Bits & Bytes
`ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT THAT SKYLIGHT ON THE FLOOR?'
For many homeowners, starting an improvement or renovation project can be a trying task. One of the more difficult first steps is figuring out exactly what you would like your revamped room or house to look like. But now, a simple personal-computer program can help you design and electronically tour your dream house easily before even a single nail is hammered in.
The software, called myHouse, is a computer-aided drafting (CAD) package created by DesignWare Inc., a Watertown (Mass.) startup. Like other CAD programs for PCs, the $130 package allows amateur architects to produce professional-looking two-dimensional floor plans by simply pointing with a computer mouse where things should go. What's more, the program can reproduce the design on screen as a so-called virtual image. More than just three-dimensional pictures, the software lets remodelers choose different "camera angles," to see how adding cabinets, say, might cast unwanted shadows across the countertop.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG