Christine, a fan of old-school Colonials, couldn't wait to flatten the front, sharpen the roof's pitch, and finish the rooms with Oriental carpets and traditional trim. Her husband, whose DIY skills are so developed that "he could be a builder," she says, was primed to bird-dog a construction crew and its choice of materials. As seasoned homeowners, both had a realistic idea of what was involved in updating the house and a willingness to invest in equally seasoned pros.
The goal: to make a washed-up 40-something look like a dignified centenarian, in a kind of reverse face-lift. The vision: a staunch Colonial Revival in Manchester, Vermont, the couple had zeroed in on during an open-ended search for their dream house, not only snapping its picture but knocking on its door. (They wanted to know if they could measure the width of its clapboards.)
They had already lined up their architect, Jeff DeGraw, after admiring work on a neighbor's house and tracking down the source. Turned out he had also helped design a house in Warwick, New York, so pleasing to Christine that she was using its photo as her screen saver.
Shown: The homeowners used this snapshot of a Colonial Revival in Manchester, Vermont, as a starting point.