The "Old College Try" Award

Who: Courtney Patton and Govan Baird
Where: Epping, New Hampshire

Despite being college students with heavy course loads and despite being over their heads in student loans, Courtney and her boyfriend, Govan, pulled off the complete remodel of the dilapidated 1960s ranch they cohabit. The best part? It's a rental.

"The landlord said that if we did the renovations and paid for them, he would let us live here rent-free for two years," explains Courtney. Not an easy job. "The house was basically just a shell," she says."The electrical was bad and the plumbing didn't work. It was kind of a nightmare." Govan knows plumbing, but they had to learn everything else, from the "easy" jobs, like hanging drywall and installing cabinetry, to rewiring the house and installing radiant heat. During finals, the sweethearts would sprawl out with their books on raw subfloors. "We wanted our house to be beautiful, "Courtney says. "But we still wanted good grades."
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