To unite old and new portions of the house, Kurth used the same trim colors and profiles throughout and added other traditional details. Striving for symmetry, she designed built-ins that rise to meet the crown molding, "which makes them look more integrated with the room. Moldings do not have to match exactly, but they need to be cohesive in style," she says.
By spreading out improvements over 10 years and four children, the couple avoided the time-crunched decision making that often comes with whole-house redos, while learning to tap existing space efficiently.
Shown: Original living room built-ins that came with the house.