Jenny and Dave Marrs are used to renovating dated, awkward homes on their HGTV show “Fixer to Fabulous,” but Jenny admits their latest project is “one of the funkiest houses we’ve ever done.”
In the Season 3 episode “Midcentury Party House,” Jenny and Dave meet with Amy and Andy, a couple with a midcentury home in Springdale, AR. They love the charm of this 1970s build and hope to bring the house back to its former glory. Still, this house needs a lot of work, and Jenny and Dave have a strict budget of $190,000 to fix a tired exterior, an ugly kitchen, and a rotting pool house. In the end, they manage to impress their midcentury-loving clients, with Amy even saying, “This is how the ’70s wishes it was!”
Read on to learn how to take a house back in time without making it look dated—it’s a fine balance that’s worth figuring out!
New siding can modernize a house
Jenny and Dave’s clients want to embrace the midcentury style of this house, but they realize that some old features aren’t worth saving.
“The siding’s looking a little tired,” Amy admits. She also disapproves of the mismatched garage doors and the shutters, which were likely a previous addition and don’t match with the era of the house.
The HGTV stars decide to revamp the exterior with a more modern aesthetic, acknowledging the midcentury architecture while also making the home feel new.
They paint the old brick a dark gray and replace the siding with sleek metal, which “goes well with the midcentury modern style we’re leaning into,” Dave says.
The finished exterior is a beautiful blend of classic charm and clean, modern lines.
“You kind of step back in time with this house, and that’s what we were trying to do throughout it,” Jenny says when revealing the finished product. “We really wanted to preserve that midcentury modern feel.”
A stair railing can be a statement piece
Right inside the house is a dated stair railing that Andy and Amy hope can be replaced. It looks extra rough because Andy once tried to sand it down to see what was underneath that white paint, revealing a darker base.
Now, it’s a DIY project gone wrong and a serious eyesore. However, Jenny sees this area as a retro opportunity.
The HGTV stars build a unique railing with pipes that reach the ceiling. Then, to make it look fresh, they paint it white.
“Right when you walk in the front door, this stairwell and this modern handrail is going to be the focal point,” Jenny says. “But at the same time, it also sort of goes away because you can see straight through it. So it’s not obtrusive and, like bam, in your face.”
“It slaps you in a good way,” Dave adds.
The beautiful statement handrail is era-appropriate and brings attention to the high ceiling. It’s a clever upgrade that brings extra ’70s style to this entryway.
Recycled glass countertops are a ‘favorite’
Right away, Jenny and Dave know they have a lot of work to do in the kitchen. Amy and Andy love entertaining, and their kitchen’s closed-off layout isn’t doing them any favors. Dave and Jenny take down the unnecessary overhead cabinets, switch out the peninsula with a more convenient island, and complete the space with fun vintage light fixtures.
When Jenny and Dave finally show Amy and Andy their new kitchen, the homeowners are impressed with the thoughtful changes, especially the beautiful countertops.
“They are actually recycled glass,” Dave says of the counter. “We just wanted something that was so over-the-top unique. They are my absolute favorite.”
This countertop is proof that renovators don’t always need to fill a midcentury home with era-specific features. A beautiful, unique piece can find a spot in the right home.
Add garage doors for indoor-outdoor flow
While renovating the main house is a big job, Jenny and Dave also need to work on the pool house in the backyard. This old structure, which houses a pool, has a lot of potential as a year-round hangout.
Dave and Jenny come up with an idea to add a garage door to the building, giving the pool house an indoor-outdoor flow.
“I imagine in the winter this is great ’cause you can swim in the winter,” Jenny says when inspecting the pool house. “But in the summer, I’m assuming it’s pretty hot in here.”
They build a new deck just outside the new garage door, creating a perfect spot to lounge by the pool.
When the work is done, Andy and Amy are amazed by the transformation.
“This is still an indoor pool, but with that garage door, it’s going to have an outdoor feel to it,” Dave says.
Find space for a retro mural
Jenny wants to give this pool house some retro style to match the main house, so she adds a throwback bar and disco ball. She even commissions a midcentury-inspired mural with yellow, orange, and green stripes.
“This mural is basically a really iconic ’60s, ’70s style of art,” Jenny explains. “Andy and Amy are absolutely going to appreciate it.”
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