Step-by-Step Design

Kim Hinman was using Chief Architect years before the company released its first mobile app, Room Planner, for the iPad market in 2013 (it works on an iPhone and on Android devices as well).

Hinman learned her way around the program by going to seminars and regularly incorporating updates. Today, Room Planner—which allows users to quickly place and arrange rooms, furniture, cabinets, doors, and windows—is often her principal means of selling a project (see “Enhanced Reality”). “We see it as an educational opportunity for homeowners to learn how remodeling works,” Hinman says.

After a preliminary conversation about budget and scope of work, Hinman sits with prospects and draws. The program allows her to pull products from the Chief Architect library and to explain what any particular item means in terms of time, scope, and cost—such as, for instance, a $3,000 light fixture that “made the room” but which clients would have been unlikely to consider, and probably not even know about, had they not seen it on her iPad screen. “It’s not just plans, but what’s going to be there,” Hinman says. “They love it that they can see it.”