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‘Home Town’ Shuns Trends, but This Popular Upgrade Gets a Thumbs-Up

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Ben and Erin Napier, the hosts of “Home Town,” aren’t usually ones to follow trends. But it seems they’ve come around to one popular upgrade in their latest renovation.

In the Season 6 episode “Wraparound Porch,” Erin and Ben help clients Allison and Scott Hennet find and renovate an old home in Laurel, MS. The Hennets are about to become empty nesters once their two sons move out, and they’re hoping to find a big, classic house where they can welcome their future grandkids. They end up finding a beautiful seven-bedroom, four-bathroom Craftsman for $170,000, leaving a healthy budget of $150,000 for renovations. While the house seems promising, Ben and Erin know this place will need a lot of work before move-in day, especially if they’re going to give Scott the wraparound porch of his dreams and fix up the very dated bathroom.

Find out how these famous renovators take on this troublesome house—and learn some tips for where to save money when renovating a house and where it’s worthwhile to splurge.

Preserve an old home’s classic layout

old home
This old home didn’t always have a tiny porch.

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Scott and Allison are dreaming of a big, wraparound porch, so when they first see the house, they’re disappointed by the small area. Still, Erin has some good news for them.

“This porch used to be a lot bigger,” she says. “This side, on the left, was taken in. That part of the porch, it used to be a wraparound.”

wrap-around porch
After: The interior living space may be smaller but the wraparound porch provides lots of sitting space.

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Erin decides to move the walls and reveal the home’s original layout.

“The wraparound porch starts to take this house from this Frankenstein-ed kind of mess back to the historic house that it used to be,” she explains.

When the porch is done, Allison and Scott are thrilled the house is going back to its original glory. While many homeowners will want to make changes to a home, sometimes the best setup is the original layout. This house has lots of classic charm, and this large porch only adds to the look.

wrap-around porch
Now, the porch is big and luxurious.

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Grass-cloth wallpaper too pricey? Try the faux version

dark entryway
This foyer was elegant but dull.

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Inside the house, Erin wants to upgrade the entryway—without changing the look too much. She chooses a faux grass-cloth wallpaper that will add some texture to the walls without straying from the classic color palette. Plus, she says this wallpaper is more affordable than real grass-cloth paper, which Erin appreciates after the team finds $10,000 worth of termite damage.

“That was the big impetus for why we went with a faux grass cloth, because we had so much trouble with that termite damage on the outside,” Erin says. “Tons of our budget got eaten up by the termites.”

entry
After: The faux grass-cloth wallpaper adds some subtle texture to the entry.

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Still, Erin is happy with how the faux grass cloth looks, and Ben agrees.

“This is a budget saver, but the look is still there,” Ben says. “I mean, it fooled me.”

Wallpaper comes in all different prices and styles, so there’s bound to be a look that can work for any home.

wallpaper
Erin Napier admires the new wallpaper.

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Preserve old finishes for their original charm

living room
This fireplace was still in good shape.

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While Erin wants to update this home’s old fireplace, she decides to keep the pink marble around the firebox.

“We’re keeping the pink tile because it saves a lot of money and it’s a very nice marble,” Erin says during the renovation. However, she decides to paint the brick around this tile, explaining that Allison would want a neutral color.

fireplace
After: Now, this fireplace looks more contemporary.

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“I’m not choosing anything trendy in this house,” Erin says. “This house, it’s an heirloom sort of house. It should feel like it was always this way, and you do that by choosing colors that are soft and that are neutral, that are going to age really beautifully.”

fireplace brick
The pink marble looks elegant next to the white brick.

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A brick backsplash can add a warm, homey feel

dated kitchen
This dated kitchen looked simple and unexciting.

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During demolition, the team finds a brick chase, a wall space where pipes and wires can be hidden. Erin loves the look, and she plans to copy the rustic brick look when constructing the backsplash.

“I just want to make sure that it looks like this,” Erin says of the chase. “I want it to have this kind of powdery white finish, and then I like the way the mortar is just a little bit messy.”

It’s important to Erin that the brick looks perfect, because Allison wants this space to have a warm, homey feel.

“She wants it to feel like a kitchen where she’s going to bake cookies when she’s a grandmother,” Erin says.

brick chase
Erin inspects the brick chase with her contractor.

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In the end, Ben finds a near perfect match for the brick backsplash, and once the kitchen comes together, it looks gorgeous. The brick adds a warm and classic look, making it the perfect material for a timeless home.

brick backsplash
After: The brick backsplash makes this room look extra homey.

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A wet room is worth splurging on

old bathroom
Erin calls this old bathroom a “hot mess.”

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Allison explains that her husband has back issues so he loves to relax his muscles in the shower. Because of this, Scott hopes his new house will have a trendy “wet room”—a massive shower with a tub inside.

When Scott and Allison first see their main shower, it’s clearly far from Scott’s ideal bathing space. With dated wallpaper and an unfinished look, the room is a “hot mess,” says Erin. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

wet room
After: This wet room looks classic with simple subway tile.

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Erin and Ben are able to rearrange the bathroom and closet so that there’s space for a wet room with a standing tub and rain shower. And while the shower is big, Erin notices that it’s not very tall. She decides to lay subway tile vertically to visually elongate the space.

“Maybe the subway pattern is a little used, so I want to try something new,” Erin says. “And tiling it vertically, it makes a wall look even taller.”

It’s a simple but smart solution that makes this incredible shower even better!

The post ‘Home Town’ Shuns Trends, but This Popular Upgrade Gets a Thumbs-Up appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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