Skim-Coat Plastering
Only the renovated master bedroom and kitchen needed new walls, so Kim and Bruce decided to go with plaster, to match the rest of the house. (The media room gets drywall, which doesn't echo as much.) So master plasterer Steve Norton and his crew troweled on a 1/8-inch coat of veneer plaster over blueboard. "It's a much harder wall than regular drywall," says Norton. "And with a full coat covering everything, it's unlikely you'll ever see a seam or a popped nail like you sometimes do with drywall."

Sunroom Trim
To replicate the decorative exterior panels under the new sunporc's double-hung windows — rectangular "spider webs" of applied 1x2 redwood pieces — Silva Brothers carpenter Tim Oglesby built a jig to make the job go faster. "It took about an hour to lay out and build the jig with perfectly square corners, stops for the 16 pieces, and the nearly three dozen saw cuts that make up each panel," says Oglesby. "But then, all I had to do was cut a series of identical pieces and drop them in place, kind of like a big jigsaw puzzle." When a panel was complete, Oglesby simply nailed the pieces in place. The finished design will be primed and painted the same cream color as the rest of the exterior trim.

Wiring the House
The confusing ganglion of roughed-in wires and cables in the Winchester basement utility room will eventually send signals and currents throughout the house. Along with standard electrical wiring, electrician Allen Gallant and his crew strung Category 5 cable for Internet and phone lines to every room. Gallant's favorite device is a $300 whole-house surge protector. "Most everybody uses a plug-in surge protector for their computer," Gallant says. What they don't realize is that most new appliances also have electronic circuitry, and without whole-house protection, one lightning strike or return from a power outage could take out your refrigerator, oven, and home theater system."
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