Creating an Elevated Structure on Pilings

The information in this article applies to:



I am an experienced Chief Architect software user and would like to design a structurally detailed seaside home on pilings. How can I do this?

Beach home raised on piers


Chief Architect is designed to allow you to quickly model conventionally framed structures. A structure on pilings, however, does not fall into the category of conventional framing, so when drawing such a plan, we need to use Chief’s framing tools creatively.

This article assumes that the reader is familiar with and comfortable using default settings, creating and using custom layers, and using the manual framing and CAD editing tools.

There are a number of distinct tasks involved in this project:

Before starting work on any drawing, it is important to set up the correct default settings – particularly for the structural aspects of the plan.

As you set up your defaults, you can also set up defaults for door styles and materials for roofing, casing, doors and other items. However, only structural defaults are discussed in this example.

To prepare to draw the structure

  1. Select Edit> Default Settings from the menu to open the Default Settings dialog.
    • To expand a category in the tree list and view its subcategories, click the arrow to the left of its name.
    • To open the defaults dialog for a line item, click on its name and then click the Edit button, or simply double-click on its name.
  2. In the Floor 1 Defaults dialog, on the Structure panel, under the Relative Heights heading, specify the desired Rough Ceiling height. In this example, 109 1/8″ is used.
  3. In the Foundation Defaults dialog, on the Foundation panel:
    • Select Walls with Footings as the Foundation Type.
    • Under the Stem Walls section, specify the Minimum Height as equal to the required top height of the pilings at the building site, plus the thickness of the concrete pad at the base of the pilings. In this example, 148″ is used.
  4. In the Framing Defaults dialog, on both the Foundation and 1st floor panels, under both the Subfloor for Floor and Ceiling Above Floor headings
    • Select the radio button beside Lap.
    • Specify the Spacing as 16″ O.C..
    • Specify the Joist Width as 1 1/2″.
    • Under the Subfloor for Floor heading on each panel, make sure Rim Joist is checked.
  5. While still in the Framing Defaults dialog:
    • On the Beams panel, click on the Edit Floor Beam Defaults button. Specify the Depth as 11 1/4″, Width as 3″, the Type as Lumber and click OK.
    • Under the Beam Options, select the radio button beside Under Joists and the Align Exterior with radio button beside Main Layer.
    • On the Posts panel, click on the Edit Post Defaults button. Specify the Type as Lumber, set the Post Size Widths both as 12″.

      Note: When a Round post is specified, Width 1 refers to its diameter and Width 2 is not available.

    • Under the Post Footings heading, specify the Height
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Creating a Custom Glass Shower

Several already existing shower and bathtub combinations, as well as enclosures, can be located in the Library Browser. However, if you’re designing a glass shower that requires custom modifications, it’s recommended to utilize the Glass Wall and Glass Shower Door tools instead.

To create a glass shower

  1. Open a plan that you’d like to design a custom glass shower within.
  2. Placing focus on the bathroom area, navigate to Build> Wall> Straight Glass Wall or Straight Glass Pony Wall  from the menu, then left-click and drag to create as many shower walls as you’d like.

    Glass shower walls drawin in a floor plan
  3. Make any additional modifications to the newly created walls, such as their position in the plan, or the materials that are applied.

    To learn more about modifying walls and their various properties, please see the Related Articles section below.

  4. With the shower area established, a door can now be placed. Select Build> Door> Shower Door from the menu, then click within a shower wall to place a glass shower door.
  5. Using the Select Objects tool, click on the door to select, then click on the Open Object edit tool.
  6. In the Door Specification dialog that displays, make any desired adjustments, then click OK.

    General panel of the Interior Door Specification dialog

    A shower wall niche can also be created inside a custom shower by navigating to Build> Window> Wall Niche from the menu, and clicking along a wall to create the cavity.

Fixtures can now be added to complete the space. Navigate to Chief Architect Core Catalogs> Architectural> Fixtures within the Library Browser  to find faucets, shower pans, drains, and other fixtures to place into your custom shower. Additional shower fixtures and hardware can be found in the various manufacturer and bonus libraries located in the 3D Library.

Additional tools, such as the Custom Backsplash  and Wall Material Region  tools can be used to apply decorative tile or other materials to certain areas of the shower, while the Soffit  and Polyline Solid  tools can be used to create objects like benches or shower curbs.

Here are just a few of the different shower configurations that have been designed in Chief Architect using the tools and techniques mentioned in this article. These examples, along with several others, can be accessed at anytime from the Chief Architect Samples Gallery.

Bachelor View Owner’s Suite Remodel

Bachelor view bath remodel with a custom glass shower

Stone Creek Primary Bath Remodel

Stone creek primary bath


Breckinridge primary bath

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Creating a Steam Shower

The information in this article applies to:


I need to create a steam shower in a bathroom and I need to make the walls vapor-resistant. How do I design this in my software?

Interior bathroom with glass walled steam shower


In Chief Architect, it’s easy to setup a custom wall type for rooms such as a steam shower. In this article we will show you how to define a vapor-resistant wall type, and how to design this style of shower.

To define the wall types

Section of a steam shower wall

A vapor-resistant wall needs to at least meet the following criteria in the most common cases;

  • A surface layer of tile.
  • A layer of thinset mortar.
  • Cement Backer Board with mesh taped seams.
  • Vapor barrier.
  • Stud framing.
  • Drywall.

The wall type shown in this article is based on the common structure for a wall of this type. It is always best to refer to the building codes in your area for the correct structure of a vapor-resistant wall.

  1. Navigate to Build> Wall> Define Wall Types  from the menu.
  2. In the Wall Type Definitions dialog that displays, click the New button to create a new wall type.
  3. Name this wall Steam Shower – Interior, add five additional layers by selecting the Insert Below button, and define the wall as follows:

    Wall Type Definitions dialog where new wall types can be defined
    • Exterior Layers
    • Main Layers
      • Layer 2: Fir Framing – 5 1/2″

    • Interior Layers
      • Layer 3: Vapor Barrier – 1/16″
      • Layer 4: Backerboard – 1/4″
      • Layer 5: Thinset Mortar – 1/4″
      • Layer 6: Tile of your choosing 1/4″
  4. Repeat the process to create a second wall type. This wall type however, will be called Steam Shower – Exterior and the Exterior Layers section will have a siding material layer, along with an OSB layer, instead of drywall.

You are now ready to draw your bathroom and steam shower. In this example, we will start with the standard default wall tools, then change the bathroom walls to use the new vapor-resistant wall type(s) mentioned above.

Note: You may receive the following warning for the Steam Shower – Interior wall type:

“The wall layers just defined have drywall on the exterior of what appears to be an exterior wall. Are these layers defined correctly? The exterior layer should be at the top of the diagram.”

This simply means that the program sees the wall type created contains characteristics of an exterior wall, which would not typically have the exterior layer to be made of drywall. You can safely click OK and continue with the rest of this article.

To draw a steam shower

  1. Select Build> Wall> Straight Exterior Wall  and/or Straight Interior Wall from the menu, then draw an area to represent the bathroom.

    Bathrooms walls created

  2. Using the Select Objects  tool, select the room and click the Open Object edit tool.
  3. On the General panel of the Room Specification dialog that displays, change the Room Type to Bath, then click OK.

    Change the Room Type to Bath on the General panel

  4. Next, navigate to Build> Wall> Straight Glass Wall or Straight Glass Pony Wall from the menu, and add two additional walls
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Theory Design creating modern interior for Burrata model at Miromar Lakes

Caffrey & Associates, Special to Naples Daily News
Published 6:01 a.m. ET Oct. 10, 2020


Theory Design’s Vice President of Design Ruta Menaghlazi and interior designer Adriene Ged are creating the interior design for Seagate Development Group’s furnished Burrata model in the Ancona neighborhood at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club.  Priced at $3,295,000 with furnishings, the Burrata model includes 4,068 square feet under air and a massive outdoor living area measuring 1,058 square feet.  The open-concept plan features a living area that includes a spacious grand room, an island kitchen, and a dining area.  The plan’s study can be tasked as a formal dining room.  The grand room and the dining area have pocketing sliders that open to an outdoor living area featuring a two-sided fireplace, an outdoor kitchen, and conversation and dining areas.  The plan also features four bedrooms, one of which is a VIP guest suite, four and a half baths, a pool bath, and a three-car garage.  The master bedroom’s sitting area opens to the outdoors.  The master suite also includes walk-in closets and a bath with dual vanities, dual water closets, a free-standing tub, and a walk-in shower.

Rich Guzman, Principal Designer at R.G. Designs, Inc., has created a transitional modern exterior architectural style for the Burrata model.  Inside, Ruta and Adriene’s clean-lined, modern design will convey a timeless sense of casual elegance while counter-balancing the modern exterior with warm walnut, mid to dark-toned hardwood flooring, and matte black fixtures.  Reverse soffit ceiling details with LED back lighting will give the ceilings the appearance of floating in space.  The model’s roof has been completed and framing and window installation are poised to begin.

The Burrata’s foyer will feature a wood detail in a herringbone floor inlay, niches with furniture pieces and artwork, and a chandelier.  The feature wall in the living area offers molding details with organic elements.  Floating shelves will reflect natural elements of sea coral and woods collected through travels to different ports.  Furnishings will include a neutral sectional sofa with colorful accent pillows, two swivel lounge chairs, and a large cocktail table.  Natural light will stream into the adjacent kitchen through a window over the cooktop that overlooks a private garden with a six-foot privacy wall.  The perimeter of the kitchen will showcase a backsplash that will provide a note of texture, white cabinetry with stacked upper cabinets featuring glass doors, and either granite or quartzite counter surfaces.  Appliances will include a double wall oven and a built-in refrigerator.  A full-height cabinet will be positioned on one side of the refrigerator.  The kitchen will also include a walk-in pantry. The dining area will include a dark wooden table with chairs upholstered with cream-toned fabric, a dry bar with glass cabinetry and a wine cooler, and a floating wood ceiling detail.  The Burrata’s study

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House Democrats will introduce bill creating commission to rule on president’s fitness for office

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Jamie Raskin will introduce a bill on Friday to form a commission that would rule on the president’s fitness for office in order to “enable Congress to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership” in the presidency.

This panel, called the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office, would be “the body and process called for in the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Pelosi and Raskin’s offices said in a statement on Thursday. They will formally announce the bill at a press conference on Friday morning.

The 25th Amendment provides the procedure for the vice president to take over the duties of president in case of his death, resignation or inability to perform his duties. The amendment says that when the vice president and a majority either of Cabinet officials “or of such other body as Congress may by law provide” determine that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” then the vice president shall take over the duties of president.

Pelosi and Raskin’s introduction of the bill comes after President Trump was hospitalized over the weekend after testing positive for COVID-19, raising concerns about presidential succession. The White House said that Mr. Trump remained on the job even while he was at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and that there were no plans for Vice President Mike Pence to assume presidential authority. Mr. Trump returned to the White House on Monday, and returned to work at the Oval Office on Wednesday.

Raskin previously introduced a similar bill in 2017 to impanel a group of physicians and retired public officials to determine whether the president was mentally and physically fit for office.

“The 25th Amendment was adopted 50 years ago, but Congress has never set up the body it calls for to determine presidential fitness in the event of physical or psychological incapacity. Now is the time to do it,” Raskin said in a statement introducing the initial bill in May 2017.

Mr. Trump retweeted several posts on Thursday evening criticizing Pelosi for appearing to consider implementation of the 25th Amendment.

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Westfield Girl Scout Creating ‘Sensory Garden’ Inspired by Cousin

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield High School junior Clara Christian is going for her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement awarded by Scouts, to make the world a better place. Her project is “Veronica’s Garden,” a sensory garden for people with special needs located off Mountain Avenue within Mindowaskin Park.

The garden is inspired by Clara’s cousin, Veronica, who is 14 and has Down Syndrome.

On March 10, the Westfield Town Council approved the project, with support and guidance from Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea. It will take up approximately 2,500 square feet in total.

Clara needs about $2,000 more in donations by some time in October to finish the garden, said her mother this week. (If you’d like to learn more about Clara’s project or donate, see her website HERE.)

Help from the city and businesses

The public and private project has taken over a year and a half to plan.

The town repaved all the paths in Mindowaskin Park recently to provide easier access throughout the park.

Westfield town leaders have been instrumental and encouraging throughout the journey, her mother said.

And local business have donated service. Scape-Abilities owner Steve Costalos created the garden plan as a donation. Dreyer Farms in Cranford has been instrumental in selecting the plants and guiding Clara as she prepares for the build.

Town Engineer Kris McAloon was able to install a new water pit and electricity to prepare for the garden’s irrigation system that was installed by A. Priscoe Irrigation at cost.

To learn more, see the website here.

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Award-winning Chattanooga designer offers tips on creating your dream kitchen

When Jackie Howard gets a call for one of her award-winning kitchen designs, her first thought is, “Please, not another white kitchen.”

The founder and owner of Scarlett’s Cabinetry, Howard has spent more than 30 years making clients’ dreams for their home come true. Her designs garnered her the title of “Best of the Best” in this year’s people’s choice awards by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Howard has seen countless trends come and go — like white kitchens, which have endured since the 1920s, when white was about the only color on offer. The country had just come out of the Spanish flu pandemic and a gleaming white kitchen was associated with sterilization, a huge selling point at the time.

Today’s crisp white kitchens can speak of cleanliness or homeyness, elegance or minimalism. In a word, they remain timeless.

“White kitchens still sell homes,” Howard says.

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Award-winning Chattanooga offers tips for designing your kitchen

But today’s kitchens are no longer sequestered at the back of the house, tucked behind swinging doors and walls. They are the heart of the home both literally and figuratively. As such, Howard works to blend them into their surroundings, creating a seamless flow in the open, shared living spaces preferred today.

“Kitchens being open to the living space, you want to look in there and be happy. You want it to look like the rest of the space,” she says. “If you’ve got a lot of contrasting colors — even grays and whites — it screams ‘kitchen.'”

Here, Howard shares three of her kitchen designs and what they can teach us.


“I think the biggest compliment of this kitchen is when you walk in you really have to look for the kitchen. Each piece is like a fine piece of furniture.”

This kitchen, designed for a family of five on Signal Mountain, channels an Old World French vibe.

“You can obviously tell she wants that warm, cozy, lived-in kitchen feel,” says Howard.

But some of the most important details from her rigorous client interview process aren’t necessarily about aesthetics, but whether a family cooks together, who cooks most often, even the height of the most prominent cook. This knowledge helps her determine spacing, placement and flow.

There’s no need for a pantry.

“A lot of people are scared of giving up a walk-in pantry,” Howard says, though she recommends maximizing every square inch by opting for drawers and slide-out cupboards.

Drawers offer seamless storage, both aesthetically and practically.

“You want everything at your hands … [so] anytime you can put a set of drawers instead of cabinets or pulls [I recommend it],” she says, adding, “We know now that, except for a big stockpot, everything can go in a drawer.” Instead, keep those big stockpots in a cabinet above the fridge.

Ceiling-height cabinets are handy, even if they’re not the most accessible.

“A lot of clients had cabinets that did not go to the ceiling,” says Howard. “What’s

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Hanging Indoor Plants Best for Creating Wilderness

a vase of flowers on a plant: Jungle-Theme Décor: Hanging Indoor Plants Best for Creating Wilderness

© Provided by News18
Jungle-Theme Décor: Hanging Indoor Plants Best for Creating Wilderness

[hans]People are trying to get busier in their homes since the pandemic. Creativity and hobbies have been the new hype this year. Beautifying or decorating our homes is a perfect way of killing your time efficiently while you are locked up inside your houses. Hanging houseplants is the most hype for creating the bohemian décor of the living space or indoor jungles inside the house. The demand for indoor pants has been shooting up after Instagram influencers were seen designing the indoor jungles.

Indoor plants like succulents can add an exquisite touch to your home. In fact, hanging plants brings greenery without taking all the space in the room. So, here are some plants which can be a hanging plant décor to create the indoor jungle look of your space:

Fishbone Cactus: This cactus plant is perfect for adding a bit of character to your living space. It is a wild cactus, which means it thrives in moist and warm conditions. You need to water more frequently than other cactus. Hanging Golden Pothos: It is a very popular choice as it is easy to care plant with high adaptability. You can hang it from the ceiling, clutch it on a window rod, place it on the edge of the windowsill or put it on the top of a bookshelf to trail down. Hang the plant where it can get a lot of sunlight and water it occasionally.

String of Pearls: The string of pearls is a unique-looking succulent that thrives with a lot of bright light. You can place it on a windowsill or hang it from a curtain pole. It’s easy to know that the plants need water after the completely dried topsoil. You can also put it on a side-table of the room to add elegance with the pearl-like drops of greenery.

Wax Plant: You can hang it adjacent to a white wall to give the fantastic look. This plant can grow up to six feet long and easily grown in dry to semi-dry soil. Just water them once in a while and they are happy to creep out more.

Hanging Satin Pothos: This pothos is fit to be décor in any room with its trailing stems and silvery leaves. They are originally grown in the rainforest, which makes the satin pothos adjustable in a shady light. So, you can put it in any place of the room, even in the darker area with indirect sunlight, and water it when the topsoil has dried out.

String of Hearts: The delicate heart-shaped leaves budding on the string steal away the attention of the room. This plant is perfect for side-table or on top of a bookshelf and looks like a heart-shaped waterfall.

Spiderwort: This spiderwort is a multi-colour leaf with a purple underside and makes a perfect fit for a side table on dull corners. This trailing plant prefers to keep its soil moist all the

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AND Studio creating sustainable homes with eco-friendly luxury interior design & renovation

09/13/2020, Malaysia, Johor Bahru // KISSPR //

September 14, 2020: All those who are under the misconception that luxury and sustainability don’t go hand in hand need to have a second thought. A leading Malaysian interior designer, Andreas Budiman, has debunked the myth like a boss with his innovative eco-friendly yet plush interior design and home renovation projects. The founder of Malaysia’s top interior design studio AND Studio, Mr. Budiman specializes in creating sustainable homes that can save on energy costs

A name of big repute across Malaysia and Singapore residential renovation scene, AND Studio is a full-service interior design and home renovation firm. The company offers specialized design consulting and home remodeling services and caters to all kinds of home renovation projects. Whether it’s a luxury makeover just for the kitchen or an overall makeover of an entire home, Mr. Budiman and his team are ready to work for all.

What separates Mr. Budiman’s approach from that of the regular interior designers is his major emphasis in incorporating natural elements in his projects with due respect to the safety of the planet. One of his recent projects was a condo makeover with natural design and elements which has introduced a new wave in the traditional scene of interior design in Malaysia. Located in a highly urbanized area, the condo has been transformed from a 4-decade-old house into a plush grand home, accentuated with natural elements.

“The beauty of natural elements was the main concept behind the designing and renovation of the condo”, said Mr. Budiman while speaking about incorporating natural elements in his recent project.

The house has been decked up with natural stones like marble which has brought a classy edge to the overall condo. Moreover, AND Studio has incorporated natural lighting in the home renovation project as much as possible to ensure almost zero energy consumption. 

“With the ‘go green’ campaign going strong with each passing day, homeowners are really conscious about attaining a sustainable design and eco-friendly living. But, in most of the cases, they are curious about how to incorporate that ethos into their homes and need a guiding support here. This is where we come in.”

“We try to bring in a natural feel in homes with the help of natural stones, like the way we did in one of our last projects. Natural stones carry a timeless appeal and they always add a dose of class when you are seeking a luxury makeover for your home. Moreover, they are durable. Besides, we focus a lot on getting in natural lighting for your home to reduce energy consumption as much as possible. We believe in creating sustainable home designs that would be pleasing to the eye, easy on pocket and also would contribute to the betterment of the planet.”

While asked whether they had to face challenges while incorporating natural elements in their projects, Mr. Budiman mentioned a number of handicaps which they had to learn to tackle. He noted about the difficulties in

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Theory Design creating interior for Bal Harbour model at Hill Tide Estates


BOCA GRANDE — Theory Design’s Vice President of Design Ruta Menaghlazi is creating a spectacular interior design for Seagate Development Group’s furnished Bal Harbour model now under construction at Hill Tide Estates, a 9.98-acre gated enclave on the southern tip of Boca Grande being developed by Seagate. Priced at $6,900,000 with furnishings, the Bal Harbour is one of three models available for purchase at Hill Tide Estates.  Seagate’s completed Captiva model is open for viewing and also features an interior design by Ruta Menaghlazi.  Theory Design was named recipient of a 2019 Aurora Award for the Captiva’s interior in the Best Interior Design of a Home Priced over $2 million category.  Seagate was presented an Aurora Award for the Captiva in the Best Single-Family Detached Home Over 4,000 Square Feet category.  In addition to the Bal Harbour and the Captiva, BCB Homes’ Beacon model is in development.

Hill Tide Estates’ sales personnel are located in the Captiva model.  Showing appointments between 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday can be made by contacting Seagate’s Heath Seckel at 863.207.2586 or via email at [email protected] 

Designed by RG Designs, the three-level Bal Harbour floor plan includes 5,198 square feet under air on the two living levels.  The plan’s ground level entry and a front porch are flanked by two oversized garages.  In addition to the garage areas, the ground level includes massive storage spaces that are perfect for storing beach, fishing, and boating gear.  A ground level foyer provides access to an elevator and a staircase that lead to the living levels.  The first living level will showcase a spacious great room, an island kitchen, dining area, study, and a second master suite.  The entire living area, including the study and second master suite, open to a deck with a pool and spa, and to an outdoor living area with conversation and dining areas, an outdoor kitchen, and a pool bath.  The second living level features a bonus room with a wet bar, the master suite, and two VIP guest suites.  The bonus room, master suite, and one of the VIP guest suites open to a deck that will offer an ideal place to enjoy sunsets over the Gulf.  The deck overlooks the pool and outdoor living area. 

Ruta’s interior design for the Bal Harbour model will convey a relaxing combination of coastal, rustic, and modern styles.  The “at the beach” motif will be established by the home’s white windows and trim, a striking standing seam metal roof, and Hardy-Board siding.  Inside, white linen and soft grey wall tones will be contrasted by grey, navy blue, and pear green accents.  The color palette will play against brushed light oak hardwood flooring.  The

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