Another American one-and-a-half-story home is the Cape Cod. It was built in great numbers for soldiers returning from the second World War. It originated on Cape Cod, a glacial morraine that runs many miles out to sea south and east of Boston. There Nor'easters (fierce Atlantic storms) led to an overhang-free roof.

Cape Cods, if they are authentic, are built almost on the ground, not several steps above ground as Craftsman homes are built. Again, this is due to the Nor'easters.

Warwick, NY, c. 1950?.

Cape Cod without roof overhangs

Edges to Rubies The Complete SketchUp Tutorial

The apartments inside walls

Chapter 6—The Apartment's Inside Walls

The nook, or inglenook, is a common feature in the Craftsman livingroom. The nook below is your tutor's model of a sketch on the cover of the Dover reprint, Craftsman Homes, subtitled Architecture and Furnishings of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, Gustav Stickley.

If you maximize your browser you can see that those nice cloth panels are actually SketchUp carpet. My interior is contemporary, not Craftsman, so we can keep the focus on SketchUp. There is certainly space for a nook in your apartment's livingroom. A lowered ceiling over the nook above is authentic. Another authentic alternative is a nook that is four to five feet tall. Something to think about? Perhaps a 21st century video nook?

Going Alone

At this point you know a lot of SketchUp. Enough so that we'll complete this chapter without meeting a single new tool. (We'll meet some tricky bits, like installing doors in cramped quarters. I doubt you'll be bored.) You may be wondering if you're ready to say goodbye to this tutorial and get started on whatever project got you to SketchUp in the first place. That may be a good idea.

There's a lot to be said for the comfort of a structured, organized learning environment, such as this tutorial. I built this because it was what I felt, acutely, that I needed, but didn't have, when I learned SketchUp. That said, your tutor will be pleased, not offended, if you go out on your own. Here's a bit of advice.

The Table of Contents lists the new tools and shortcuts you meet in each chapter. Actually the list of "tools" includes a lot that isn't really "tools". Scan this list to see what's coming. You have enough background to skip a lot of intervening material and go right to Eraser and Follow Me, for example. Definitely go there. Eraser and Follow Me are important. Look for anything else you may need. You will not otherwise know you need it, so take this advice:

The material in Chapter 7 on Model Info is vital. If you want to go alone in the jungle, do so. But if you go without knowing Model Info, you go unarmed.

The Completed Apartment

Let's take a tour of the apartment. (Your first job is to lay out the floor plan. This tour should demystify that process.)

View of the whole apartment.

As we come up the stairs you see a small entry area off the livingroom. The livingroom here features enough furniture to suggest some possibilities, enough empty space to challenge you as an interior decorator.

Continuing clockwise, the bedroom features a bed straight from the pages of Craftsman magazine at the start of the last century. In front there is the "small room" which you can put to any purpose you decide.

A 3/4 bath (shower, no tub) provides for the necessities. A small kitchen and a dinette complete the apartment. A "pantry" unit separates the kitchen from the dinette. Like the dinettes on RVs and boats, ours converts to a bed for the occasional overnight guest.

Last in our clockwise tour, very steep stairs provide access to the attic. A bit of attic storage is a major luxury for an apartment dweller.

What Are Inside Walls?

Interior walls are uninsulated walls, six inches thick.

In this chapter, "inside walls" means everything that is on the "inside_walls" layer: walls, closets, attic stairs and doorways.


Begin by laying out a false floor.

Temporary apartment floor group 

From the origin draw a Rectangle, 28'4, 25'4. oFFset in eight inches. Select the outside wall face; right click; Reverse Faces. Save it as "apt_flr.skp". (Yes, replace the old one.)

Ctrl+N. File/Import... apt_flr. Click it to the origin. File/Save As... "apartment_inside_walls.skp".

Now we're ready to get to work.

Laying out an interior starts with a floorplan. Sometimes it's pretty vague as you fit things together. Here I've done all the fitting; you just need to lay it out. (Lay it all out on the floor. If you PushPull the pieces up, they get in the way of additional layout.) All measurements here will be taken from the inside of the outside walls.

Laying out the bathroom walls 

The bathroom interior is six feet square. It's exterior is 12' from the left side wall. Lay it out. Don't use the Line tool. Note that there is no interior wall where you already have an exterior wall. If you used oFFset, you probably got that wrong.

Double-check your measurements at every step. Any error will propagate. (Cabinet maker's saying: "Measure twice. Cut once.")

Extending the back bathroom wall 

Next we want to extend the back bathroom wall seven and a half feet toward the back of the apartment.
As you add these walls, delete the little 6" bits of line that separate the new walls from the old. You want just one big, oddly-shaped face that a single PushPull will bring to full height.

Hall walls laid out 

We'll have thirty-inch doors between hall and bedrooms. These require 36 inches of lineal wall for door and surrounding trim. (We get our doors ready-to-install from our factory.) 36 inches from the outside of the bathroom (30 inch door + trim) bring out another wall 48 inches. That's six inches more than we need, but it gives us enough space to add some shelves in the hall. That makes the hall double as a closet-like storage place.

Bedroom/livingroom wall 

Next, extend from the stub wall all the way to the front wall. (That's 14 feet, if you've lost your Tape measure.)

Adding the closets back wall 

This group is completed by adding a back wall for the closets. Set it back two feet from the end of the closet's side wall.

Stairwell Walls

Repeat from Chapter 4: The stairway is 36 inches wide. The back end of the stair well is 7'5" from the outside of the back wall. The well is 117" long.

Laying out the front stairwell walls 

On your own, lay out guides and draw the walls in front of and beside the stairwell.


A well-organized closet is a joy. We need a small bit of full-height (five feet) hanging space. More shirt-/blouse-height (three feet) and a plethora of drawers that take advantage of the full two-foot depth of the closet. Inconvenient drawers up near the ceiling are useful for your out-of-season clothes. In practice you'll want to comb the catalogs of the closet specialty companies. In a model you'll want to suggest the end result.

Closet insert with lots of shelves and hanging space

This closet insert is eight feet long and high, two feet deep.

Create a new file and save it as "closet_insert.skp". Create something similar to the one above. Some hints: group things so other things can move freely. Paint things before you Move/Copy. If you see you forgot to press Ctrl, you can tap it even after you've started a Move.

Closet inserts installed Reopen "apartment_inside_walls" and File/Import... a closet_insert unit. Move/Copy one into the closet in the main bedroom. Move the other into the closet in the small room.

Attic Stairs

A bit of attic space is a great luxury in an apartment. The tenant can have some of those seasonal decorations that you use just once a year without overcrowding the working closets. We're going to access the attic via stairs so steep I've named them "ladder".

Save "apartment_inside_walls.skp". Ctrl+N. File/Save As... "ladder.skp".

Using the same technique you used in Chapter 2, create a stairway to these specifications:

You may find this helpful: [26,0,48],[28,0,48],[28,56,144],[26,56,144]


Reopen "apartment_inside_walls.skp".

Positioning the stairway precisely 

File/Import... "ladder.skp". Click it into approximate position. Orbit so you can see the lower-right corner of the ladder and the corner of the stairwell wall. Move the ladder to snap these inference points together.

Pulling up Walls

The time has come to pull up the walls and to cut openings for our doors. Select an inside-the-walls face. PushPull up 100 inches. With the PushPull tool, select the other inside-the-walls face and double-click. Bingo! You have walls. (At least you do if you remembered to delete those little six-inch segments as you laid out the walls.)

Our doors come from the factory (that is the factory we are going to build in the next section) 30 by 80 inches, plus a one-inch jamb at the sides and top. This means we need a 32 by 81 opening.

For each door we only need a guide to find the lower corner of the door rectangle. We'll pull the rectangle up a bit; type "32,81 Enter" (or "81,32 Enter"?) and PushPull the doorway.

Cutting the bathroom doorway 

This is the bathroom doorway. Draw a guide six inches from the outside of the bathroom. This will position the door. Draw another guide two inches away. This will position the pushpull-out-the-doorway rectangle.

After the PushPull, delete the extraneous edge on the floor.
The small room's doorway is much easier if you do it from inside the small room. Time to Orbit.

Cutting the small rooms doorway 

This is the small room's doorway. The working quarters are getting tight, here.

The guide on the right (two inches from the closet insert) was used to start the rectangle that became the doorway. Draw the guide on left two inches from the doorway after you PushPull. It will be used to position the door.
Orbit back so you are looking from the livingroom toward the small room.

Hidden walls let you cut the bedroom doorway 

When the going gets tough, the tough hide things.

The working quarters for the bedroom door are simply too cramped. You could probably cut it working through the small room's doorway, but I'm not sure about installing it that way. Here I've selected and right-clicked Hide for each of the faces of the bedroom/livingroom wall.

One guide, two inches from the edge of the wall that becomes the doorway, is enough to draw your rectangle. The edge of the remaining two inches of wall will provide an inference point when it's time to install the door.

Hiding things temporarily is a very useful technique. But be sure you create some system to remind yourself that there is something to unhide. I put my almost-never-used pen on my monitor base. (The Edit/Unhide menu item is never disabled, so it gives no clue.)

On your own, cut an opening for a door at the top of the stairs.

3D Warehouse

Why build things for yourself when you can find perfectly good models ready-made and free for the clicking?

Ctrl+N. File/3D Warehouse/Get Models... At the warehouse type "6-panel door" in the search box. Search. Immediately you find a six-panel door, made of Cherry. It's not quite 30 by 80, but that's nothing the Scale tool can't fix.

Getting ahead of ourselves (more in the next chapter) Window/Model Info. File tab. File/Save As... "dl_door". Model Info reports 159,027 bytes. Again skipping ahead in this chapter, we'll have right- and left-hand doors, in jambs, for 53,504 bytes.

Why build things for yourself? Size. Our carriage house is modest in its space requirements. But supposing we later SketchUp a more elaborate house and position our carriage house in back. Suppose we start adding gardens and trees. Suddenly size becomes a huge issue and every 100,000 bytes you save along the way matters. As Ben Franklin would have said, "A kilobyte saved is a kilobyte earned."

Door Factory

We'll build a door in two parts. First, the door itself. Second, the surrounding door jamb.

Ctrl+N. File/Save As... "door_6_panel_30". (The name: you can create a library of doors as you sketch things up. "door_style_width" gives you a lot of flexibility.)

My original, overly-complicated door and jamb 

To the left is my original door and jamb. After some experience with this model, I concluded that I'd worked much too hard. That brass doorknob? Overkill. No one would ever see it. You can't see the hinges in this shot, but they're there.

As far as our model is concerned, a 6-panel door is probably a small waste of geometry. Chances are, no one will ever notice. On the other hand, making components with -1 scale is a lot of fun. This one's pretty quick.

Quarter of the finished door 

We'll use the left-front quarter of the door for editing. Draw a rectangle 15 inches long, 0.75 inches deep. Bucket to Materials and choose any solid wood you like. (Cherry is the only solid wood.) Paint the rectangle and PushPull it up to 80 inches.
It is really fun to create reversed components and edit one letting SketchUp edit the others. Those carriage doors were slick. It is, however, really more productive to edit your first component and use it to create the others. (You don't need to open multiple layers of components for editing.)

Door quarter with construction guides 

Starting from the top, measuring each guide from the last, create guides down four, seven, three, thirty, eight and eighteen inches. From the left go four and nine inches.

Quarter door with three recessed panels 

Once your construction guides are done, recessing three panels is simple. Draw three rectangles and PushPull them back 0.5 inches.

I try to remember to double-click to repeat PushPull operations. Sometimes, SketchUp reverses PushPull direction in a very annoying way. I got "recessed" panels that poked out, not in.

Delete guides. Select all. G to create a component. Mine is "door_quarter".

Second quarter door after scaling by -1 

Move/Copy a second quarter door away from the first, by a few inches. Zoom in. Scale in the red axis direction by -1.

Group of two quarter doors forming complete half 

Zoom in on the bottom to precisely Move two end points together. Group the resulting half door.

Complete this door on your own. Move/Copy the front half. Either Qrotate 180 degrees or Scale by -1 to reverse the copy. Zoom in to precisely snap the two halves together. Group the result.

This door was good enough for me until that line down the middle became annoying. You could use Eraser+Shift to hide it. (That's the same as Select, Right-click, Hide.) The problem with this is that it won't stay hidden. You'll need to hide walls to install the bedroom doors. Edit/Unhide/All will bring that "hidden" line right back.

The solution is to create another layer. I call mine "hidden". Its "Visible" checkbox is not checked. In direct violation of everything I've said about layers, you can move a single line into "hidden". An Edit/Unhide will not unhide anything you've placed in "hidden".

So double-click your door group to open it for editing. Double-click again to open your half-door group for editing. Double-click once more to open your "door_quarter" component for editing. Select the line that is in the center of the assembled door. If you haven't done so, use Layers to create a "hidden" layer. Use Entity Info to move the selected line into "hidden". Click outside your door to close components and groups. When you are finally done closing things, click the "hidden" Visible box on and off, to see your line appear and disappear.

Congratulations. You have door. You need jamb.

Note here: Save. Ctrl+n. File/3D Warehouse/Get Models... Search for "interior door". I liked the very first one. Downloaded it. Wow! Nice modeling—actual raised panels, door knobs, even the latch! I poured a Bucket of Cherry wood on it and saved. 148kB. Your door: 44kB. (I also tried this door using all components in place of the groups. 58kB. Groups rule. All groups was smaller still, but you couldn't hide just one component's line. You would have needed to hide a line in each of four groups.

Normally you open a new file for a new component. This time, we'll not do that. The door and the door jamb are inseparable companions. You'll always use them together, so a separate file isn't helpful.

Door jamb built from a solid block of wood 

The jamb nearly makes itself if you use a solid block of wood and PushPull away the parts that don't look like a door jamb. Create a Rectangle, 36 by 8 inches. Douse it with a Bucket of Cherry. PushPull it up 83 inches. Draw a guide an inch from the edge. Rectangle 2 by 6 inches. PushPull it straight out to the far side. (I stopped here, just to snap the screenshot.)

Door jamb under construction 

Two more Rectangles and Pushpulls and you're closing in on jamb.

Door jamb completed 

Tape guides in 3 inches from the sides and top. Rectangle, PushPull and you have a jamb. Group it and you have a jamb that isn't sticky.

Completed door and jamb 

Qrotate the door 45 degrees and move it into the jamb. Group them.
You now have a complete set of door and jamb. However, you'll need two sets. Yours is called a "right-hand" door. (If the door opens into a room and you are in the room, the hinges are on your right.) Sometimes you'll need left-hand doors.

Move/Copy the door-and-jamb group. Scale -1 and you have a left-hand door. Isn't SketchUp great when you get it cooking!

Left- and right-hand doors

Save your file. Re-open "inside_walls.skp".

Installing Doors

It's time to install those doors.

Doors imported into living room 

File/Import... them into "inside_walls". I've put them into the living room. Make sure that your tooltip reports "On Face". Doors should not float in the air.

You now have two doors in one component. Right-click/Explode the component to get two doors. From here on, select the door you want before moving it.

Placing the bathroom door 

Select the left-hand door. Move/Copy it over toward the bathroom. Qrotate it 180 degrees. Zoom in. Move closer. Zoom in. The picture shows this point in the process. Move, snapping endpoint inference in the jamb to the intersection of floor and guide.

Shift+Z. Orbit. Admire your work!

Doors should, if possible, open into rooms, not out into traffic areas. Placing doors was a dicey operation for me until I learned to move, zoom in, move, zoom in, ... You want to be close enough so that there is no doubt about your final move.

On your own, install three more doors. I'd use the right-hand door in the small room and the left-hand door into the bedroom. You definitely want a right-hand door at the top of the stairs. It will be easier if you Qrotate the doors before moving.

Once you've completed the installation, Shift+Z; Edit/Delete Guides; Edit/Unhide/All. Orbit; admire; Save.

Installed doors

When you get to Chapter 16, remember these doors. You can convert the component instances into movable component instances. Do you think we should display a dialog that lets you open and shut the doors? Or maybe we should do a haunted house thing, where they open and shut randomly? (Drop this whole Craftsman deal for an 1880 Victorian, complete with ghosts?)

Planing the Back Wall

Our final step is to "plane" the back of the livingroom/bedroom wall. The rear dormer is only seven feet tall at the outside.

Laying out a guide with the protractor 

I measured the angle of the outside walls with the protractor: 16.2 degrees. Tape an inference 86.3125 inches above the floor on the bathroom wall. (The outside height of the back wall is seven feet. The extra 2.3125 inches are from the slope of the dormer roof. Trigonometry works. Measuring is more accurate.) Use the protractor (Tool/Protractor, no keyboard shortcut) to lay out a guide at this angle.

Pop quiz! What is the easy way to plane off the excess wall? I'll wait right here while you think about it.

Using PushPull to plane the back wall 

Actually, I wasn't waiting. I drew a line along the guide and Pushpulled the excess wall away.

Edit/Delete Guides. Final step: Select and Delete the temporary floor. Model Info/Statistics, Purge Unused. If you're the fastidious type, delete the faces of the closet inserts that are on the floor, too. Don't forget to create and move (Entity Info) all your geometry into the "apartment_inside_walls" layer. Save.

Orbit around, remembering those door knobs. There aren't many positions where you could actually see a door knob. If you really want door knobs, wait until we build our own furniture and you meet Follow Me in Chapter 8. Door knobs are best done on a lathe.

Next, we create the apartment's built in furnishings.

The apartments outside walls. View of apartment contents. The apartments built-ins.