We are in the process of finishing the basement. The part that excites me the most is that one of the rooms will be a dedicated office space. My personal office space. At the moment my work area is also where we keep all the toys for the kids, an office/playroom hybrid. In the beginning I thought this would be a good idea. I could keep track of the kids while I worked. I learned later that if they saw me working on the computer it meant I needed someone on my lap to help push buttons. Not fun or inspiring.
I now have the task of designing my creative space. I want it to be perfect, but I’m not sure what that perfect is. Sure, there has to be a place for my computer and all my files, papers and books, but what about everything else? I love the idea of wall to wall shelving for books, books, and more books. Will that work in this space? How about storage for all those things that I must have in the office but don’t want to look at, where will that fit in?
Enter Google’s Sketch Up 8 – a free 3D design program. With this program I can create a 3D model of the room and play with the colors of the walls, furniture positioning, and see how new items will function in the space without ever leaving my chair. When I’m happy with my arrangement I can go on a virtual walk-through and see the space.
Here are some screen shots from my office mock-up:
But wait, there’s more! For those of us creating fiction it can be used to recreate settings and get a better grip on how different spaces feel. Imagine, you are trying to sequence a complicated scene where several characters are moving around a house or a city. If you have a 3D model you can create a mock-up and pretend you are there. There is a whole warehouse of items that you can choose and place in your model, everything from houseplants to the Eiffel tower.
I will admit that there is a learning curve to using Sketch Up 8. Thinking and maneuvering in a computer generated 3D environment takes time and practice. Having strong computing skills is a must.