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Notebook: Stories worth sharing

When undertaking a project as significant -- and, at times, overwhelming -- as our renovation, you soon appreciate that the images you likely will cherish most are those that easily become short anecdotes you want to share with others.

The Renovation Divorce

Before we began our project, several friends who had done major renovations to their homes warned us that the process would be stressful. "Our reno took a bit of a toll on our relationship," one friend confided.

The teenager's turn

A few years ago, our daughter Caitlin decided that she wanted to move to the bedroom downstairs.

Photo Gallery: From tearing down to building up

After weeks of tearing down walls and ceilings, pulling out wires, digging dirt and cutting out pipes, we are finally starting to see our renovated spaces take shape.

Seeing beyond face value

This week, I turn over the blog space to my husband, Brad. Below he discusses the choices we made during this renovation to address his limited vision.

How much are you spending?

The most common question we've been asked about our renovation is: "How much are you guys spending?" My usual answer is: "I don't like to say the number out loud." It's true ­– I don't – but not because I'm worried about what we're spending.

Plan for surprises

Digging down to find a silver lining We planned for the unexpected – that is a must when you're renovating a house that's 65 years old and has suffered through two poorly executed renovations.

Hot dilemma: Choosing a heating system

After the completion of the initial design work for our renovation, the most discussed topic was our choice of heating and ventilation systems.


The windows and doors in our house had been updated circa 1990, but many had failed. Often, the living room windows and sills were wet with condensation. A lot of the windows in the house did not have proper screens.

Lose four inches or spend $4,000?

Before we hired him, contractor Dave Rannala looked over our renovation drawings and asked some key questions. "Is there a reason why the windows in the family room are 7-foot 8-inches tall as opposed to 7-foot-6?" he wanted to know.
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