empty-nest makeover: after
Photo: Jim and Diane Dawson
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Empty-Nest Makeover: After

Who: Jim and Diane Dawson
Where: Newnan, Ga.

Installing the pine flooring was 'an adventure,' as Jim put it: He propped a car jack against a temporary floor cleat to push the bow out of stubborn planks as he nailed them down. We spent 10 months at hard labor, and it's a miracle we didn't kill each other. But we got a gorgeous room—and a windfall. I bought a painting to hang over the bed and found out after doing research that it was worth a lot more than I paid for it. We sold it, and the $6,000 profit covered the cost of all our materials (and a new painting).

Who did the work: I did all the work myself
Cost: $5,000 to $10,000
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