What he did: John gutted the apartment, cut holes for three new windows, stripped the plaster off the walls, and finished the exposed lath inside with a dark stain and polyurethane. He refinished the heart-pine floors and gave the exposed rafters five coats of white paint. Then, to complete the loft look, John hung an AC duct nearly the length of the attic, track lighting—and a vintage wooden airplane propeller.
Toughest part: Keeping the floors dry when the roof was open—in May, Florida's rainy season. "We were always running upstairs when it rained to make sure they were okay," says Beth. "We used big tarps, but they failed us a lot."
Favorite finishing touch: John made seven slide-out keyboard trays with beadboard that he salvaged while working on the house's porch.
Timetable: Eight months
Final budget: $35,000, including seven wired workstations.