By DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- Instead of building new, Frank and JoGari McCartney decided to improve what they already had.
The end result made the Pittsfield residents the Week 1 winner in the 26th annual Lookin' Good property pride contest sponsored by The Quincy Herald-Whig and First Bankers Trust.
All weekly winners receive $100 cash and a chance to win the contest's $1,000 "People's Choice" grand prize. Contest entries are accepted through midnight Aug. 10, and voting for the grand prize will take place Aug. 31-Sept. 4.
Deciding that building new would be cost-prohibitive, McCartney had an architect redraw the design "more along the lines of a house my wife would want to stay in."
Apparently the plan succeeded.
"This is the home I would like to be in forever," JoGari McCartney said. "We did so much work to it. I told Frank I'm going to have to die in this house."
Mike Black with Black Construction oversaw the project, doing much of the interior work before the McCartneys moved in back in September. The exterior face-lift continued through April.
"We did the stonework in the front, added a great room and master bath, basically gutted everything, tore down walls, put up walls, tore up the floors," she said. "They would tell me what they wanted to do and how to do it, but I wasn't able to visualize it. I trusted Frank and Mike Black that they were doing the right thing, making the right decision. They totally did."
Her favorite feature is the new great room, which includes a dining area.
"It's where we always are, where we entertain," she said. "It's a great space."
New garage doors were added, and all of the home's windows were replaced.
"It's a huge difference," he said. "We've had a lot of people stop by, or that we've run into, to say how much we improved the looks of the house."
But they decided to keep one original exterior feature -- the aluminum shake siding.
"That siding was in really good shape and should last forever," McCartney said. "Even if we put new vinyl siding on the house, we still had to deal with the shed to make it look consistent."
The final touch was a paint job, finished in late April, using Rhinoshield, a ceramic paint.
"It took us a while to decide on the color. In the end we went with the clay color," McCartney said. "It worked out well. We're happy. That's the main thing."
With much of the exterior work done, the McCartneys want to focus on some additional projects.
"Hopefully in the next couple of months, we'll put in a concrete pad for a basketball goal," he said. "Landscaping around the house will be the big project outside of maybe a pool. We'll have to see how to determine what to do with the back of the house."