My husband is definitely a jack-of-all-trades. He is surprisingly talented at SO many things outside of his forte as a scientist, and in addition to leading the way in our house building process he took the initiative to build a 3D model of our house in Google Sketch-Up.
I especially need to be able to see things visually and spatially a lot of times before I can make design decisions, so this modeling has been extremely useful for us. It's also just really cool and fun to work with! Of course we don't have every detail on the model yet, but here is a rough draft of what the exterior of the house may eventually look like from several different angles:
Side Elevation (Screened Porch, Master Bed and Bath)
Rear Elevation (Screened Porch and Laundry Room)
Side Elevation (Kitchen, Breakfast and Dining Room)
You can also model/design the interior and add various textures (aka materials) walls and so forth. Sketch-Up even has furniture you can place inside the house if you want to see how different layouts will look. The textures do make the actual model look a little off in terms of color and tone, but it gives you a general idea. For example, we aren't planning on doing a green metal roof (most likely a gray or silver one) but it comes out looking light green on the model in Sketch-Up.
Below is a section of the model looking into the kitchen and breakfast area with the dining room on the far right and the pantry and laundry on the far left. I'm excited to be able to print out these sections for each wall so that I can draw or write onto it notes for materials, paint colors, and other design features.
Section of the what will be the south elevation, looking at from left to right: laundry, pantry, breakfast nook, kitchen, and dining room.
My husband says it wasn't at all difficult to do (but he doesn't think anything technical like this is hard!) but it does take some time and a bit of playing around with Sketch-Up to learn the ropes. I used to use Sketch-Up in graduate school and haven't touched it for quite some time, but I'm learning quickly again :)
Have any of you used Sketch-Up or a similar program for design work?