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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Kitchen Design Made Easy: The SketchThis Kitchen Design Plug-In

I've been a Sketchup user for several years now.  In fact Sketchup and the companion Layout software have become the main tool in my design and presentation arsenal.  If I have one issue with the programme it's that it's not "kitchen design" specific.  True, I'm able to create and save cabinetry as components (or download the components others have created) and insert them into my models.  But compared to programmes like 20/20 the ability to modify your cabinets in Sketchup (i.e. change widths, door styles, accessories, etc.) has been tedious at best.

Thankfully my whimpers of discontent have not been in vain, and Eric Schimelpfenig from SketchThis.net has been busy working away at a new plug-in for Sketchup that addresses the needs of kitchen designers everywhere.  I've had the good fortune of beta-testing the plug-in for about a year now and am thrilled to announce that it is now available for you to download.

This plugin features an incredibly flexible library of Dynamic Components built by kitchen designers, for kitchen designers.  In addition to that you’ll find a growing materials library, Shaderlight enabled lights for rendering, and a host of help videos.  Best of all, when you’re designing kitchens you can swap doors in and out right from the cloud. 
Speaking of the cloud, every aspect of this plugin is hosted in the cloud.  What does this mean for you?  As we continually develop and add to the component library every user benefits from every change instantly, no waiting for software updates and long installs! 
Easily my favourite feature in Eric's plug-in is the ability to swap out doors and materials on the fly.  We've all had clients who have said they wanted high-gloss polyurethane doors at the first meeting, only to change their mind to maple Shaker at the second meeting.  With the SketchThis plug-in you spend your time designing, not figuring out how to change the size of a component without having to re-make it.

The plug-in runs on the Mac or PC version of Sketchup (version 8 or later).  The majority of the content is free, but if you're doing a lot of designs the $30/month "Pro" fee will give you access to even more. If you are a kitchen designer, interior designer, or are just looking for a simpler way to create kitchens in Sketchup this is a great addition to your plug-in file.

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