The carriage house took three-and-a-half years. I did a lot myself, mostly in the evenings and on weekends, assisted by Bob and my family. We didn't change the layout, which had two bedrooms and one bath in about 1,000 square feet, but we did a top-to-bottom overhaul. I figured out a lot in the process. First, that I wasn't a roofer, a plumber, or an electrician; those jobs I contracted out. Also, that an older furnace that works efficiently may as well be left alone. (We did, however, install central air.) I learned that Bob was great at masonry—he built the carriage house's Rumford-style stone fireplace and chimney from scratch. And that I was a good kitchen guy, as I mixed up plaster to look vintage, built cupboard and pantry doors, and framed a wall in old barnwood. Kelly came up with ideas, tearing pages out of magazines, and I learned from books like Nigel Hutchins' Restoring Old Houses.
Shown: The homeowners restored the 1,000-square-foot carriage house first so that they could live in it as they tackled the main house. They rebuilt many of the original windows, rather than sacrifice the period glass, then fitted them with new wood storm units to increase their energy efficiency. Landscaping, still in progress, is the renovation's final phase.