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Makeover: After a fire, a fresh look and open floor plan

One night in 2010, Charleen and William McCarrick woke to find their house burning down around them. The couple and their three teenage children escaped safely, but the Kings Park house was ruined. The event gave the family a chance to experience the generosity of their neighbors. One was designer Therese A. Pomerenk, who had just graduated from the New York School of Design in Manhattan and offered her services for free. "I was so overwhelmed," says Charleen McCarrick. Previously, the living room, dining room and kitchen were separate. Pomerenk suggested an open floor plan. It took two years, but the McCarricks are finally back in their home. Total: About $35,000 (Pomerenk's fee for a makeover of this type would have been $2,800; construction costs and kitchen remodel were paid directly through an insurance company.) -- SYLVIA E. KING-COHEN

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