Grand finale
Intrepid antiques hunters, Kara and Paula found in a salvage shop the perfect pair of 100-year-old oak columns to divide the new master ¬≠bedroom suite—comprising a former sunroom and downstairs bedroom—into separate sleeping and sitting areas. Their carpenter, Atlanta?based Patrick North, added built-in bookcases underneath, which echo a similar feature in the living room.

Scouting architectural gems was a breeze, however, compared with their quest to restore the terrazzo floors in the first-floor guest bathroom and on the porch. They set about mixing bags of portland cement and marble chips, only to discover they needed not four bags of chips but 35. After weeks of polishing with a diamond-disc grinder—which rents for $150 a day—they had beautiful honed-finish floors, but the newly painted house was covered in a fine gray dust.

The room that changed the most dramatically was the kitchen, which mixes modern and vintage elements. They chose Mission?style cabinets in natural cherry to contrast with black granite counters. And they splurged on a cherry-paneled double-drawer dishwasher because, Kara says, the idea that you could "wash dishes on top and store them in the bottom appealed to the lazy part of us."

They still shake their heads over unsolved mysteries like the rampant brickwork in the kitchen and living room, and the bullet hole in the stained-glass window. There were plenty of rev- elations, including one they didn't expect: After starting to plant grapes along the property's wrought-iron fence, Kara realized that the "wisteria" window actually depicts a grapevine. As with so much of the house, it was not quite what it had seemed—but maybe even more charming.

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