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DesignIn: Man, I could have used this a year ago

DesignIn lets you collect items from the Web and collaborate on your home remodeling project with people like architects.

I just completed a remodeling project on my house. While I'm pleased with the results and our contractor was conscientious, managing the information around the project was a trial. DesignIn, a new service launching here at Demo 07, is designed for people like me, and the hundreds of thousands of other folks who embark on residential remodeling and construction projects each year.

The two big elements on the site are a collaborative blueprint editing system--where you can sketch out your remodel layout--and a system that lets you collect or "clip" items from the Web and connect them to your layout. For example, if you see a ceiling lamp you like on Restoration Hardware, you can place a link to it at the right spot on your plan. I used the Web clipping service JetEye for this during my remodel, and it worked well, but I like DesignIn's focus.

The DesignIn team also is collecting its own catalog of home improvement goods from around the Web, to make searching for appliances and the like easier.

The service is, of course, collaborative. You can share your ideas with your spouse, friends, your architect, or contractor. What I really like about this service is that the homeowner can kick off the collaboration, instead of waiting for his or her contractor to sign up for the service and start the process.