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The Renovating Bug

Though renovating an older home is an undertaking that succeeds or fails on hammer-and-nail realities, it surely begins with a dream. For a family doctor in Arkansas, all it takes is one glance at a forlorn house, and a vision of what-could-be takes over. Indeed, Dr. Susanna Shermer is on the verge of becoming a serial renovator. “This is my third renovation,” she says happily, referring to this 1940s house she has been remodeling in stages over the past six years.

It all started during her medical residency in Tennessee, when she bought her first house and spent her precious downtime ripping up carpeting and tearing off wallpaper. “I loved the transformation—and it was great to do something physical after spending my days immersed in medicine and science and books,” says Susanna, who grew up in Russellville, Arkansas, and still has family throughout the state.

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