Updating an old house

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This past weekend, my husband and I moved from the 94-year-old home we've been renting in the Berkeley Hills to a 58-year-old home around the corner.

I have always had a soft spot for old homes — the architecture, the charm, the doorknobs! Love 'em or hate 'em — if you're living in an old house, you know there are some issues to contend with.

Update a plain or traditional room with a dash of color at the windows by adding colored sheers, or combine updating and savings by hanging energy-saving curtains in a brighter color.

If you're handy with tools, replacing dated kitchen or bathroom fixtures with modern versions is an excellent option to update these busy rooms.

See before and after photos of their intensive restoration and decorating.

The operative word in the phrase "gut renovation" is the first one — it takes real guts to strip a house down to the studs, then build it back up again.

A splash of lemon yellow or soft coral gives new life to tired kitchens, and a single wall painted a daring red or chocolate brown can add flair to a formal dining area.

Sometimes simply replacing an old fluted or ruffled-edge milk-glass lampshade with a smooth, iced-glass globe gives your overhead light a whole new life.

One of the most budget-conscious ways to update the interior of your home is through decorating.

"I told him, 'Don't underestimate us.'" In return, she and Mark didn't underestimate the property's potential.

"We knew we could turn it into exactly the kind of home we wanted," Lisa explains.

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