a newly installed master bath with a spa tub and a his-and-hers vanity
Photo: Ryan Kurtz
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After: Much-Needed Spa Retreat

Of course, just as things started feeling less urgent, disaster struck. In the summer of 2008, we took a weeklong family trip to visit my parents. And when we returned, it felt like we were stepping into a rainforest. The new pipes I had installed a week before we left had sprung a leak, flooding the master bath, kitchen, and basement. My heart sank to see so many months of work ruined. The flood restoration company we called in had to bring dozens of fans and three industrial-size dehumidifiers to clean up the mess.

Paradoxically, repairing the damage from this small tragedy inspired me again, and I tackled a bunch of projects I had left hanging, such as installing baseboards and trimming out the basement fireplace surround with built-in shelves and a TV nook. And, last year, I finally finished the kid's bath.

Shown: The old porch area now holds a spa tub and a his-and-hers vanity. Regular mirrors were mounted on hinges over boxed-in wall recesses to create medicine cabinets.
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