Hard times have fallen on the Catskill resorts in general and on Maplecrest, NY, in particular. It has been many years since this hotel saw its last guest. Even abandoned, it is a perfect example of commercial Craftsman architecture.

Craftsman hotel


Edges to Rubies The Complete SketchUp Tutorial


The apartments built-in furnishings.

Chapter 7—The Apartment's Built-Ins

The following screenshot shows a Craftsman livingroom. It is your tutor's model of the first of four full-color illustrations on the inside cover of the Dover reprint Craftsman Homes, subtitled Architecture and Furnishings of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, Gustav Stickley.

If you use Chrome, Firefox, MSIE or Opera, press F11 to toggle your browser's maximized mode. Press it again after you've taken a good look. (Safari? Maximize, look, Restore.) Craftsman livingroom from Craftsman magazine. Your tutor constantly reminds himself that you are here for SketchUp, not Craftsman architecture. This tutorial does not attempt a Craftsman interior. If you like beamed ceilings and panelled walls, however, I'm looking forward to seeing your authentic Craftsman interior.

Back to SketchUp. How did I bend the metal feet of that lamp? PushPull out an inch of foot. Move the top edge back toward the lamp. PushPull again and you are, as always, perpendicular to the plane—in this case a little bit upward. Continue to Move/PushPull and you can make a pigs tale, if you like. (I won't use that lamp in my apartment. It's a massive waste of bytes.)

The next sections are on a topic you probably don't know that you absolutely need to know. This is need to know.

Model Info, File

You may remember from Chapter 1. I said that Ctrl+A, Delete was a poor substitute for File/New.

Here's why. Open the Model Info window. File/New (or Ctrl+N). File/Save As... "test.skp".

Screen shot, Model Info window, File tab
You might want to take a good long look at each of the tabs of this window. There's a lot there. Most of it is self-explanatory. Here we are focusing on just File and Statistics.

My basic new .skp file uses 7,322 bytes. (Yours will be different, but it should be in that ballpark. If it's not in the ballpark, the techniques we discuss here should make you savvy enough to get it into that ballpark.)

Box with hole in center 

Build some geometry. It doesn't need to match mine.

Ctrl+A; Delete. Save. I've now got 7375 bytes. 0 edges, 0 faces, but something grew. If you continue to add, edit and delete geometry, your empty file will grow.

Why? I don't know. Are we seeing Undo/Redo buffers here? Regardless, it's a fact. If you add exactly the geometry you need your file size is minimized. If you add, edit, delete, add again your file will not be minimized. Now try this:

File/Import... two or three things. The doors we just built. The carriage doors. The toilet. The basement. Whatever. Ctrl+A; Delete. I've now got 165,246 bytes in my "empty" file.

What's going on?

Cached Definitions

When you File/Import... your imported file becomes a component in your model. That is good. The definition of the component is cached (stored in memory). That is good, sometimes.

A square peg that does not fit in a round hole 

Delete everything. Save your model as "test". Open a second SketchUp window. (You can do this directly in the superior Mac SketchUp. On Windows, click the desktop icon to launch SketchUp again.) I drew this peg that doesn't fit in this hole and saved it as "peg_in_hole".
Switch to the "test" window. File/Import... your component. Oh dear! The peg doesn't fit! Delete the component. Switch to the peg_in_hole file. PushPull until your peg fits. Save. Switch to the "test" window and File/Import... again.

Now the problem just got serious. The peg still doesn't fit. It's definition was cached and the second File/Import... didn't bother to read the file. It used the cached definition.

Model Info, Statistics

Still in the "test" window, delete everything. In the Model Info window, click "Statistics".

Model Info window, Statistics tab

That button that says "Purge Unused" is your friend. Click it. Now File/Import... again and you get a square peg that fits inside its round hole. Just what you wanted. Delete everything. Click "Purge Unused" again and return to the File tab. Save.

My model has shrunk from 165,246 bytes back down to 7,821 bytes. Not quite as good as File/New, but definitely in the ballpark.

Once you File/Import... a component it is no longer associated with the file. SketchUp will remember the definition but it immediately forgets the component's source file.

Every SketchUp sub-window that I use, save one, lets you click its title bar to toggle between displaying the window and just displaying the title bar. The exception: Model Info. Model Info is too large for full-time display, so you have no choice but to close it if it's in the way.

The "Fix Problems" button looks like it could also be your friend. It's not my friend. Every time I've clicked it, the button launches a dialog that says "Results of Validity Check. No problems found." That's reassuring at first, but it gets old quite quickly.

Entity Info, Again

You've used Entity Info to move geometry from one layer to another. This is a genuinely useful use. But there is more.

Rectangle; PushPull up a box. Select; triple-click. The Entity Info window reports that you have "18 Entities" selected. (Four edges for the top of the box. Four for the bottom. Four connecting top and bottom. Six faces.) As your models get more complex, you will make a habit of keeping an eye on the entity count.

Entity Info window, group selected Right-click; Make Group. Do you see the "Name:" field. Names aren't just for components. You can name your groups, too. If the group is going to be part of your finished model, it deserves a name. If you don't give it a name, the Outliner will report it as "Group". That doesn't tell you much.

Let's get on to building the built-ins.

Getting Started

Ctrl+N. File/Save As... "apartment_built_ins.skp".

When I did that Save As... I saw that my directory had exceeded my tolerance for untidy, file-it-all-in-one-folder work.

List of major assemblies 

These are the major assemblies that will be pulled into the finished carriage house model, plus "apt_flr".

Create a subfolder named "components". Move everything else into "components" with the exception of junk files such as "test" or "peg_in_hole", that can be deleted.

Now that it's tidy again, begin by importing "apt_flr". The dinette goes in the front-left corner.

The Dinette (1 of 12)

This is unit 1 of 12. Without doubt there's a lot to do. Some are simple enough to knock off in a minute. Some aren't.

Anyone who has traveled by RV or cruising sailboat is familiar with the dinette. It generally seats four for meals and converts to a bed that sleeps two. Ours is no exception. Having a bit more space than you find in an RV or sailboat, our dinette converts to a standard "full-size" double bed. Just the thing for the occasional overnight guest couple.

Standard American Bed Sizes
Twin 39, 75
Full 54, 75
Queen 60, 80
King 76, 80

When you build this, make sure that the benches have tops you can remove, so their "cubes" (small-plane jargon for "cubic feet") aren't wasted. Apartment dwellers need all the storage you can find. Also make sure that the table drops down into the space between the benches to support the mattress. Putting these into the model is optional.

Open a second SketchUp window. (Multiple models are a built-in Mac feature. On a PC, just repeat whatever you did to launch your first SketchUp window.) File/Save As... "components/dinette.skp". Note that you have one clear inference point at the front left. Build your dinette so that its origin matches that point and you will have an easy job when it's time to import.

Make the dinette according to these specs:

When your dinette is ready, import it into "apartment_built_ins".

The Pantry (2 of 12)

Next, we need a "pantry" for the kitchen. As the kitchen is very small, excellent organization is needed. Make a pantry like the one below. Make it 54 inches wide, four inches deep, 84 inches tall. All the wood is a quarter inch thick. I used Color_C11 for a wood-like look without the weight of a texture. Try it first, before you look at my hints.

Pantry cabinet for the kitchen

Hints: A wise old programmer once advised an eager young programmer. "What is the first thing to do when writing a program?", the old programmer asked. "I'm not sure. I guess it depends on the program.", the young programmer answered. "No.", the wise one answered. "The first step is to turn the computer off. Plan with paper and pencil."

I don't actually turn the computer off, but I don't write code, either. I fire up some program for jotting notes, often FreeMind. Think about the problem. In this regard, SketchUp models are exactly like computer programs. Start by folding your arms. Do not unfold until you are sure about what you are going to do.

Decide where to put the origin and how to layout the pantry in your component file. This makes the import simple. Then plan the modeling.

In this case the plan was simple. Rectange a shelf. Bucket, then PushPull. Group! Move/Copy up six inches, 14x. That gives you the shelves plus convenient points for drawing back and side rectangles. Both get Bucket, PushPull, Group. The side gets Move/Copy nine inches, 6x. Save.

Would you like a pass-through from kitchen to dinette? It's your pantry.

Import. (Pantry back left should snap to dinette back right.) Save.

Kitchen Cabinets (3 of 12)

Ready for some easy stuff? The rest of the kitchen is a piece of cake.

The basic dimensions for kitchen base cabinets are two feet deep, three feet high, length determined by available wall space. Fancy bits (that I am not going to model, but you should know if the kitchen is the focus of your model) are that the counter sticks out an extra inch and there is a toe space three inches deep, four inches high. Sinks are generally stainless or white porcelain. Counter tops have few rules. Our model counters will be waterproof and will never burn.

Kitchen counter with sink

I wanted just enough model so that a viewer would immediately recognize sink and counter. This one's two feet deep, three feet tall and 65 inches long. Rectangle; Bucket white; PushPull. Rectangle (sink-sized, no guides); Bucket aluminum; PushPull. Save in "components" as "counter".

Pay attention to the origin in the graphic. Plan ahead for easy imports.

Import into "apartment_built_ins." It's origin clicks next to the bottom-front corner of the pantry.

Stove (4 of 12)

Stoves are also 36 inches tall and 24 inches deep. They are made in a variety of widths, with 24 inches being the smallest for commercial-grade stoves. I love to cook. A quality stove is a must.

Small commercial-grade stove

Rectangle, 24,24. Bucket light gray. PushPull 36. Draw a line across the back for the control panel. PushPull the control panel another 6. Trick coming.

Circle, 12s. (The standard 24-sided circle is a complete waste unless you absolutely need perfect circles.) Now the trick. Divide the stovetop with two lines, midpoints front to back and side to side. You now have four midpoints surrounding each burner. Hover a second over one midpoint, then an adjacent midpoint. SketchUp infers that you want to center your circle. Go slow at first. With experience you can go quite fast—much faster than drawing guides.

Draw one front burner. Mine are eight inches in diameter. Bucket black; PushPull 1; Group. Move/Copy it back ten inches. (That's twelve inches minus a scootch for an unmeasured control panel's thickness.) Select with shift (additive) to select both burners. Move/Copy them to the side 12 inches. Save as "stove" in "components".

Import into "apartment_built_ins". Its origin clicks next to the right-front corner of the counter.

The Fridge (5 of 12)

My fridge is too big for such a small kitchen. But did you ever hear someone complain, "I have too much space in my fridge."? Never. It's 30 inches square, 66 inches tall.

Minimalist fridge

Rectangle 30,30; Bucket white; PushPull 66. Rectange 6,6 at the bottom-front corner of the side. PushPull across and your fridge door appears. Draw a line around the whole door (6 inches from the front) and your fridge is done. Placed in space you might not recognize it. Placed in a kitchen it's unmistakable.

Save and import. It's origin clicks next to the outside back corner of the stove.

The Shower (6 of 12)

This is the halfway item. It's not hard. (And we're only 2 steps from the toilet, that is already modeled.)

Do you have a tub? Do you ever use it (except as a shower)? Seems that soaking in the tub is a luxury lost somewhere back in the last century. Our bathroom doesn't have room for a tub. That's no loss. The shower looks like this:

Three-wall shower surround

Start with a 36,36 Rectangle. Check the graphic to get the origin right. Line between the midpoints of the two lines not on the axes. Delete the four line segments that don't look like the shower's three walls.

Select and Select+Shift the three remaining lines. Move/Copy up 72 inches on the blue axis. Draw four vertical lines and you have faces.

Bucket. Choose the Translucent category. I chose Translucent_Glass_Blue. Click Edit if you want more or less than the default 50% transparency. Bucket the glass onto the three faces. Save.

To import, you'll need to tape out a guide from the back of the stove or fridge 6 inches (the width of the bathroom wall. The showers origin clicks to the intersection of this guide and the inside of the front wall.

The Bathroom Sink (7 of 12)

This shouldn't take long at all. The bathroom sink looks like this:

Bathroom sink in corner unit

Rectangle. Bathroom counters are commonly 22 inches deep. Bucket of white. PushPull to 32 inches, the common bathroom counter height. Draw a circle. Bucket of black around the circle. PushPull down. Save.

Install. Tape out a guide six feet to the next bathroom wall. The sink installs to the intersection of this guide and the inside of the outside wall.

The Toilet (8 of 12)

You made the toilet back when you were a SketchUp newbie learning about the Scale tool, so this will be faster than the sink.

Install. Tape out another guide for the fourth wall of the six-foot square bathroom. Import. You'll need to Qrotate 90 degrees. I installed mine by eyeball, no measuring needed. (Chances are, the plumber will do the same.)

The Small Room Shelves (9 of 12)

I never miss an opportunity to build in some more storage. This adds directly to the "apartment_built_ins" model:

Shelves along two walls in small room

Tape another guide six inches away from the bathroom, for the location of the wall between the small room and bathroom. Rectangle 78 inches toward the small room door, and 8 or 9 inches wide, for books. Bucket with cherry. PushPull up three quarters of an inch. (Your carpenter will use pine selects, three quarters of an inch thick.) Group.

Move/Copy up. Height and number of shelves are up to you.

When I added these shelves as copies with Move/Copy they cost 41,717 bytes. Grouping the first shelf and Move/Copying the group, the price dropped to 17,521 bytes. Groups rule! Don't forget to use Entity Info to name the group.

The Bedroom Hall Shelves (10 of 12)

These shelves are easy, once you solve one problem. They are somewhere out in the middle of the apartment. To take their measure involves some fiddling.

One of the great things about creating separate layer-based files is the way you can fiddle. It's just no problem to create a new, temporary model. Try this.

Using a temporary model to take measurements 

Save "apartment_built_ins.skp". Ctrl+N. File/Import... "apt_flr.skp". Click origin. File/Import... "apartment_inside_walls.skp". Click origin.

You've created a temporary model. Orbit until you can see the wall beside the closet in the bedroom. Its bottom corner is in the center of the picture to the left. Click your tape there.

Without another click, measure the distance to the inside of the back wall (10'); to the far side of the closet (8' 6") and along the wall back toward the door (4').

You now have everything you need to go back to work. Open "apartment_built_ins.skp". No, you do not want to save Untitled.

Shelves in the bedroom hall 

Tape out guides. Drag left and up, 6,48. Bucket cherry. PushPull 0.75. Select all and group. Move/copy up nine inches, 10x (or 11x).

Delete guides and you're done with this step.

The Livingroom Unit(s) (11 of 12)

Some say you have choices for building cabinet type units. I say you don't. You can make a single solid piece of wood, lay guides for shelves and uprights. Rectangle the openings and PushPull out the wood you don't need. That gets a cabinet-looking piece. Forget it. Making shelves, correctly Grouped, is faster and cheaper.

Two similar bookshelf cabinets

Here are two similar cabinets. The one on the left is made from 4 copies of a shelf group and 3 copies of an upright group. It costs 37,229 bytes. The one on the right is made from a block of wood with the openings Pushpulled out. It costs 57,048 bytes. (Note to cabinet makers: if the cabinet is the entire model you have no need to worry about bytes. Model it as you'll make it. Dovetail joints at the corners and dados in the uprights to support the shelves would be good. Has anyone written a dovetail joint ruby?)

The Livingroom Shelves (12 of 12)

There's a whole lot of wall space going to waste here. This is a good chance for you to Rectangle a shelf; Bucket it; PushPull the first one and Move/Copy a bunch more.

Don't forget to create and move all your geometry into the "apartment_built_ins" layer. Delete "apt_flr". Model Info/Statistics, Purge Unused. Save.

In the next chapter you'll build all the furniture. Both giants of the Craftsman period, Gustav Stickley and Frank Lloyd Wright, designed most of the furniture in their houses, so this is really authentic. You'll also meet Follow Me, one of the tools that separates the SketchUp masters from SketchUp wannabes.


The apartments inside walls. View of apartment contents. The apartments furniture.