dining room of the this old house reader remodel grand prize winning house
Photo: Laura Moss
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A Brother's Help

When we were struggling to scrape together the $107,000 to pay off the numerous liens and get the deed, my brother stepped in with a $60,000 loan, mortgaging his own house to help us buy ours. And when it came time for the massive cleanup, Jacob—friend, pig farmer, all-around hero—donned a mask and grabbed a pitchfork to labor alongside me.

Shown: Buried beneath waist-deep filth in the dining room was this matching set of table and chairs, as well as two china cupboards, which Mark's mother painstakingly preserved.
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