HomeByMe has recently introduced a major new upgrade which includes some great improvements in Stairs. The new version offers far more functionality and will definitely help you get just the look you want in your home design projects!
Stairs are important in any setting that requires movement between two floors. Safety is the number one concern, so be sure that you are aware of the building code standards in your area as you work on your home design projects. The size requirements of the stair components are meant to be safe and functional for both people and for furniture clearance. I know I’ve had more than a few tricky situations during my many moves.
I tried to think of an example of stairs being a critical part of the structure and realized that lighthouses usually have plenty of stairs, so I created one in order to be able to show you some of the ins and outs of using HomeByMe stairs.
You add and modify stairs in your project while you’re in the Build mode (1). Once you’re there, click on Stairs (2) and you’ll find our selection of stairs (3).
Just click on the one that looks right for your situation and drag it into your floor plan. Here I’ve put all of our stairs into one floor plan so I can show you what they look like in both 2D and 3D. All of them have the default height of 8′ 2 7/16″ to match the default wall heights. If you use a different wall height, be sure to change your stairs too as shown in the next step.
Once the stairs are in your floor plan, they’re easy to change so that you get what you want in each project. Just click on the stairs and the properties will be displayed. The ones shown here are the default settings. Now you can easily match up your stair height with your wall height and change the the overall number of steps (1). It’s also easy to show your Risers (the vertical part of each step) or not, choose which side(s) you want your handrails to appear, and decide whether you want a Landing or not (2). Changing your Hopper setting (3) determines what happens when you add another floor on top of this one. I’ll give details about Landings and Hoppers right after this.
The stairs by default wind up the staircase, which results in triangular shaped steps (see image above) as you change direction going up or down the stairs. Another way to change directions is to add a Landing, which is rectangular and somewhat easier to use. All it takes is a click (1) to change your stairs to have a Landing (2).
A Hopper is also called a stairwell. If you leave the Hopper setting at Yes, when you add your next floor it will already have the stairwell cut out for you (1). If you choose No, then the stairwell is not be cut out (2). As Guillemette pointed out to me, this is very handy when your design needs a mezzanine (3) or other features that you can create using Floor holes.
Moving and resizing your stairs is now much easier and has more functionality. To move your entire set of stairs just click on an open space and drag in any direction. The stairs will snap to walls in the same way that furniture and furnishings do.
To rotate the entire set of stairs just click anywhere on the blue circle and drag it where you want it.
Resize your stairs and keep the stair width the same by clicking and dragging any of the lines in the center of each stair segment.
To your resize your stairs and change the step sizes, click on any of the three outer lines and drag it. Watch your measurements carefully because this is the only way to change them.
To move stair segments at an angle, click on the blue dots and drag them. You can make some very interesting stairs!
To reverse the stairs, click on the blue dots on either end of the arrow and drag it in the opposite direction. You can reverse one end or both depending on your design.
Now that your stairs are sized and going in the direction you want, you’ll need to leave clear spaces at the top and bottom of the staircases. Usually the minimum required distance (2) is the same as or bigger than the width of an individual step.
Don’t forget, you should add protection around the holes to prevent people from walking over the edges of the stairwells! One way to do this is to draw new walls and make them about the height of the baluster as shown in this example.
You can also use Free shapes (Rooms>For all rooms>Free shapes) to create the walls. Here in the lighthouse, I’ve used Free shapes because I wanted them to be bright yellow all over for safety. Walls will always have a white top and edges. That reminds me to mention that you can’t add a color to the floor thickness yet (red arrow).
Another functional requirement for stairs is the headroom (1). I’m tall and I’ve whacked my head many times when the clearance wasn’t quite enough. You can add a Free shape to fill in some of the stairway hole if you need to, but check the headroom clearance carefully by putting a Character (Rooms>For all rooms> Characters) on the stair step directly below the edge of the Free shape. The Character I chose is just over 6′ 1″ so there should be plenty of room in this case. If you’re designing space that will be used by tall people, they will thank you!
When you’re looking in the HomeByMe Gallery for other examples of how to use stairs, check the number of rooms that are listed. If the project as shown looks fairly simple, but has a high number of rooms (1), it is likely to be a multi-floor project. Click on the Copy button in the lower right (2) to open the project in HomeByMe where you can then review each floor and see how they handled their stairs. This example has two more floors to explore (3 and 4).
I hope these explanations and examples help you more easily use stairs in HomeByMe.
Now it’s your turn!