“Home Town” stars Ben and Erin Napier are experts when it comes to DIY projects. With Ben’s woodworking skills and Erin’s creativity, they’ve made some incredible custom pieces for their clients over the years.
It’s no surprise, then, that in their latest “Home Town” episode, titled “Upcycled,” Erin and Ben look back on the most memorable things they’ve built on their show.
Check them out, and you can relive not only some “Home Town” highlights, but get some inspiration for what you can DIY for your own home, too.
A built-in banquette and shadow boxes made from drawers
Ben and Erin’s client Mackenzie has so many special memories gathering at her parents’ kitchen banquette—so of course, Ben knows he has to build a custom banquette to make her new house feel like home.
Ben uses reclaimed wood from the home’s walls to make the banquette extra special, and pairs it with a simple breakfast table.
Meanwhile, Erin also focuses on making Mackenzie’s house feel homey by hanging old drawers on the walls to use as shadow boxes that can display family pictures. The natural wood tones and rustic vibe give the house an extra cozy feel.
“We just really wanted to do all we could to cure your homesickness wherever we could,” Erin says to Mackenzie.
DIY dropcloth curtains
Erin knows the importance of saving a dollar, and her DIY curtain project is a perfect example of thrifty décor. She explains that dropcloths, the kind that painters use to protect floors from paint spills, make for perfect curtains.
She spends only $100 on curtains for clients Ross and Laura. Normal curtains could cost about 10 times that amount.
Butcher-block countertops and DIY checkered floors
Ben loves using wood from earlier projects, because it saves tons of money. So he’s excited to use a mix of scrap oak, cherry, and mahogany wood when he builds a custom butcher-block countertop for their clients Kenya and Coy.
“A countertop this thick, to buy, would be outrageously expensive,” Erin says. The finished counters look top-of-the-line, but luckily, with a much less showy price tag.
Then, to finish off this kitchen, Erin decides to do a little DIY woodworking of her own, by giving the wood floor a checkered pattern.
She tapes down lines on the floors, then whitewashes every other square, to get a checkered look.
“This is like a budget way to punch up a floor that wasn’t expensive,” Erin says.
A custom vanity
Another all-time favorite DIY project is a vanity that Ben built from used pine for his client Alise.
The fancy hardware gives this piece a sophisticated, Victorian touch, while the pine is a little more rugged. Ultimately, the DIY vanity has a look that’s both tough and refined.
A custom kitchen table for a great cook
Serious chefs need serious tools—at least that’s the theory behind Ben’s custom kitchen table.
The client, Linda, is an expert cook, and Ben wants to give her a table that she’ll love using. He uses all white oak, which is strong and durable, to make this intricate table.
“That is the most unbelievable piece of furniture, just because of the complicated joinery,” Erin says, “It was amazing.”
How to upcycle an old piano
Have you every wondered what to do with an old piano?
Ben and Erin answer this question when they find an old piano that’s too worn to be fixed up. Still, they don’t want to throw it away, so they find another use for it.
They remove the workings of the piano and create a custom drafting table for a client, Bill, who loves both music and architecture. This project takes a lot of work, but in the end, it’s a music lover’s dream work station.
This old piano turns out to be the gift that keeps on giving. In a later season, Erin decides to use the insides of that same piano as a wall hanging for a music room for the homeowner, Judi.
She and Ben put it in an oak shadow box and hang it over the music room door. The results prove yet again that for Erin and Ben, there are always opportunities to upcycle!
Louvered shutters to hide an AC vent
For clients Terry and June, Ben builds a table that can cover up an air-conditioning return vent in the living room.
Its louvered shutters allow air from the vent to flow through it easily, and it’s made without a bottom or a back, so it fits over the AC without problem. When Ben finally finishes this piece, it perfectly hides the ugly AC return vent.
Now, the clients can focus on the room’s chic coastal look, and not the vent.
A kitchen peninsula turned into an island
“Home Town” clients Marian and Marissa have a kitchen peninsula, but they’d much prefer a kitchen island.
So Ben moves the structure to the center of the kitchen, refinishes the cabinets, and adds a new counter on top.
The new island transforms the kitchen, but the old cabinets manage to keep the home’s original charm.
Baby Helen’s custom crib
Perhaps not everyone can DIY a crib, but Ben and Erin name this custom crib as their No. 1 favorite project.
Ben makes this white oak crib for their daughter, Helen, and grandmother-to-be Erin is blown away when she finally sees the finished product.