Fortunately, the couple was willing to take on most of the work themselves, with plenty of help from Tracy's dad, who salvaged the original heart-pine floor and built the Shaker-style cabinets. Sweat equity freed up funds in the couple's $15,000 budget for new wiring, plumbing, and gas lines, as well as a $2,600 overhaul of the old stove. With one wall down, two dreary rooms became one cheery family room kitchen with a separate table for playing games and doing crafts with their young daughter, Sara. The new space, together with the mini mudroom they created in an entry alcove, honors the history of the home and functions much more efficiently, says Doug. Which is another way of saying that they nailed the period look and got the family-friendly upgrade they needed, too.