Hiline Builders and arch viz

Arch Viz

Featured image by Chris Azzy of stabstudio.com

My Fascination with Architectural Visualization

(arch viz), has me diligently studying to become proficient in the art.

Architectural Visualization involves the use of various software programs and rendering engines working in concert to provide photo realistic renderings of architectural interior and exterior models. With Autodesk’s 3D Studio Max, the VRay rendering engine, and photoshop for post production realism, it’s possible to create both stills and animated renderings that will fool any viewer into thinking they are real photos.

Some of the images are stunningly beautiful

and draw you in with their magical allure. Like this tranquil waterside scene called Bolgatty Palace by Ajai Pk ajaipk.com

Animated Architectural Renderings

Provide a great marketing concept for Architects and Contractors trying to sell their ideas-



This is an exciting new adventure for me and I look forward to being able to showcase my work here in the near future.

Revisiting Remodeling Magazine’s Cost Vs. Value Report

I’ve passed this report along in the past-

and it’s still the best tool I know of to help people get a good idea of what they can expect to spend on their prospective remodels.
So here again is the Remodeling “Cost vs. Value Report” updated for 2014.
This report not only aligns you with the expected expense broken down by mid range and high end projects, but it also allows you to see what you can expect as far the return on your investment, ROI, for your project. See what remodeling activities return the most value.

Just scroll down to the “National Data” and select your region and you’ll be able to download the report for the area nearest you. Or scroll down further to the National Averages for an overview of average costs.

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The Future of Remodeling- My Take

I’m in the middle of reading “The Demographic Cliff” By Harry S. Dent Jr. and it’s left me to ponder over the future of remodeling.
I sat in on a speaking engagement by Mr. Dent a few years back at the Pacific Coast Builders Convention and he has since become sort of a folk hero of mine.

Dent writes and markets an economic newsletter that reviews the economy in the US and around the world by focusing on generational consumer spending patterns, as well as financial markets, and has written nine books, of which two recent ones have been bestsellers.
Harry Dent has been providing predictions on the economic future for decades and has become one of the most respected people in his field.The demographic Cliff By Harry S. Dent Jr. Continue reading

California 2013 Title 24

California Energy Codes 2013 Part 6

The revisions to the California Energy Codes are now being enforced as of July 1, 2014.
Referred to as the “California 2013 Title 24 Part 6″
These new codes are now a part of the C.B.C., (California Building Code)  2013 Energy Codes.
Unfortunately the information contained in this revision is far too long winded to include in it’s entirety. But I’ll try to cover some of the most significant changes.
Most of the information covered here will pertain to residential low rise construction including additions and alterations. Continue reading

The Davis Project



This is a project we did a few years ago for Oliver and Patsy Davis.
One Sunday morning I read this story in the local paper about an elderly couple in Sacramento who had been scammed by an unlicensed contractor.
After taking all of the money they had to fix up their distressed home, in excess of $170,000, he disappeared leaving them with a destroyed house and no money left.
I couldn’t stop thinking about how wrong this was and someone needed to help.
So I began making phone calls and sending out emails and eventually got in contact with the local Rebuilding Together organization who was able to recruit other organizations like the Bayside Church in Granite Bay, and State of BEing.
We were able to collaboratively secure labor help and donations and a year and a half later they were able to move in.
Thank You so much Cindy Slagter and Rebuilding Together Sacramento, My Friends forever Mandy Snell, James and Brenda Bufford, from State of BEing, Dave Coburn and the Bayside Church, Senator Ted Gaines.
And all of the generous people who donated their time and money to get this horrible tragedy turned around.
Oliver Davis has since passed. May he rest in Peace.

Are You Really Ready to Remodel?

Contract Negotiations What to Expect
Although most of the content of this writing can be considered universal in almost all remodel projects, bear in mind that not all information herein is to be taken as “written in stone”.

As a 30 year Residential Contractor, I find that there are a handful of very important procedures that are taken far too lightly by homeowners who are prospecting remodels and new home construction.
The following are some of the steps that should be taken in the proper order to assure a smooth and seamless project.

Do your homework
There is a lot of due diligence that can be done prior to searching out your Project Contractor. Some of the things that need to be researched are; Continue reading

“Legitimate” vs. “Compliant” Contractors

As much as I appreciate the EPA’s concern for our children’s health and safety by implementing and enforcing the new lead based paint abatement guidelines, (or not. More on that later)
And Osha’s recent campaign to assure that asbestos is properly abated.
Due to lack of enforcement, the consequences for us “Legitimate” Contractors are less than favorable. Continue reading

The Secrets to a Successful Remodel Project. Part I

Contract Negotiation

Negotiating a Successful Remodel.

Negotiating the Contract

Having negotiated several Residential Construction Contracts over the years, I would say there are 3 key ingredients to a successful agreement-
• Good communication by all parties involved.
• A well written contract.
• And a certain degree of trust.

Good Communication

Most importantly I have always advocated clear and concise communication on both sides of the table. This means negotiating with honesty, integrity, and all the necessary disclosures up front.
Both parties being able to listen, as well as convey their ultimate goals in a way that everyone understands is imperative.
Continue reading

Making Communication Easier with 3D Studio Max

I’ve always been fascinated by the art of photo realistic Architectural Representation. And now
I’ve finally made the commitment to roll up my sleeves and dive into the world of
3D Studio Max and “Arch Viz.”

I’m a General Contractor who specializes in residential remodels and sustainable building.
Over the last 15 years I’ve sort of weaned my way into Architectural drafting. Using various cad, (Computer Automated Drafting), programs, starting with Auto Cad, Architectural Desktop, and now Revit Architecture. All of which are products offered by Autodesk Inc.

Although today’s cad programs are capable of producing 3 dimensional models of my proposed projects,

3 dimensional models

Revit Architecture offers 3d display capabilities.

there are more sophisticated rendering programs today that allow me to apply realistic materials and lighting while casting reflections and shadows. Creating images that are hard to differentiate from actual photos.

Exterior rendering

3d Studio Max exterior rendering.

Autodesk’s recent acquisition of 3d Studio Max software made it very easy for me to add a powerful new weapon to my suite of Design-Build tools.

‘I’ve always advocated anything to do with bringing clarity into the communication process. One thing that has frustrated me over the years is the difficulty in getting clients to have a clear visual of the finished product using only 2 dimensional illustrations.’

Programs like 3D Studio Max,

with it’s robust rendering engine, will allow me to illustrate finished interior and exterior representations. Including furniture, entourage, and whatever other enhancements I choose.

3d Studio Max Interior

Interior renderings can include all the details.

Another great feature of 3D Studio Max is the ability to create photo realistic animations.

I’m sure this will be the determining factor in giving me the edge over competitive bidders in the future.

Although I’m just getting started and the learning curve presents one of my biggest ever challenges, ( I love saying that ), I look forward to showcasing my work in the not so distant future.
Stay tuned.

Here are some links to some great Arch Viz sites. Bowen Studios , CGArchitects

Hiring a Design Professional for Your Remodel


“The planning and researching phases of a project are the most critical steps in the remodeling process,”
says NARI National President Art Donnelly

I might add they are also the most time consuming. But proper planning and preparation can save a lot of headaches and remodeling dollars.

A major home remodel can be a daunting task. Continue reading