To solve the problem, Denise rented space and freed the second-floor room she’d always used as her studio to be a family room. The only space they regret not having is a dining room. They continue to eat in the kitchen, at a drop-leaf table.
When the boys were ready to leave the crib, they moved directly to bunk beds in a second-floor room. Lane bought two plain beds and built a frame around them, adding a fireman’s pole, a chin-up pole, and a removable slide from the top bunk, with shelves and desk attached.
They’ve created a house that looks much larger than its 1,200 square feet. Considering the typical new American home is 2,300 square feet, according to the National Association of Home-builders, this is no small feat.
When they were first married 28 years ago, Lane and Denise Cavalieri Fike bought what they could afford: a 12-foot-wide, 5-room, brick house built in 1835 for $50,000. Two sons and several large dogs later, the Fikes are still in that house, although it has undergone several transformations in those nearly three decades. The fruit of their many labors is likely worth more than the $400,000 median price of comparable but grander houses in their neighborhood.