Working with designer Dana Jones and general contractor Thomas Cole, she set in motion a six-week redo that improved the room's size and function as well as its cottage spirit. Says Cole, "We stripped it down to the bones," then annexed a small laundry room, added insulation, and repaired the subfloor. He also installed a Dutch door that Nadine had bought for $50 years earlier and stored, like a hope chest. Jones sketched out seven layout options; ultimately Nadine opted to keep the space as open as possible by widening the passageway to the dining room and setting it off with a small peninsula. "It's a nice place to sit and have a cup of coffee," says Nadine, "and the children love to eat there in the morning. It's my favorite spot."
Shown: The 1980s left behind dark cabinets, black-grouted tile countertops, and dingy floors.