“Home Town” stars Erin and Ben Napier know that there’s a fine line between classic and dated, so they need to be careful when it comes to their latest renovation.
In the episode “Big Apple to Little Catfish,” Erin and Ben meet with Susan and Seth, who have moved from a tiny New York City apartment to a big old house in Laurel, MS. The couple love the classic Cape Cod style of their house, and they want to keep its old-fashioned charm. Still, Erin and Ben know they need to make some important updates with their $140,000 budget.
Read on to find out how Erin and Ben update the house without taking away from its classic style, which might inspire some upgrades around your own abode, too.
Use limewash instead of paint to keep the character of brick
When Seth and Susan first see this old, brick-covered house, they aren’t impressed. Seth says he never pictured himself living in a brick house, and Susan says it seems a little dark from the outside.
So Erin and Ben decide to limewash the house, which, she explains, is not the same as painting it.
“Limewash is movable for about 48 hours,” Erin says. “So you have the opportunity to distress it, to rub it off. It’s really pliable.”
The team has the opportunity to show some of the brick through the limewash, giving the house back some texture.
When the limewash is finally set, the house looks great. The spots of exposed brick give the house an aged look. Now, Seth and Susan can hide the dark brick without losing its character.
You don’t need to demo a wall to bring in more light
Inside, this old house is closed off and dark, so Erin and Ben get to work opening up some walls to let in natural light. However, there’s one dark area that can’t be opened up: the staircase.
So Erin comes up with the idea to fill the space with mirrors. She buys a bunch of old mirrors from an antiques store, knowing the classic gold frames will go with this home’s elegant style.
When she finally puts the mirrors on the wall, they look great. The mirrors themselves are classically beautiful, and the light they reflect gives the staircase a more open feel.
“I love it because it reflects light, and it makes this darker area feel brighter, almost like you have all these windows,” Erin says.
Don’t toss your wainscoting!
Erin and Ben are delighted to see some old wainscoting in the dining room, but when they widen the doorway to the kitchen, they realize that this old paneling will need to be removed or shifted.
While simply removing the paneling would have been easier, they definitely don’t want to ditch this old wainscoting. Why? Because it adds character to the room.
So they start the painstaking task of taking each panel off, and moving the pieces over so they’ll fit in the new space.
“We could have taken off that paneling. We could have popped it off, trashed it, and then just painted out however we wished,” Erin explains. “But it was beautiful and it made a lot of sense for that dining room to have the formal little moment of millwork.”
When the panel shifting is finished, Erin chooses some new paint and wallpaper, which highlight the elegant wainscoting. The room is now filled with classic charm, and it’s clear that these panels were worth the trouble.
A kitchen can have both a modern look and classic style
While Erin works hard to keep this home’s classic look, there’s one room that she’s eager to modernize: the kitchen. The original kitchen is small and dark, so Erin and Ben want to give it a 21st-century update. One way they do that is with a new quartz countertop. The countertops Erin chooses have gray veining with just a hint of gold. It’s so beautiful and elegant that Erin decides to use the same material on the backsplash.
“The veining is so much more defined,” Erin says of the quartz. “And once it’s on the backsplash, it’s going to look like abstract art.”
Of course abstract art may not go with the style of this old home, but when this modern kitchen is finished, it has a timeless look. The white materials and wood hood vent give this space an old-fashioned look that Seth and Susan love.
Wallpaper can look modern in the right color
Upstairs in the master bedroom, Erin and Ben want to continue with the classic theme, so while they remove the original wallpaper, they replace it with a similar look.
“Seth and Susan have bought a house that’s pretty formal, but also it’s very dated,” Erin explains. “I’m paying homage to some of the things that were original to the house, like trim and wallpaper, but not the colorful and crazy wallpaper that was there. It’s a more modern take.”
The new wallpaper is a little simpler and a little darker. It still has that classic look, but in a more modern style. To finish the room, Ben helps build an elegant wooden bed that fits the era of this home.
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