This home, neither bungalow nor four-square, is typical of the plans that were published by Stickley in the Craftsman magazine. It is in an area of Goshen, NY near the trotting track—home to many horse owners.

The cement construction was relatively new. (It would reach its pinnacle in Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece, Falling Water.)

The second floor room facing you is a sleeping porch. The large expanse of windows were opened to catch any cooling breezes. In Goshen, this home would be comfortable for sleeping almost every day of the year.

Large Craftsman home with sleeping porch, Goshen, NY c. 1915.

Craftsman cement home.

Edges to Rubies The Complete SketchUp Tutorial

carriage house ground floor

Chapter 3—The Ground Floor

OK, back to Go to the Newbie Forum. Find your "hi" message. (It will be near the top.) Look at your replies. Post a follow-up. "Gosh, Martin was right! You folks are great!" would be good.
Administrative note: If you haven't already done so, switch from the Getting Started toolbar to the Large Tool Set toolbar (View/Toolbars). You're not "getting started" any more.

We're finally above ground, but the real fun won't start until we get to the carriage doors that complete this chapter.

Here we'll begin by examining some odd things that happen on the rg plane. Pay attention—it will pull together soon.

Mysteries of the RG Plane

Your basement is saved, right. Select all and Delete for these experiments.

When you drag out a Rectangle and SketchUp has no other hints as to where to put it, it is placed on the rg (red/green, blue=0) plane. This is often exactly what you want.

Fresh rectangle on rg plane 

Go ahead and drag one out. Using the origin for one corner and dragging into the area of positive red and green is a good habit.

Now you've probably seen that color enough to be familiar with it. But what is it?

Underneath the rectangle 

Orbit until you are well underneath your rectangle. Oddly, the bottom is white.

Faces have an outside and an inside. The outside is colored white by default. The inside is blue/gray by default. When that rectangle was stretched out, you might have guessed that the inside would face down. Not so. Orbit back above your rectangle.

Default white rectangle 

Tap P for the Pushpull tool. Tap Ctrl for the copy mode. Tap Ctrl again to turn off the copy mode. Now pull up into 3D. Orbit around until you are convinced that your object is white on all six sides.

SketchUp has guessed that you probably want to create a 3D object, so it pulls in copy mode, whether or not you asked. And it's a special copy mode that reverses the face of the copy before pulling. As you saw when you orbited, you are now looking at the outside of all six faces.

Showing outside and inside faces 

Delete one of the faces and take a look. You see that you have outside faces on the outside and inside faces on the inside.

Try these experiments: use oFFset to place a smaller rectangle on one of your faces. Pushpull it out. Orbit to the opposite side, delete the face and take a look. You'll still have outside faces outside and inside faces inside. This is probably just what you wanted.

SketchUp a box. Select All and make it a Group (right click menu). Draw a Rectangle on one of its faces and Pushpull that rectangle into a box. Delete the group and examine the new geometry. SketchUp has decided that since the new rectangle wasn't touching anything (groups don't touch other geometry) you probably meant to do a Pushpull with Copy and get a new box with all outside faces on the outside.

(Would you have understood if I said "rectangular parallelepiped" instead of "box"? Rectangular parallelepiped is to cube as rectangle is to square. Use "rectangular parallelepiped" to impress your mathematical friends. I'll stick with "box".)

Now let's take control and decide for ourselves.

The Bucket

If you just call it the Bucket, you'll have no trouble remembering the keyboard shortcut. It's a Bucket for paint. Actually, it holds both color and texture, but for now, it's a Bucket of paint. When you tap B, your pointer changes to a Bucket, and the Materials window opens.

Materials dialog in Materials window

Where will it open the first time? I don't know. Where it will open the next time is precisely where you put it the last time. I like stuff that does what I ask. Put yours where you want it from now on (or until you change your mind).

Before we go on, click the Materials window title bar. It reduces itself to just the title bar. Click again and the window reopens. This is very nice. It means you can use the otherwise blank space in the SketchUp title bar and in the menubar for windows like Materials.

The Materials window has a lot of choices in the dropdown. The default is Colors. Take a look at some of the others. Get some ideas about the extent of your palette. Then return to Colors and click one of the reds.

Delete All and drag out another Rectangle. Note that the Materials window is showing you that you have a white/gray color selected (the color of the rectangle you just drew). Click a red color in the Materials Window. Tap B and click your face. The Bucket paints your face. Pushpull it up into a box.

Red box 

Orbit around your box to ensure yourself that all the surfaces are red. Note that this is not consistent with what happened when you hadn't painted your rectangle. It is also probably what you want. Make a mental checklist item: before Pushpull, why not paint?

The advantage here is that if you paint first, your Pushpull result will have six painted surfaces. If you Pushpull first, your result will have six surfaces that need to be painted.

Let's make a board. On your own, drag out a Rectangle. Grab the Bucket. In the Materials dropdown, choose Wood. Pick a wood you like. Click your rectangle and Pushpull it up into a plank. Got it? When we get to building our apartment built-ins and making furniture, this will be our lumberyard.


To the left is a rebuilt simple house. This time it's built of stone (clicked before Pushpull) and shingled with slate (clicked before drawing the center line that is Moved up to become the roof peak. "Textures" are really just graphics that are tiled over the surface on which you Bucket them. They do give a feeling of texture!

There is also a little trick here. I wonder if you noticed.

This would be a good time to unintroduce the Eraser tool. It's a very useful tool, but I never use it to erase things. If you use the Select tool followed by the Delete key you get a distinct advantage: the item you Select is highlighted. You know what is heading for the scrap pile. You get a second chance (or third or ...) before you press Delete. If you use the eraser, you get one click and no chance for error.

You'll see when we get to furniture (Chapter 8) that there is method in this madness. Time to put our Bucket skills to use.

Outside Walls

Time for the outside walls. Ctrl+N. File/Save As... "ground_floor.skp". Good practice: begin any model by naming it.

Drag a Rectangle from the origin to 28'4, 25'4. Pause.

There's a corner nicked out of the Rectangle. This corner, combined with the broad overhang of the Craftsman roof, gives the resident a chance to fold the umbrella before entering. There's a small bit of free space inside, before the stair, that might be used to hang coats on pegs, to have a small shelf for keys and perhaps a bucket for umbrellas. (It's a small space, so we'll steal a wee bit from the garage. You really don't want the poor tenants to be bringing umbrellas upstairs.)

As you create the floorplan, resist the temptation to pull up walls. Experienced modelers leave this for last. (Last chapter we pulled up a foot of wall. That was just so you could see where we were going.)

If you draw the corner nick before you oFFset the exterior wall, SketchUp would be doing all the heavy lifting. Here's how.

Exterior walls outlined 

Tape a guide 80 inches in from the front wall (the one on the red axis). Rectangle 44,36 from the origin. oFFset inward 8 inches. Delete the two unwanted lines from the rectangle.

The Stairway

Ah, the magic of component modeling!

Stairway installed at intesection 

Zoom in to the area where the guide crosses the outside wall. File/Import your stairway. Look for the tooltip that says "On Face". Slide gently until SketchUp reports "Intersection".

Could it have been simpler? Remember to delete your guide after it's served its purpose.

Inner Walls

Now you have to do a little modeling. Laying out a stair-side rectangle 

Zoom in close on the bottom-right corner of the stair. Rectangle 137,6 for a wall beside the stairs.

Am I sure that "137,6" shouldn't be "6,137"? No. Absolutely not. I have tried to figure this out. I have posted questions in SketchUp forums. Nobody seems to know. I no longer worry about it. Type one. Wrong? Type the other one.

Adding another inside wall 

Add another wall (Rectangle 42,6) as you see here.

Connecting the two new walls 

Delete the extra lines inside the wall.

File/Save As... "no_fudge_yet.skp". (Will be explained in due course.)

As a convenience to the modelers (that would be us) we're going to use 6-inch wall for the front door. (We'll have interior doors that we can reuse here.)

Completing the interior wall layout 

Here the lines that complete the six-inch wall extension have been added; the lines that end the no-longer continuous eight-inch exterior wall have been added; the last remaining bit of the old eight-inch wall is about to be deleted.

In your mind's eye, click Delete to finish the vestibule. In your model, match mine exactly.

Before going on, study your floor plan. You should have one 8-inch exterior wall, continuous except at the front door, and one continuous six-inch interior wall. Refer to the last screenshot if you don't.

File/Save As... "fudge_here.skp". Then File/Save As... "ground_floor.skp".

This is not the last bit of space to be stolen for this vestibule. The big thievery comes when we install the door into the garage. It will open into the garage risking, perhaps, a nasty dent in the side of your Ferrari but saving space in the vestibule. I'm sure you'll think of some clever, Ferrari-saving doorstop.

Back to the Bucket

Here we create our own material. If you do this twice, you should master it completely. The first time, copy me. The second time, make yourself happy.

I'm going to build my garage with 8" cement blocks. Cement blocks are inexpensive and they last nearly forever. I'm going to paint mine offwhite. Choose the Bucket tool, the Materials window opens automatically. Choose Asphalt and Concrete. Pick the 8" cement blocks. They are the traditional gray.

Upper-right corner of Materials dialog 

Click the "+" icon, upper-right in a circle.

It's tooltip says "Create Material..." and it launches the Create Material dialog.

Create Material dialog in use 

Give your material a name. I used "offwhite_8x8_block".

There are three available color pickers. I understand the default RGB picker, not the others. I used 245, 245, 230 for R, G and B, respectively.

Ignore the "H", "S" and "L" labels. The values are for "R", "G" and "B", top-to-bottom.

I try to start with a material that's close enough to what I want so I don't have to change the Texture portion of the dialog.

We'll get to Opacity when we do our shower surround in the bathroom.

Click OK and your bucket is loaded with white cement blocks. Now create another material, choosing your own texture and color.

Offwhite concrete block exterior walls pulled up 

Bucket inside the outside walls and Pushpull them up to 8'4" .
If you wondered about the height (it was 8'7" in the basement), remember that the basement stairs were placed on a three-inch thick floor.

You should know about Pushpull and inferencing. When you pull up the inside walls (next step) don't type the height. Instead, drag up and, without releasing the drag button, put your mousepointer on top of the exterior walls. SketchUp thinks, "Ah! The master wants a Pushpull to that height."

Walls pulled up 

Bucket to Materials and Choose the top-left white from "Colors".

As you did in the basement, double check that the top stair is 5 inches above the wall.

Punching Holes

You now have a fortress. No entrance, no exit. We need doorways for people and vehicles.

Our doors will be 30 inches wide and 80 inches tall. There will be a one-inch frame around the two sides and the top, so our opening will be cut 32 inches wide and 81 inches tall.

Modeling the apartment door 

Orbit and zoom in on the area where we'll model the outside door. Create a construction guide 10 inches from the left outside wall (8 inches wall thickness plus 2 inches for door trim. Drag a Rectangle 32 inches wide and 81 inches tall.

Next, Pushpull the door-sized rectangle back toward the stairs, gently. When your tooltip is "On Face", stop. Click for "I'm done" and immediately grab the Select tool.

Some Pushpulls fail utterly to create holes. Two requirements for success: the wall sides must be perfectly parallel and there must not be other geometry in the way. If you create walls by drawing the outline of the outside, oFFset the inside and Pushpull up, you should always be perfectly parallel. Two sides of a Rectangle will also be perfectly parallel. Two Lines are courting trouble.

And if you recall, we're working from two lines, not from the original oFFset. We deleted the oFFset (eight-inch, exterior) and replaced it with Line-drawn, 6-inch interior. If your doorway didn't Pushpull, open "fudge_here.skp". Is there a problem you can fix? If you don't see one, then open "no_fudge_yet.skp". This time, Rectangle the bit of wall that will be cut for the front door. You'll have to back up quite a bit. Use the In Model choice in the Materials dialog so you don't have to recreate your materials.

Making the second door 

Use the same technique to create the doorway from the apartment into the garage. The guide should measure out 3 inches from the corner. The doorway should be 30 inches wide and 80 inches tall.

Why have a door here? I'm assuming that the apartment tenant may or may not be the owner of the garage and that this status may change during the life of this building. This door will be locked by a tenant who doesn't park in the garage.

Looking into the garage  

Your Pushpull should completely create the doorway. It's rewarding to see, as you Orbit, that you can now actually look into the garage

You cannot, as yet, park your carriages. I'm going to use doors 8 feet wide and seven feet tall, with the remaining wall space divided into three nearly equal segments.

Garage door guides laid out 

Yes, I'm keeping secrets. You have to do your own math. It's easier if you do it all in inches. (It's much easier if you do it all in millimeters, but that doesn't work if you shop at my lumberyard.)

With the guides in place, draw Rectangles and Pushpull to create your doorways. Save. (Your SketchUp window's title bar starts "ground_floor - SketchUp" doesn't it? If not, you need a File/Save As... "ground_floor.skp".)

Carriage Doors

I promised you that this would be fun and educational. It's a fascinating combination of the Scale tool and components. But you don't know anything about the Scale tool, yet, and the way we'll be using it borders on weird. Let's start with something a bit more traditional.

The Scale Tool

Let's jump way ahead of our task and make a toilet for the apartment. Ctrl+N and save as "toilet". Nobody buys your plan because of the wonderful modeling you do for the toilet. On the other hand, if you want people to use what you're modeling, you'll need to have at least one toilet. Let's model this as quickly as possible.

Floor plan, toilet tank 

First, draw a plan view of the toilet's tank. Mine is 8" deep, 20" wide.

3d view of toilet tank 

Pushpull the tank into 3d. 10 inches is about right.

Toilet tank, grouped 

Select, triple-click, right-click, Make Group.

Toilet tank, elevated 

Move up, 15 inches. ( If you hold the up arrow down, your move is constrained to the blue axis.)

Add a 2d toilet bowl 

Rectangle from the lower-left corner of the tank, back to the origin. This will become the toilet bowl. (You'll probably see SketchUp make some bad guesses as you approach the origin. It's not a mind reader. )

Pulled out bowl, too blocky 

Pushpull the "bowl" out 27 inches. It's blocky, but getting to be a recognizable toilet. Now we get to the scale tool.

Toilet bowl with scale handles 

Select, triple-click and tap S to get the distinctive handles of the Scale tool. Save at this point. Then start experimenting with those handles. Watch the VCB box. The value in the VCB is the amount of scaling. 0.8 means reduced 20%. 1.2 is increased, 20%.

Bowl, less wide 

If you move a handle, you scale against the opposite side. If you hold the Ctrl (Option) key down, you scale both sides against the middle. Here a Ctrl scale of the middle grip reduced the width about 25%.

Scaling the toilets bottom 

You do not need to scale 3d geometry. The Scale tool works very well on 2d geometry. If the 2d geometry is connected to other 3d geometry, the possibilities are limitless. Orbit underneath your toileet and double-click to select the bottom face and its bounding edges. Shrink it a bit with Ctrl (center-based) scales in both width and length.

Toilet, completed 

Here is the same toilet, seen from above. At this point my wife passed by. "Is that a toilet?", she asked. I concluded that the toilet was complete. Save it for Chapter 7.
You can also scale to a specific distance. Instead of scaling by a scale factor, add a dimension after the distance (8", 25cm). That will be the distance left after the scale. (This doesn't combine nicely with scaling about the center, but it's easy enough to scale in half way from one side, then the other half from the opposite side.)

Carriage Doors, Resumed

Ctrl+N. Save as "carriage_doors". The overhead door was invented in 1921. Earlier doors were pairs, hinged on the sides. Our 7' tall, 8' wide openings will be fitted out with 7'tall, 4' wide pairs.

Carriage door wood block 

Begin with a rectangle, 48 inches long and 2 inches deep.

Bucket a nice, solid wood. I'm partial to that cherry.

Pushpull it up 84 inches.
Select, then triple-click. Right-click, Make Component. I named mine "carriage_door".

Carriage door, copied 

Move with the copy option. Drag the copy a foot or so in the negative red direction. Now comes the trick.

Carriage door showing scale handles 

You'll need to zoom in on the center of the door copy. Tap S. You need to scale by the middle handle. Zoom in more if you can't be positive you'll get the middle handle. Grab it and start pushing to the left. Type -1. "-1" will be echoed in the VCB.

The -1 Scale gets you a mirror image of the original. The left side of your copy is now the right side of the original, and vice-versa.

If you've Zoomed in you'll need to Shift+Z to view the whole thing. Take a look. Then Zoom in again to move the doors together.

Moving the doors together 

Don't be bashful about zooming in very close for this move. You want to get the corner of the copy door snapped to the corner of the original door.

If you're not dead sure you've got this right, zoom in closer and do it again. You need those end points snapped together. When you've got it right, select the original door and double-click to open it for editing.

Original door open for editing 

Your original door is open for editing. The second door is grayed. As it is a component copy, edits applied to the original will be applied to the copy, too. As the copy is reversed, the edits will be symmetric.

Construction guides on the carriage door 

You'll need some guides. The first is 6" down from the top. Then 12" down from the first; then 6" down from the second. The last horizontal is 6" up from the bottom. The vertical ones are six inches in from each side.

Open a window in the door 

First job is to open a window. Using the construction guides, Rectangle and then Pushpull the window. Note the window in the copy!

Adding planks to the doors 

Rectangle the bottom section. To simulate planks, select one of the vertical lines of the new rectangle and Move/Copy it 6", 6x.
You'll need some substantial diagonal bracing or your door will sag over time. Here's how.

Adding diagonal bracing 

Begin with a line from one corner of your planked area to the other.

The Tape measure tool, if you pull perpendicular to the line, will infer that you want a construction guide parallel to the line. Inferences are great! Run a guide 3 inches away from the line on both sides.

Are you watching what is happening on your other door? It's amazing. Everything you do is done in reverse.

Additional work on the diagonal bracing 

The original diagonal line was just a guide. Delete it. (Sorry, it's in six pieces. You need to delete each one.) Then use the diagonal construction guides to add two lines for the new diagonal brace. Last, delete the verticals in the diagonal brace.

We could quit now as our door is looking a lot like a carriage house door. But we could make one more improvement that will give me a chance to show a new Pushpull feature that is very important.

Door planks inset half an inch 

With Pushpull, choose one of the planks. Push it back .5". That takes a bit of work, though not too much. Now, on each of the other planks, point with Pushpull and double-click. That repeats the last Pushpull, so the other planks are almost no trouble at all. (That is good, because your six planks are now in two parts each.)

Double-click Pushpulls always get the distance right, but they can sometimes get the direction wrong. If your double-click raised when you wanted lowered, don't send me a letter. Send your letter to Google's CEO. (Use if he's not in your Rolodex.)

Your component now needs a final cleanup, orbit around and save. Remember to click outside the component to stop editing. Are your doors looking great?

Carriage doors
I bet you can't wait to install those doors. That will need a little twist from the Qrotate tool, one that we will cover in the next chapter. If you File/Import... these into "ground_floor.skp" you'll see why.

Carriage house basement. View of apartment contents. The apartments floor.