Before: From Porch to Master Bath

Our first house ended up selling in only five days! We had to move within a month. Gone was our refuge from the mess and the stress. We'd have nowhere to retreat to when things got ugly. Granted, we had electricity, brand-new appliances, and immaculate walls and floors. But after piling our possessions into the basement, we had to sleep on mattresses on the floor and dine on a blanket in the living room for several weeks.

With no working sinks, we washed our hands in the bathtub and improvised a curtain rod to use the doorless shower. Kitchen counters became a top priority. We ordered some very nice engineered stone ones, but the $4,500 price tag ate at us, and we decided to cancel them. Instead, we outfitted the whole kitchen for $800 using 8-foot slabs of maple butcher block. In the area shown here, shower doors, sinks, and window coverings slowly followed, and, by the end of the year, we were beginning to unpack our boxes from the basement.

Shown: A weather-damaged sleeping porch was sacrificed to create a spacious master bath.
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