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We’re excited to talk with David Crawley, Specialist Joinery Designer & Estimator for Faversham Joinery (UK) Ltd. The company is located in the town of Faversham in southeast England. “Faversham” is of Old English origin and means "the metal-worker's village", but in modern day Faversham it’s the domain of these fine woodworking professionals.
David, along with Faversham’s Managing Director, Robin Dane, were both brought up in the trade by their fathers who taught them everything they knew. Robin’s father started Faversham in 1967 in his back yard, providing locals with traditional windows and doors. Since then, the business has grown to 20 employees and operates out of Abbey Barn, one of the oldest tithe barns in Europe, from where they now sell their products nationwide.
Abbey Barn - Faversham Joinery’s Workshop
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, David. Please tell us about your joinery business.
We are a traditional joinery company specializing in hand crafted bespoke joinery. Using both modern and traditional methods, we manufacture windows, doors, cabinetry, stairs and more. We are very strong advocates for the conservation of our country’s architecture. We pride ourselves in producing and replicating joinery from grade 2 listed to conservation areas, the same way it would have been done 100 years ago, in a manner which modern machinery cannot replicate.
What sets your business apart from others in this niche?
I suppose it’s our passion for conservation. We replace windows and doors up and down the country. These items are usually very special and not something that can be mass produced. We pride ourselves in giving every property/client the time and respect they require, and will only produce windows and doors that are suitable, or as originally intended.
This definitely sets us apart as we are increasingly finding the erosion of traditional joinery of windows, doors, stairs, etc., in favour of mass production and cheapness, and in turn we are finding that companies are losing the skill base and knowledge that had enabled them to provide a service that replicates the correct period of joinery products required. For example, if you search today on Google for traditional timber windows, I guarantee all the companies that come up, certainly on the first page of results, will have a mass produced window range which they call traditional and or architectural. I’m not saying they aren’t fit for purpose, just that this is where we differ - they don’t offer bespoke joinery.
We are finding more and more customers, prefer their windows to be replaced as they were traditionally intended when the property was built, with, if possible, some improvements like double glazing and or draft proofing. With us, we are not restricted with one or two designs, as some modern joinery companies are, we will judge a property on its merit and replicate a suitable period design.
When did you start using IRender nXt and how does it fit in your operations?
I actually started using your ArielVision program around 2014, then recently moved to IRender nXt for the additional features that come with it. Because of my joinery background, I understand how items are crafted in the real world which enables me to simulate a bespoke joinery design virtually using SketchUp, then complete the vision using IRender nXt. What’s great about your software is how real my models look after they’ve been rendered.
I’m interested to see some of the renderings you’ve done for your projects.
We have produced designs for a variety of projects, and with the aid of your software, provided our clients with our vision for their bespoke products. Examples of the projects we’ve completed include a featured staircase for a high-end designer home company, new builds, bespoke cabinetry, feature entrance doors, feature window seating and paneling, and a full handmade kitchen. All were created in SketchUp, rendered with IRender nXt, then manufactured in our workshop.
What feedback have you received from your clients about the renderings you’ve sent them?
Every client has given us positive feedback. I believe it’s our biggest selling tool because when our clients see the rendered models it gives them confidence in our ability to provide them with what they are expecting.
Are there any features in the software that you find especially useful?
As I’ve already said, what I like best about IRender is its ability to provide very realistic renders. It’s also simple to use. It’s as easy to use as SketchUp was when I first used it; a very intuitive program that does not require a degree to use.
What elements do you pay most attention to when you render an image?
I need our joinery products to look as real as possible, so I concentrate on timber grain being correctly oriented and life like.
How can we help you take the rendering experience for your clients to the next level?
I would like the ability to consolidate all the bespoke joinery items we have created in SketchUp and render them into a virtual showroom where our customers would be able to use simple controls to walk around either using VR or an experience similar to maneuvering through a computer game. The outcome being that they would be inspired to imagine the endless possibilities of joinery items that we could provide.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, David. It's great to see how IRender nXt is enabling you to bring your designs to life for your clients!
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Kevin Neprud is the principal and owner of Kevin Neprud & Associates LLC (KNA). He founded the firm in 1987 in Massachusetts, USA, and primarily serves the Metro Boston area, North and South Shores, and Cape Cod. Kevin has extensive experience in design and real estate development, construction management, and industrial design.
Kevin’s unusual amphibious vehicle design caught our eye, so we were happy he agreed to talk with us about this and his building designs, and how he brings them all to life using SketchUp and our IRender nXt rendering extension.
How has your use of design software evolved over the years?
Throughout my career I have been an early adopter of cutting edge software, realizing that it is a critical component of the success of my business especially since I do all of the design and production work. I began using 2D AutoCAD in the mid ‘90s, and added Architectural Desktop in the late ‘90s to work in 3D. I was introduced to SketchUp in 2001 and immediately began using it on most of my building designs to create 3D models as well as presentation drawings and renderings.
Renderings of a lot of my architectural designs can be viewed in the Projects section of KNA’s website. All renderings are either SketchUp generated or IRender nXt with no additional editing. Here’s several renderings to give you an idea of what you’ll find on the site:
The renderings of your building designs are very impressive. You’ve also turned your design talents to industrial design, and we’re fascinated to learn more about your vehicles.
In 2012 I launched an industrial design and development company named Nouvoyage LLC, combining the truncated French words “new” (Nouveau) and “voyage” to create an international sounding company name to market a ground-breaking series of high speed amphibious vehicle designs.
Having honed my SketchUp skills designing buildings for so many years, it was a natural progression for me to use it to create these entirely new vehicle designs. An additional advantage of using SketchUp, beyond its ease of use, was the ability to use third party rendering software. After investigating several rendering options, I selected IRender nXt because it proved to be the easiest to learn and I could use it to produce high quality renderings for both architectural and industrial design presentations.
One of the earliest amphibious vehicle designs I used IRender nXt on was a 10 Meter 33’ length amphibious Limousine Tender. As you can see from the following rendered images, IRender nXt helped me achieve an outstanding level of photorealism.
Do you use any other software to improve your designs?
I often use Photoshop or other software to enhance renderings, however all the SketchUp model renderings included here are shown exactly as they were generated with IRender nXt. I have learned countless tips and tricks since that time that have improved my renderings, but include these images because they show what can be accomplished using IRender nXt right out of the box with minimal experience.
You’ve used IRender nXt a lot. Is there something you’ve learned along the way that you would like to share with other users?
Yes! Keep experimenting with various settings to find combinations that work. When you create settings that look good, save them using the “Save to File” button in the “Save Option Values” section within the “More” dialog file tab. Then you can apply the .dfl file that is saved to other renderings by uploading it via the “File” button in the “Load Options Values from” in the “More” file tab. Some challenges I had to overcome using IRender nXt, which likely are equally challenging with other rendering software, were creating metallic looking automotive paint colors and realistic looking water surfaces, but again, if you experiment a little you’ll find a combination that will work well for you.
It seems like IRender nXt has performed admirably in handling the versatility of your designs!
In addition to using IRender nXt to create exterior renderings, I use it for sections and details as well as interior renderings like the view below of the VIP cabin aboard the 45’ amphibious yacht, which was the first amphibious vehicle I rendered using IRender nXt.
Thank you, Kevin, for giving us this insight into your varied journey in design, and how SketchUp and IRender nXt have played an integral part in it!
Would you like us to profile a project of yours and you/your company? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll contact you.