Month: August 2016

Ashampoo Kitchen Catalog Extension 1.0 In-Depth Review

Ashampoo Kitchen Catalog Extension 1.0 In-Depth Review

As I wrote to you last week, Ashampoo has created a suite of programs that allow you design your own residence or office, business, or many, other structures that you might need to have in your life. In my initial article, I went over the benefits of having these tools at the disposal of the masses, particularly if you are disabled and need customized adaptations and modifications that are not included in many basic floor-plans.

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In addition, to the base software that I referenced in my prior article, Ashampoo Home Designer Pro 3, the companion program/plug-in, called Ashampoo Kitchen Catalog Extension 1.0, from those same fine folks adds specialized cabinets, appliances, flooring, and other implements needed for 21st. Century homes and offices. While the detail designs in the base program offer many choices, the abundance afforded the final recipient of the built structure will greatly appreciate.

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For many, many years, the central room and “town square” of the home has been the kitchen. Since the days of families gathered around mom or the cook, making three meals a day, from scratch, interacting between the parents and children, between the kids themselves, and sometimes the extended family or neighbors, the most time spent in the home was in the kitchen.

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Fast forward to today, when people are in/out of the home, in their own worlds, on phones, tablets, game consoles, with minimal cross-interaction between members of the household; irrespective of this fact, what time spent in the home, with people talking, sharing, or having a common experience, it most likely will be in the kitchen, with the second choice being in the living room/den. Such emphasis can only be necessary if this room is important, inherently, as it, due to its generational significance and the exchange of information that spans the years.

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Knowing this has been a cyclic constant from way back, having the tools that allow us to cater the layout, appliances, and storage, traffic flow, etc., is a freedom that the disabled have needed, but has eluded them. In being in a wheelchair, crutches, walkers, power chair, getting around your home or a place of business can be a daunting task. In 1990, in the USA, a law was passed called the American Disabilities Act (ADA), which mandated that government and commercial buildings, going forward would have to be more disabled-accessible, plus some modifications and retrofits for previous construction, would be rolled out over the years, going forward.  I am sad to report that while this law was a great step forward, the law should have included residential construction, as anyone, at any age, and at any time can become disabled, and having to retrofit or rebuild a home is daunting and very costly.

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Many people have a basic knowledge of this fact, but when they are able to save up and buy a home or permanent residence, they are disenfranchised in having affordable resources to have “universal access-based” construction planning. Companies, such as Ashampoo and their product families have filled in this gap, and allowed us to have these, previously non-affordable resources made available to us, at a fair price point.  The programs, such as Ashampoo Home Designer Pro 3 and Kitchen Catalog Extension 1.0 are shining examples of these tools, and I am happy to introduce you to them.

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In saying all of the important factors that this tool offers, the cost of Kitchen Catalog Extension 1.0 is very reasonable at only $14.99 USD, which is quite a steal. If you factor in the cost of the main program, Home Designer Pro 3, at $49.99 USD, you can have the full suite of tools to make your home and kitchen your own, in design, for under $100.00 USD; cannot beat that easily. No matter what you need in your home, office, and/or other building; Ashampoo will fit the bill for what you need. Until next time, keep on techin’. . . !

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Ashampoo Home Designer Pro 3.30 In-Depth Review

Ashampoo Home Designer Pro 3.30 In-Depth Review

Many people were not very aware of housing and building constraints that affect the disabled, or the modifications they need to be independent, until war, and its effects were put on the world stage, in the early 2000’s. This is getting more exposure, due to many returning home veterans from these recent wars/conflicts, and the help they get from various charitable and government entities. While a tragic by-product of combat, our connected world now has seen that those who have injuries (which modify how they can interact with cabinets, doors, hallways, bathrooms, etc.) need specialized housing, equipment, and accessibility devices. These brave men and women deserve our consideration and help in either obtaining or modifying their homes, so they can remain independent and further support and care for their families, within their homes. They embody how those with disabilities reflect the respect that they disabled deserved, and need to be accommodating to those, who are not as able-bodied as themselves.

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It is a dream of many people to own their own home, especially if they could design it, to their specifications. This is very near and dear to the hearts of the disabled, as well. While many people dream of palatial estates, with numerous stories, diverse rooms, and sprawling grounds; the disabled many times just want rooms that allow them get into them without getting stuck on thresholds, wide enough for their wheelchairs to pass through, cabinets that can be reached from a low position, tubs/showers that do not have to stepped into over lips, etc. These desires are not just for plush comfort, but rather to allow those who are disabled, to be independent and not have to depend on others to fetch their food, bathe them, nor take them room to room. Many times, people do not have someone to be their caregiver, around the clock, so blueprints and architectural drawings that are used for buildings should keep this in mind.

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Having these improvements and design plans should be required, so residences and commercial buildings could be used interchangeably, without costly renovations. Sadly, building codes and typical floor-plans are not made, with these considerations, except in the case of government buildings and commercial structures. Even so, many times, I can tell you, firsthand, the door clearances, thresholds, and traffic flow is not up to the task for easy access, for those in manual wheelchairs.

 

The fine folks at Ashampoo have created a suite of CAD software programs that get thus done, the primary program is called Ashampoo Home Designer 3 Pro. In starting this project, I can tell you that I was overwhelmed and felt ill qualified to design a residence (even with my design background), but the wizard and furnishings that the program provides more than makes up for this apprehensions. Most importantly, these tools can help you brainstorm ideas that you want to incorporate into your dream home, and need for your specific needs. Using the systematic wizard will allow you to set some key parameters, such as your number of floors, basic materials used, and giving your project a rough outline for it to take shape; naming your dream structure will help you make a reality of your goals and dreams tangible.

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If you are need of ideas or basic structures, the program ships with numerous structure and fixture samples. This virtual portfolio will give you a strong sense of going into an architectural firm or design center, and just window shopping or going for your initial consultation; laying the groundwork for how your home can look. I would advise you to choose several different “modal” homes, and use the mouse/keyboard controls to walk through them to better know what actual space you need, and what amenities that you need to properly accommodate your needs, both now and as you and your love ones age. Of note to consider in conjunction with this is to see how your choices in materials, location, and size will be affected by natural light/heat, so you can get an accurate estimate of how much energy consumption the structure might need. This could very well change, as more specialized adaptive devices (rechargeable scooters, lift chairs, stairway lifts, respiration devices/C-PAP machines, etc.) might require additional power and redundant systems to be put in place, and brought online.

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This software is very scalable, with an emphasis on interior designers and architects, but it does offer ideas for the laymen and the intermediate DIY’s alike. Ashampoo believes in this fact so much, they recently had a giveaway version for Home Designer 2.0, to give people a taste of what this program can offer you. If you missed this opportunity, you can still try out their excellent demo version of this program. The retail price for this program is $49.99 USD, and is an excellent value for the money. ashampoo_company_logo01If you need additional options and added fixtures, they have a companion program, called Ashampoo Kitchen Catalog Extension that plugs into this program. I know that once you try this program, and dream about having a universal access home, you will pick up Ashampoo Home Designer 3 without hesitation. As always tell them I sent you, and keep on techin’!