Sophisticated [tag]software for home design[/tag] has recently hit the market, allowing [tag]homeowners[/tag] embarking on a [tag]remodeling project[/tag] to plot everything from shingle styles to window placement and even see how shadows fall across the porch at different times of the day. If used properly, the [tag]do-it-yourself[/tag] products can save thousands of dollars in architects’ fees on a major project. But the growing popularity of the products is making them a point of tension between builders and their clients. Homeowners can spend hours on a design, only to be told they’ve taken out a key beam or put in a toilet where there are no pipes.
In the past year, Chief Architect Inc., one of the two software companies that dominate the home-design-software market, rolled out three new programs under its Better Homes and Gardens brand. One $495 program includes more than 1,500 sample plans and thousands of doors, windows, lighting and other furnishings that users can drop into virtual rooms. The company, which is based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, also launched a scaled-down $149 version, and in March, it rolled out a $19.95 program called Picture Painter that lets users upload photos of a house to see how they look with different paint colors and materials.
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