It turns out that a new home was just the kind of change—and challenge—Walt and I needed. The kids told us to consider both houses ours, but we decided to take on the smaller house exclusively, with its four original fireplaces, and beamed ceilings upstairs. With Walt's background as a master plumber and all-around handyman, plus my passion for design, we figured we could make it livable. Soon after, we got to the insulation and drywall stage inside, and things really started to take shape. With only four rooms, we knew we didn't have an inch to waste on mistakes, so we consulted with an architect.
Shown: Milk-painted pine planks fill the gaps between the newly exposed ceiling beams and complement the new pine floors.