Who: Jessica Bell
Where: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Remodeling is a cure for much of what ails a home, but for Jessica Bell, who overhauled her family’s upstairs bath, it was also a salve for her personally. "I needed a project to keep me busy while my husband was deployed," says Jessica of hubby Army Major Lawson Bell, who spent a year in Iraq. It began when Jessica—mom to James, 6, and Luke, 3—found a Carrara marble vanity top with an undermount sink on sale for just $79. After ripping out her bath’s old laminate top, she put in her marble find, painted the cabinet, and added new hardware. Then, seeing that the rest of the bath looked shabby by comparison, she added beadboard wainscoting, painted the walls, and retiled the floor with a white mosaic. For moral support and construction advice, Jessica called her dad as often as three times a day. The tiling went well, but while removing the new marble top to add the wainscoting, the stone cracked. Jessica found a replacement, but this time it cost her $325. "I learned to wait and do the whole project at once to avoid such mishaps," she says. As for her husband’s reaction to the new bath, and to remodeling in general: "He doesn’t want to do the work—but he likes it when I do it while he’s away!"