Erin and Ben Napier of “Home Town” have gained quite a following—so much so that more and more fans are moving to their titular base, in Laurel, MS.
In the Season 6 episode “Pumped About Laurel,” Ben and Erin meet Mike and Kristy Ostermiller, a couple from Utah who, after falling in love with the show, were inspired to move to Laurel and buy a house. The Napiers want to make these new community members feel right at home by making over their new abode.
Armed with an $88,000 renovation budget, Erin and Ben turn this 1970 ranch house into a much more functional entertaining space while still preserving its traditional style. Here’s how they pull it off, with lots of take-home lessons you’ll love—plus a peek at the “coolest” table Ben has ever built.
Add shutters that pop
The exterior of this four-bed, three-bathroom home is charming. The Napiers don’t need to change much, but Erin wants to update the paint colors.
“Everything is kind of a wash of this very neutral kind of grayish color,” Erin says.
She chooses a dark color for the window shutters, which brings out the darkest tones in the exterior brick. Erin is pleased since the exterior looks much warmer and more dynamic.
“This house is so traditional,” Erin says. “I just want everything about the colors we’ve chosen to exude warmth to make this whole house feel so cozy.”
A tight galley kitchen makes an ideal laundry room
Mike and Kristy are not exactly impressed by their tiny galley kitchen. They want something bigger and more functional. When their grown kids come to visit, they want a space where the whole family can gather.
“The kitchen is sort of the epicenter of the universe for our house,” Mike says.
Erin and Ben decide to create a new kitchen in the nearby den. Meanwhile, Erin says they can turn the current kitchen into a laundry room. With a sink, lots of cabinets, and plenty of counter space for folding, this room makes a perfect laundry area.
When Mike and Kristy step into the renovated space, they’re thrilled with the transformation.
“I could actually hang out in my laundry room,” Kristy exclaims.
The space looks completely different, but Erin points out that this transformation didn’t require much beyond removing the oven and updating the counters.
“That’s all the same cabinets. We didn’t even change the hinges—we just painted,” she says.
A stone backsplash adds classic style
While the old kitchen transforms into a lovely laundry room, Ben and Erin work hard to create a kitchen from scratch in the old den. They add cabinetry in a soft sage color and a large island with a black countertop. To finish the kitchen, the team adds a tile backsplash that looks like stone.
“I love how it feels a little like stone, because when I think of Colonial and traditional, there’s always a stone accent somewhere,” Erin says.
While this kitchen is brand-new, it looks classic.
“We tried to take a lot of cues from the very traditional architecture of the house,” Erin says.
Wall paneling warms up a room
For years, renovators removed wall paneling, calling it an outdated feature. However, Erin and Ben know that some classic wall paneling is worth saving. When the Napiers first show Kristy and Mike the house, Erin gushes about the walls.
“I love this paneling on the walls,” she says. “I would keep it everywhere we possibly could.”
Sure enough, the Napiers preserve the paneling in the kitchen and the renovated sitting room. While the brick fireplace and built-in bookshelf certainly make this room feel cozy, the freshly painted paneling adds that extra homey feel.
Add furniture that provides storage
While this house now has plenty of space, Erin and Ben want to make sure the home has plenty of storage, too. Ben comes up with an idea to make a dining table that can store everything needed for a family game night.
“The Ostermillers, they love to get together and put together puzzles, play games,” Ben says. “We are going to do a dinner table that the panels come out on.”
Ben uses oak from the warehouse to make the frame and repurposes the old glass windows from the sunroom to create a table with a top that comes off.
“This is maybe the coolest thing we’ve ever built,” he says.
Erin and Ben reveal the table, pulling off the glass and wood on top.
“You would put a puzzle together down in there,” Erin explains, “but if you’re not finished when it’s supper time, put the wood and the glass back in, so you can have dinner and you don’t have to disturb it.”
It’s a great, functional piece that looks beautiful. Plus, it shows that homeowners could make something wonderful from unwanted pieces like old windows.
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