terra-cotta floor tiles, marble baseboards, and pink granite wall slabs in post office turned into home
Photograph: Michael Luppino
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Preserving the Past

The sturdy Colonial Revival–style building was filled with family memories. With its all-brick exterior, its thick concrete interior walls, and its underlying steel skeleton, the old structure was, and still is, solid as a rock. When Sarah was a student at the elementary school down the block, children were instructed to hunker down in the basement of Paintsville's PO in the event of an airborne attack.

Inside, though, the building Sarah purchased for $162,000 was drab. Many of the rooms were painted top to bottom in post-office blue. Hideous linoleum or tough rubber padding was glued to most of the floors. But the PO retained enough period details—including terra-cotta floor tiles, marble baseboards, and pink granite wall slabs—that Sarah was convinced to take the rehab project on. She preserved many of these details in the former lobby, which now serves as an entry parlor and formal living area. The original 16-foot ceilings were lowered by 2 feet to conceal pipes and conserve energy.
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