On “Fixer to Fabulous,” renovation experts Dave and Jenny Marrs help homeowners turn dated, run-down houses into dream homes. And sometimes, if they’re lucky, they stumble across the best surprise a house can have: entire rooms that the homeowners weren’t even aware were going to waste.
In the episode “Builder Grade to Craftsman,” clients Patrick and Ashley Fitzsimmons have been married for five years, and are living in Patrick’s three-bedroom, three-bath bachelor pad. They think it’s high time to make the house work for the two of them, and they’re willing to spend a whopping $300,000 to do it.
While most of us don’t have that type of budget to work with, we can use some of their creative tips to update our own homes, room by room. Check out the lessons that Dave and Jenny taught us this week.
Do away with builder-grade beige
When Dave and Jenny pull up to the Fitzsimmons home, the first thing they notice is the totally builder-grade beige exterior.
“I think it was built in the early 2000s when we still thought brown was the thing,” says Dave. “It needs some help.”
Ashley agrees. “I feel like we’re living in the land of beige,” she says.
Punch up the Craftsman qualities
“This house wants to be Craftsman, but it’s not quite, so we’re going to just really own it,” says Jenny.
They’ll wrap the front columns Craftsman-style and create an arbor over the garage. It’s a nice embellishment people don’t always think of.
Dave builds the arbor out of pine, with cedar corbels, and paints it the same color as the trim.
“It’s going to be a really architectural feature,” he says.
Get a door that can withstand sun damage
When assessing the exterior, Dave and Jenny notice that the wood front door has been irreparably sun-damaged over the past 20 years or so—and it’s not something that can be fixed.
But Dave has a solution that will fight the sun damage battle in the future.
“We can get steel Craftsman doors or fiberglass we can stain that looks like wood that doesn’t get killed by the sun,” he says.
They elect a beautiful fiberglass, Craftsman-style door that looks perfect and will last and last.
Never let decent head space go to waste
Patrick and Ashley take Dave and Jenny out to their garage and lower an extension ladder from the ceiling, which reveals a real surprise at the top: There’s a huge unfinished attic up there that measures at least 20 square feet and has plenty of headroom.
It’s the perfect space for a home theater, the Marrses agree. Patrick and Ashley have an extensive DVD collection and watch a movie every single night. They would love a space where they can invite friends over to watch them, too.
“There are a lot of houses that have weird dead spaces that can be turned into living space,” says Dave.
Whether in the attic, basement, garage, or beyond, you never know where decent head space could be hiding.
Create the ideal home theater
Since the budget is so huge, Dave and Jenny decide to go all out on the home theater. They visit a real movie theater for inspiration—because it’s for work and the kids are in school, they don’t feel guilty about catching a flick in the middle of the day.
They come up with a whole list of must-haves for the Fitzsimmons theater, including a fancy AV theater system (to the tune of $14,600), organized shelving for their alphabetized DVD collection, movie posters, subtle lighting, stadium theater seating— even a ceiling that looks like the night sky.
“When we visited the movie theater, Jenny got this really cool idea to put a starlight ceiling up in the Fitzsimmons home movie theater, just to really give it that theater feel,” says Dave.
How does the Marrses’ latest renovation turn out?
Patrick and Ashley are thrilled with their new kitchen, living room, and primary suite, but they are absolutely over the moon about their new theater. Who wouldn’t be?
“We are so grateful that Dave and Jenny took our house and made it the perfect home for us,” says Ashley. “I couldn’t have imagined anything better!”
Truly, their work this week was a real blockbuster. Two thumbs way up!