reader remodel contest winner 2013 whole house homeowner working on house during construction
Photo: Lisa Romerein
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Schoolhouse Lessons: Down Time

Set up a sanctuary. "As soon as we could, we turned the chapel room—now our living room—into a place where the kids could do homework and we could have meals," says Stephanie. "You need to have one spot everyone can escape to." Less than a year after moving in, the family was able to host a Christmas party in the chapel room with live music and nearly 100 people. Making the rest of the house guest-ready came later.
Schedule breaks. "I can go hard-core for days on end, but I've learned how important it is to walk away and take a break before you get depleted," Dustin says. "When you're ready to go back, you'll find you have more energy and interest."

Shown: Good-bye chimney; hello laundry chute.
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