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People who buy fixer-uppers often don’t have the budget to hire a Chip and Joanna Gaines-type to gut and remodel the whole thing.

They fall in love with vintage character or a hint of faded beauty. But rather than invest their pretty pennies in polishing the rough edges, their funds have to go toward more practical things like replacing plumbing, wiring and heating and cooling systems.

What’s left over at the end of the budget is earmarked for other renovations — like replacing a missing kitchen. Work moves forward in phases, as time and funds allow, always with an eye on the prize.

That’s what these homeowners had to do when they purchased an older home in an historic neighborhood. The previous owner had gutted the original kitchen but never got around to installing a new one, the owner says.

“They moved in without a kitchen and made it work,” says Rachel Cheeney, their real estate agent. “They appreciated the history of the home and the neighborhood.”

The silver lining was an opportunity to position the kitchen where the dining room had been, taking advantage of charming built-ins in the 1908 home. There was space for a practical island and a pantry, as well.

“That’s the thing about a fixer-upper, is you can do whatever you need to do to make it fit your lifestyle,” says the owner. She worked with Jeff Wolff Construction.

A new bathroom and laundry zone are housed in what was the original kitchen. The bathroom was a tight squeeze, she says, but “it was necessary with four people in the house.” The upstairs bathroom was renovated, as well. Central air was installed throughout the house.

The home’s exterior has been repainted a soft gray, and weather-beaten, worn screens were removed to open up the front porch.

There is still a lengthy to-do list. Next up: the garage.


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