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Thursday, September 23, 2010
How to Build Your Castle
My modest neighborhood is changing. Where once there were one-story stucco houses, now every other house is a mcmansion. All are two stories, with enough balconies to fill an opera house. Judging by the architecture, the builder bought one set of plans and has been using them ever since, with minor alterations. Now you, too, can build your dream house, with an inexpensive program called Turbo Floor Plan Home and Landscape Pro. It's easy to use, lets you change your mind a thousand times without annoying your expensive architect, and the results are realistic enough that you can take a virtual walk-through each time to try a new theme, change your floor plan or try a new shade of paint. There even are elements for designing plumbing, electrical work and heating and air conditioning. If it's part of a house, you'll find the tools to make it happen. After you've designed your exterior and interior, you can start landscaping projects. You won't have to guess which plants will thrive in your climate — a huge glossary of plants will handle that chore for you. There are tools for building sprinkler systems, and you can watch as plants grow over time. There's much more, such as how to design exterior lighting and how fences and gates will look on your estate. There also are tools for remodeling that will help you move walls, change lighting and do everything the house-building tools will do. Now all you have to do is find a builder with expertise in mcmansions, and borrow some green stuff, the kind that doesn't grow in gardens. (c) 2010, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.