211 of 215 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
The reviews for this HGTV home design software are quite mixed. But the consistent thing about them is that the people that don't like the program never took the time to learn how to use it.
Don't fool yourself - this is a complex program. Despite all of the advertisements that it is "easy," it is basically a dumbed-down CAD (computer-aided design) program. It is easier than using most architect-quality programs, but it is much harder than learning Word. This is not jump-in-and-design-a-house kind of program.
If you have used CAD programs before, you will probably not have too much trouble adapting to this software. Some of the mappings are odd (it took me a while to find where to access positioned cameras, for example), but they're there. If you haven't used CAD programs before, I'd guess you will need at least 2 or 3 hours simply to learn how to navigate the program (and even have an idea as to what kinds of things you can do with it) before even trying to create your own house. If you don't take the 2 or 3 hours to run through online tutorials and at least skim through the 698-page user manual, you will get lost, and you will be frustrated. You have been warned.
So if all you are interested in is creating a basic nearly-to-scale representation of your home and see what different colors would look like on the wall, expect to put 5+ hours to get to that point. If you want it to be accurate down to the inch with picture-perfect furniture, it will take you much, much longer. As an example, I have used CAD programs before, so I jumped straight in, and it took me about 4 hours to put together the structure of the house alone (although wall placement is accurate to the inch). So that's not including any floor coverings, walls, paint, appliances, cabinets, etc, which I imagine will take at least as long, if not more.
Overall, it's a fairly high quality product marketed to people accustomed to the ease of use of an iPod, and I think that's its only real flaw. If you're willing to put in the hours to learn the software, you can get exactly what you're dreaming of: a working 3D virtual model of your home, from carpet to ceiling fans, that you can redecorate at will to see how that new arrangement of furniture in your bedroom will look without having to scuff the floors.
76 of 81 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Several years ago I bought another program to do simple floor plans and 3D visuals, so I was familiar with the basics. I agree that you need to read the book and put some time into studying this program, but it's not that complicated. I was creating a floor plan within minutes. After I'd put in some interior walls, I tried to add windows to the outside of the house. The program refused to put the windows on exterior walls. It would let me add them between rooms, but not on the outside. I emailed Nova Development customer support with the question and waited two days for an response that did not answer the question, but said that the Home Design and Remodeling Suite is not for exterior design and I should upgrade to their more expensive program. I've experimented and found that I can add exterior windows, but I had to trash my previous work and start over.
A gable roof is probably the most basic roof design and is shown on the outside of the product box. The program did not seem to offer a gable roof as an option. I called customer support and was able to get through to a representative in reasonable time. I asked him about the gable roof and he didn't know. He put me on hold for a while and told me that no, gable roofs were not an option. This program is seriously limited.
I'm now sketching my layouts on graph paper looking for a better design program.
40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I believe the objective of this company is to trick consumers into buying both versions. Don't be confused. Home Design & Remodeling (HD&R) is not a different product from Platinum. It is Platinum with random features missing. Not just missing sophisticated features. It even comes with the Platinum manual. (think free trial version). Software like this has a significant learning curve so if you only have the Platinum Manual to look at, everytime you start to struggle, you won't know if you're struggling with a limitation of the software version or if you just haven't figured it out yet. The manual tells you what to do... it just doesn't work. (if you buy HD&R that is). If you're thinking of buying this brand, get the Platinum, no exceptions (I haven't used platinum yet). If you're interested in my specific experience, read on.
I purchased the "Home Design and Remodeling Suite" version for planning my remodel. I thought I could get away with just using the less expensive version because my remodel is mostly cosmetic with move a door here, add a wall there. I figured the platinum version was for designing a house from scratch. I had to make these assumptions because reading the boxes of the two prospective products doesn't tell you what the differences are. I drew my existing house, which took about 15 hrs with the learning curve, if I had to do it again, it would likely take 3hrs. Then I started to struggle with floors. It auto generates floors by room based on where you draw walls, in some cases, the software got it wrong, but I couldn't seem to edit them. (For instance: Currently, my hallway, living room, dining room and kitchen are not divided by many walls so the software made that area all one floor.) The user manual explains how to change it, but I couldn't seem to get it to work. I first tried to go online to see if there were any message boards dedicated to it, then I tried the publisher's website which advertises sign up for the User Community to learn from other users. The `User Community' as it turns out just puts you on a newsletter (mailing list), which of course is nothing like a user community. I then called the customer support number, which recited business hrs that meant they should have been open, but were not. I called back later in the day, got a different recording with different hours. I called back during those hours and an automated menu told me to call a different phone number for technical support. I called it, they were not open yet. Once I finally got someone from technical support, (after about 10 min on hold) we concluded that my version does not support what I'm trying to do. They explained that everyone the same Platinum user manual so my manual tells me I can do things that the software can't, leading to hours of wasted time. I asked if there was someplace that listed the differences, and they gave me this website [...] when I pulled up the website and saw that it lists all of the same interior design capabilities for both applications, the guy told me that yes they do the same general things, but the platinum has more functionality. This concluded one conversation with tech service. Once I calmed down, I rationalized that despite the fact that I was angry at these people, my house was already mostly drawn in their software and if I upgraded, I'd surely acheive my end goal fastest. I called back to discuss upgrade options. Tech service told me that I could contact customer service and they told me that although there technically isn't an 'upgrade', they will let me purchase Platinum discounted to reflect my purchase of HD&R. Called customer service, they refused. Called tech service back, they contacted customer service on my behalf and... no luck. So my only option was return HD&R.
In terms of the money back guarantee plastered all over the box, they won't refund tax, they won't refund return shipping, return must be through tracked parcel service ($$), you cannot have removed UPC to obtain a rebate (many people fall into this trap) and refund takes one "billing cycle" ...what? They only pay by issuing checks... I'm now waiting for my refund (est. 5-6 weeks for refund)
The software? I think the Platinum will probably work very well, if I decide to buy it. I have some CAD/design experience so I knew any software like this would take some work to learn, and it did. If you have no experience with software like this, do not put yourself through the effort of stuggling with things that your software won't do. Do yourself a favor, buy the better version of whatever brand you buy.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I was initially excited to buy this software thinking something from HGTV would be a great product & very user friendly. I was greatly disappointed. I'm fairly computer savy with Microsoft type products, but this was different. All I wanted to do was design a simple kitchen remodel. But after spending hours messing with this, I was really frustrated that I still couldn't view the room. In addition, the cabinet sizes and other items aren't able to be customized.
I bought this from a local office supply store and I'm hoping they'll let me return it!
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I wasn't so sure about buying this product based on some polarized reviews on Amazon. Seemed everyone either loved the software or didn't like it at all. Well, I took a chance, and I'm really glad I did.
The HGTV home design software is a great value. It beats making mistakes with costly home improvement errors, and I found I was able to plan out my entire project from start to finish, right down to the costs of materials.
I think some people are under the misconception that you just push a few buttons in a program like this and the construction project more or less gets done for you. That's just not going to happen. There is a bit of patience required for any of these programs, I'd imagine. It's the power that they offer that make them just a little complex. I know because I've used other ones before, too. But it's well worth the reasonable learning curve - like I said, especially in this economy, where I can't really afford to get it wrong and make mistakes.
Anyways, great program. And the results were outstanding. (In case anyone cares, I was adding hardscape to the front of my house - a short retaining wall, pavers either side of the driveway, a bench, and some pilasters with lights. It turned out awesome - and it's all because I was able to envision the whole thing on the screen before I set out to the building supply store!)