In an attempt to guarantee success, we took a scientific approach to our renovation and sketched out everything, from an itemized budget to a step-by-step plan of attack. From the start, the basement became a storage space for clearance-sale appliances and light fixtures that we wanted to use in the future. We knew we'd eventually gut the kitchen, so we renovated the pantry first to have a sink and some cabinet space when that time came. We redid the 1960s porch then, too, since the shared foundation for the two spaces was sinking and needed to be reinforced. For weeks we pulled down wood paneling, added insulation, and put in new plumbing, delighting in uncovering original details such as the beadboard ceiling. We also looked for places to add charm. With a This Old House magazine step-by-step in hand, we installed new crown molding in the pantry.
Pictured: A bright, functional laundry and pantry with a new farmhouse sink and a granite counter (a remnant nabbed for a bargain price).