CANTON, Mo. -- When Neil and Raquel Howe bought "our little house" in the spring of 2016, the Lewis County residents knew they had their work cut out for them.

This was a bit beyond your average fixer-upper project.

"We're fortunate we have a lot of talented family and friends who helped us, and who were knowledgeable in things like electric and plumbing," Raquel Howe said.

The Howes are the Week 7 winner in the 29th annual Lookin' Good contest sponsored by The Herald-Whig and First Bankers Trust.

By winning the weekly prize, the Howes received a $100 cash award and the chance to win the contest's $1,000 "People's Choice" grand prize later this summer.

This wasn't the Howes' first rodeo -- they had done a couple of other renovation projects -- but their new property at 1014 College St. near Culver-Stockton College promised to be especially challenging.

"It was in awful condition and in need of more TLC than most would give," Howe said. "But the house is on a nice street and in a great neighborhood. We thought it was worth the effort."

She said the property was in such poor condition that one friend advised them to simply bulldoze what was standing and start over.

The Howes replaced the roof, siding and windows and added landscaping. They also gutted the inside and changed the overall floor plan.

The exterior portion of the project started in late September and was completed in February.

Raquel, a native of Knox County, and Neil, who grew up in Payson, Ill., have been married for 19 years and have four young children. The husband-and-wife tandem enjoys this kind of challenge and working toward the gratification that usually accompanies such a task.

"We don't like to sit around," Raquel said.

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