But just because the This Old House team got to call on all its expertise doesn't mean there wasn't the occasional complication. For example, the barn, the element of the 1849 homestead that initially charmed the team, ultimately proved quite challenging to restore. "We literally had to pick it up, clean it out, put it back together, and then insulate, wire, and fit it with windows," Bruce says. "It took a lot before it became the frame for a new building." The living hall's Rumford fireplace originally had a massive wood lintel that stretched code restrictions a bit too far—it was eventually replaced with a stone mantel. The ell, too, had its obstacles. Although the prefab wall- floor- and ceiling-system lived up to expectations, attaching it to the other structures was an education. "We learned a lot about tying it together with the out-of-plumb, existing buildings," Bruce says.

Tom's long list of finishing tasks included granite countertop, undermount sink and faucet installation in the master bath; installation of a second medicine cabinet—a simple task made complex by an extraordinary design. Made by Tom's crew, the medicine cabinets feature a 14-inch TV placed behind two-way glass so the picture shines through. In addition, the master tub had to be switched out because of a broken diverter valve. All of the shelves, towel bars, hanger rods, and toilet paper holders had to be mounted. "It's pretty simple work, but it's time consuming," says Tom. "We don't just slap 'em up. They have to be properly leveled and fastened." Also on the list: mounting bathroom sconces and door hardware.

All of the custom cabinetry, including the media unit Norm built in the living hall, had to be painted, and fabric put on the inside of the media cabinet's paneled doors. TVs also had to be mounted and wired.

The laundry room cabinets had to be installed along with custom countertops. Then the washer and dryer had to be hooked up and vented. Since the pipes couldn't be positioned until the installation, that means another visit from the plumber.

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