On their new show, “Home Town Takeover,” Erin and Ben Napier have made a lot of progress in their mission to make over Wetumpka, AL—but they still have a way to go.
In the episode “Say Yes to Wetumpka,” Erin and Ben fix up the Wetumpka Civic Center, turning it into a premier event venue for weddings and beyond. What’s more, they help renovate one family home that serves as a gathering place for kids after school.
These are both big projects, so Mina Starsiak-Hawk from HGTV’s “Good Bones” and Randy Fenoli from TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” step in to help out.
Here’s how they renovate these two spaces, which contain plenty of take-home lessons that you can apply to your own home, too.
Reface ornate columns for a more modern exterior
This week, Erin and Ben decide to update Robert and Kim Rose’s family home, with the help of Starsiak-Hawk. Robert and Kim have two teenagers, but they also always have their doors open to the neighborhood kids, welcoming them over when they need a place to do their homework or just a safe spot to hang out.
“Their house is the hub for the neighborhood kids,” Ben says.
So, they want to make this home feel extra inviting, starting with the front porch.
“Adding the cedar wrap to the columns is a really quick, easy update,” Starsiak-Hawk says when she comes into town to help. “It’s going to make it look so much nicer.”
She covers the old columns in cedar, a simple solution that can make a big difference to any old home.
Separate rooms with French doors
While kids are flocking to this family’s house all the time, the space isn’t really all that big. It has a yard for playing basketball, a living room where the kids can gather, and the dining room, where kids can do homework.
Right away, Erin and Ben see how crowded this space can get, so they come up with an idea to install French doors, for some extra separation.
“We want to create a division between the living room and the dining, because the dining’s going to function more as a work area for the family, for the kids that come through doing homework,” Starsiak-Hawk explains, “whereas the living room is the fun space.”
While many families like homes with wide-open living spaces, this extra separation is functional. Now, kids don’t need to be listening to the TV in the living room when doing their homework, but with the glass doors, everyone is still visible.
Every kitchen (especially with kids) needs a snack drawer
Erin and Ben notice that Robert and Kim’s kitchen is pretty big. In fact, it may be too big.
“It feels like you’re missing something right here, like you need an island or something,” Erin says.
Ben decides to build an island with lots of drawers that have lots of sections perfect for storing snacks. “That way, the kids can grab something to eat while they’re working on their homework or playing basketball,” he says.
The island ends up looking great, and with the special snack drawers, it’s the perfect addition to any home with kids.
Lighten up a room with white walls
With Kim and Robert’s home well underway, Erin and Ben head over to the Jeannette E. Barrett Civic Room. When they tour the space, they’re surprised by how dark it is. Erin points out that the floor, walls, and ceiling are all in the same brown wood.
This room needs some light paint, but instead of lighting up all the wood, Erin decides to paint only the walls.
“I wanted to lighten up by painting the walls cream, keep the original ceiling because that’s the history of this place. The same thing with the floors,” Erin says. “The floors and the ceiling sort of reflect each other.”
It’s the right choice, since the white paint updates and brightens the room, but the floor and ceiling allow the space to keep some character.
It’s now a great location for events, and one local bride even decides to have her bridal shower there. To sweeten the deal, Fenoli gives her the “Say Yes to the Dress” treatment, helping her to find the perfect wedding dress.
Brass gives a kitchen a warm touch
While the main space is now fit for a party, the Civic Center’s kitchen needs a lot of work.
“This is not big enough for an Alabama reception,” Ben says.
Erin wants the kitchen to feel as cozy as someone’s home, so she installs dark-green cabinets to give the space an elegant but homey feel.
The color of the cabinets isn’t the only showstopper. Before Fenoli heads back to New York, he helps hang up some brass light fixtures.
“With the color of the kitchen, that emerald, that dark emerald, this brass is going to be gorgeous,” he says.
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