An old house, like some other oldsters, can be rather set in its ways and resistant to change. Creaky stairs, a wheezing furnace, windows so small you can barely gauge the weather-—try telling them it's time to go and you may need reinforcements. Which helps explain why Tim Briglin and Laurel Mackin, seeking a new direction for their 1830s farmhouse, hired plenty of backup, including architects and work crews who specialize in bringing old houses to heel. The fate of the energy-sapping furnace? "We tied it to a pickup truck and dragged it out through an opening under the porch," general contractor Chip Odell says dryly.
Shown: Laurel Mackin and Tim Briglin wanted a warm, bright kitchen with just enough space to gather with Tucker, 11, and Mack, 8. A layered paint palette and vaulted ceiling contribute to the lofty feel.