How to Design a Split Level House

Have you ever thought about designing a split level house? At first, this idea may seem challenging, but Live Home 3D can help turn your vision into reality. This article will explain the different techniques for creating a split level house.

We will walk you through the process from understanding the basics to incorporating personal style using Live Home 3D’s variety of tools and features. Although this tutorial is illustrated with screenshots from the Windows version, this functionality is available in the iOS and macOS apps as well.

A project of a split level house created in Live Home 3D.

There are different ways of creating a split level house that you follow while working with Live Home 3D, but we will cover three main techniques that we consider the most effective.

When you want to control the story height, you need to use the Building Properties tab of the Inspector. Although you cannot change it for each room individually, you can use the 2D tools and the Object Properties tab of the Inspector.

Small Difference in Levels

Let’s consider the first case in which two rooms are adjacent to each other, but there is a small difference in their levels.

A screenshot illustrating the floor plan created in Live Home 3D.

Change Elevation to Negative Value

Use the Project tree, or simply tap on the necessary floor to select it, then open the Inspector > Object Properties tab and change the elevation to a negative value.

Two screenshots illustrating the changes made in the project created in Live Home 3D.

Work With Elevation and Moldings

Now select the ceiling and change the elevation by deducting the same value to compensate for the difference. After that, you will need to remove moldings for each wall individually. This can be done through the Object Properties tab of the Inspector. However, there is a way to speed up the process and remove all moldings at once. You can select an entire room on a 2D plan and paint the lower part to match the color of the rest of the wall. It is important to know that you may lower the floor as long as you have a foundation underneath. If you need to lower it even more, simply make the foundation higher using the Building Properties tab.

A screenshot showcasing how to work with elevation and moldings in Live Home 3D.

Enjoy the Results

Using this technique, you can create something similar to a Small Cottage in the Live Home 3D’s Project Gallery. We can see below two rooms sitting on a foundation that equals 80 centimeters (31,5″). The floor in the garage was lowered to ground level.

A screenshot of a ready split level house project created in Live Home 3D.
Live Home 3D
Home Design Software
iPhone / iPad

Bigger Difference in Levels

Sometimes, the difference in levels is so large that you will not be able to compensate for it with the ceiling and floor elevation controls.

A project of a split level room created in Live Home 3D.

In this case, we recommend you use the Ceiling Opening tool in 2D plan view. For instance, if you want to create a room with a height of 4.5 meters (14.7′) and another adjacent room with a height of 3 meters (9.8′), you will need to follow these steps.

Create Rooms With the Lowest Room Height

Create two rooms with the lowest room height. For example, let’s choose a height of 3 meters.

A screenshot illustrating a floorplan of the project created in Live Home 3D.

Add the Second Floor

Use the Building Properties tab of the Inspector to add a second story with a height that equals the difference between room heights minus the slab thickness: Ex: 4.5 meters (14.8′) - 3 meters (9.8′) - 0.20 meters (0.6′) = 1.3 meters (4.3′).

Merge the Rooms

Switch to the ground floor and create a ceiling opening to merge the lower and upper rooms to create a single room with a 4.5-meter (14.8′) height. Now, remove the molding for each wall and paint the slabs.

Two Adjacent Rooms With a Roof

Another scenario with split levels is when you have two adjacent rooms with the roof above them.

A screenshot  of a split level house project created in Live Home 3D.

Create Two Rooms and Add a Second Story

When you want to create that type of house, you will need to create two rooms on the 2D plan and add a second story by using the Building Properties tab of the Inspector. Then, build a missing wall between the two rooms on this story with the help of the Straight Wall tool.

A screenshot showcasing the floorplan of the project created in Live Home 3D.

Add an Autoroof and Change the Wall Type

Now, add an Autoroof and select the room that should have a lower roof. Then, using the Object Properties tab of the Inspector, change the type of its three walls to Loft. Note that the adjacent wall should remain as is, and make sure the loft walls do not intersect with it. As can be seen in 3D mode, the roof appeared only above the room that does not have loft walls.

 A screenshot demonstrating how to add the house roof in Live Home 3D.

Add and Adjust the Roof

To add it for the second room, you will need to add an Autoroof on the current story, switch to the Object Properties tab of the roof and set the necessary elevation for it. If a part of the roof appeared inside the adjacent room, you may remove it by reducing the Overhang volume. The possibilities for roof editing are almost endless, especially if you have access to the Custom Roof tool in the Pro version.

Two screenshots showing how to adjust the house roof in Live Home 3D.

Wrapping Up

Designing a split level house in Live Home 3D follows the same principles across all platforms, whether you use macOS, Windows or the iOS version of the app. Once you master split level for one version, you can easily create them in others. Watch our comprehensive video tutorial below on designing split level houses using Live Home 3D for Windows.

Additionally, you can explore the Split Level Houses tutorials specifically-tailored for macOS and iOS on Youtube to ensure that you have all the resources you need to bring your split level house design ideas to life.

Published: July 2023