The stars of “Home Town,” Ben and Erin Napier, have seen some run-down homes in their day, but on the latest episode of their HGTV show, they tackle the creepiest cabin in the woods yet.
In the episode “A Musician’s Retreat,” the Napiers meet Kevin, a music producer in Laurel, MS, who’s been dreaming of fixing up his dad’s old cabin.
Erin and Ben know this house will be a challenge to renovate, but they have a healthy budget of $90,000 to bring it back to its former glory.
After uncovering some structural issues, Erin and Ben end up spending a little more than they’d planned. Still, the $100,000 they invest on this project is well spent, turning a crumbling hut into a wonderful woodland retreat.
Here’s how they pull it off, along with some inspiration that you might like to apply to your own abode.
Use metal accents, for an industrial look
When Ben and Napier first see Kevin’s cabin, they’re shocked. The house looks like something out of a horror movie. They’re determined to fix up the outside until it looks less creepy, and way more cozy.
One way they improve the look is by fixing up the front porch.
Of course, Erin knows this house shouldn’t look too modern and flashy, so to preserve that masculine, woodsy style—but leave it looking fresh—she uses corrugated metal for the porch skirting.
“One, it’s super affordable,” Erin says when explaining the style choice, “but two, I think it’s a nice kind of industrial touch.”
The porch and the skirting end up looking great, giving this old home some not-so-spooky curb appeal, and also, some welcoming sitting space.
White paint isn’t always the right choice
Renovation wisdom today says you can’t go wrong with a fresh coat of white paint, since it makes rooms feel bright, open, and clean. But Erin thinks white paint isn’t always the perfect fit, particularly for a cabin in the woods.
For the kitchen, Erin picks a mossy green. Then, in the bedroom, she chooses a darker blue.
These may seem like risky colors, but they’re a great fit with the home’s surroundings.
“If you think of an old big stone in the woods that’s covered in moss, that’s my color palette,” Erin says. “We don’t want to compete with the woods, and I want to keep everything dark and neutral, because that is what really speaks to Kevin.”
A vaulted ceiling is often worth the investment
While some new paint helps make this house look more homey, all the paint in the world couldn’t fix this home’s structural problems.
When Erin and Ben start working on the house, they realize that much of the wood is rotten. They need to redo an entire wall, but there is some good that comes out of it: Ben and Erin are forced to upgrade to a vaulted ceiling.
“Originally, when we first looked at the cabin, we came up with the idea of vaulting the ceiling,” Ben explains.
“It was going to be too much money. However, at this point, the cabin is in such bad shape, and the way that it was built was incorrect.”
The upside: “Vaulting the ceiling is the cheapest option.”
All told, these fixes cost $9,000—a lot, but well worth it.
Wood countertops bring a natural vibe to the kitchen
When Erin and Ben first see Kevin’s kitchen, it’s in rough shape, so they plan to replace everything. However, Kevin wants to keep the original wood countertops.
So the Napiers fix up the counters, sanding them until the different colors of the wood planks show through.
“This suddenly looks very intentional,” Erin says of the mix of wood grains on the counter. “Like mixing in the dark and the light, in an evenly spaced sort of way.”
Kevin loves that the Napiers were able to save the countertops. The extra wood gives the kitchen an earthy vibe, which is perfect for a cabin in the woods.
Create a clever spot for food prep
Erin and Ben agree that the newly refinished wood countertops look fantastic, but they know that they’re not exactly functional. So, Erin wants to create a section of countertop that Kevin can use for chopping.
They create a rectangle, made of maple, that can easily be slipped in and out of a spot next to the stove.
“We decided to go with the maple, because it’s a little bit more contrasting from what’s in there. A little bit lighter, a little bit brighter,” Ben says.
When the counters are finished, this maple feature gives something different to the space, and adds a lot of function to the kitchen.