The Rader family on the front steps of their colonial home
Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Meet the $5,000 Grand-Prize Winners

The Rader family nabbed the top prize in This Old House's 2011 Reader Remodel Contest. Here's the story of their renovation:

It's a bad thing when water is gushing down a freshly painted wall and the plumber can't come—because there's a hurricane.

We have friends who ask us, "What's up with your house? Did you do something to make the water gods angry?" Because it wasn't just one leak or one little hurricane. That year, two other hurricanes came through, destroying windows and our front door.

Another time, we went away for three days and when we got back, we realized a pipe in the wall behind a toilet in the master bath had burst. We had to retile, of course.

Our trials weren't over yet. During the final phase of our three-phase redo, we ordered a new washer and dryer and left them sitting in boxes in the living room until we could put them in. Installation was scheduled for a Monday. On Sunday, I looked up to see water pouring out of the recessed lights. I raced upstairs to find that the old washer had rusted out and totally flooded the master bath. Again.

And that was before the roof sprang a leak during a storm, swamping rooms three floors down.

Take a video tour of the Raders' home.

See the all the finalists in the Best Whole House Before and Afters 2011.
Ask TOH users about Befores and Afters

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