire hazard.  It is nothing less than a tragedy.  But, Coloradoans are resourceful.  It may have taken a little while, but we found a way to reclaim this tragedy and incorporate the remains of our beloved forests into our surroundings once more. We are finding more and more uses for beetle kill pine, and one of the most prominent is using it as reclaimed wood in design.

Home on the Range was recently part of a building/design project that did just that.  We used locally sourced, beetle kill lumber in a project on Dakota Ridge here in Steamboat.  Below are a few pictures of how the wood was used in the project: in the bunk room for paneling on the walls and ceiling, in the bunk room den for wainscoting, and in the bathroom vanity.

Beetle Kill Pine | Home on the Range

Image via Home on the Range

Beetle Kill Pine

Image via Home on the Range


Beetle Kill Pine 2- Home on the Range

Image via Home on the Range



Using beetle kill pine in furniture is also a growing trend.  A blog post by Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture describes this process in greater detail, and uses some beautiful furniture pieces for examples.


Beetle Kill Furniture

Image via Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture

Up-cycling is a popular fashion in design at the moment, and there is no better item to “reclaim” than a decimated forest; nothing better to recycle than a seemingly obsolete piece of wood.  As the forests begin to regenerate and grow again, we are glad to be surrounded by memories of the past in our homes, and excited to be a part of this innovative  process. | 502: Bad gateway

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