“I just loved the architectural details,” Sherry Ludke said in an attempt to explain how she saw through the “handyman’s dream” condition of the home she and husband Fritz were hoping to buy.

That was five years ago, and her 80-year-old Brookside Drive home is back to its original splendor, architectural detail included.

“I figured as long as we had that as a base– great archways, plaster walls, great texture and ceilings – we could do anything.”

Once the house was theirs, the first big project they chose to tackle was creating one decent-sized but cozy living space out of a hodgepodge that originally included a kitchen and tiny breakfast nook, and over the years had grown to include a sun porch.

“Most of the time, these older houses had a lot of small rooms,” Fritz explained. “All we did was basically take out the walls. We took the original windows from the back of the house and moved them over, added on a fairly small amount of space, and opened it up.”

“The key was to make it look like it could have been part of the original house,” Sherry added. “We tried to retain some of the charm, and also make it a livable space.”

“We did it somewhat inexpensively,” she continued. “I tried to use the resources that were here. I kept the same cabinets and just added trim and knobs. I basically painted over things I didn’t like and added color that way.”

In finishing the project, there were a few items not already in the house that the family deemed as “must-haves.” For these, Sherry exercised her flair for thrift in other ways.

“I saved a ton of money using a true commercial stove,” she explained. “I also went to an expensive tile store and found a design I loved, then took that tile and found a much less expensive one that looked the same at about a tenth of the cost.”

“The basis for this room is pottery I collect from France. It’s called Quimper, and I’ve been collecting it for a long time. I wanted the room to work with the colors in the pottery, so I picked the tile and fabric around that.”