Are You a Rehab Addict? Check Out 5 Design Rules Nicole Curtis Never Breaks

Steal these tried-and-true home remodeling tricks from the queen of rehab.

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Rehab Addict Host Nicole Curtis

Rehab Addict Host Nicole Curtis

Nicole Curtis, host of Rehab Addict on HGTV and DIY Network.

From: Rehab Addict

Photo by: Lauren Ariel Noess

Lauren Ariel Noess

HGTV's Rehab Addict is so...addictive! One reason why? Host Nicole Curtis' penchant for restoring old homes without cutting corners or wasting materials is a refreshing shift from the usual "gut it all" approach to home renovation. Why buy something new when you can restore something old for less? Whether you're planning a vintage restoration of your own or are just a fan of the show, read on to learn five tried-and-true design mantras that the queen of rehab never breaks.

"Only garbage goes in the dumpster."

Repurposed Radiator

Repurposed Radiator

Since the old heating system was ripped out, this cast iron radiator was converted into a shelf to commemorate the original structure, as seen on DIY Network's Rehab Addict.

Photo by: Lauren Noess

Lauren Noess

Nicole saves EVERYTHING. When a new heating system was installed in this 1920s bungalow, the old cast iron radiator was repurposed for use as a bedroom shelf. By reusing and recycling, she saves thousands of dollars on her projects and maintains as much of the home's original integrity as possible. 

See more of this 1920s bungalow restoration

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Beat-Up Bungalow

EXTERIOR, BEFORE: This 1923 bungalow was abandoned and neglected, but it had potential to be restored with a few repairs. For starters, the front stairs had sunk and were pulling away from the house and a huge whole in the roof flooded the kitchen every time it rained.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Brick Beauty

EXTERIOR, AFTER: The facade is brighter and more defined with tan fascia boards that are dark brown underneath and white trim around the windows. Along with some general landscaping, the stairs were torn out and replaced to complete this home's front yard.

Crumbling Mess

PLANTER BOX, BEFORE: There wasn't much left of the old brick planter as water damage had caused it to start collapsing away from the house.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Fit For Flowers

PLANTER BOX, AFTER: Even though it made the job a little more difficult, textured bricks were used to rebuild the planter so it would match the original look of the bungalow. Additionally, the bottom of the planter was left open to keep from trapping dirt that will expand in the winter and break down the brick.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Drab Dining Room

DINING ROOM, BEFORE: The built-in wood pieces in this home were in great shape, but the blue walls detracted from their beauty and made them look dull.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Wonderful Woodwork

DINING ROOM, AFTER: A new neutral wall color allows the emphasis to fall on the aged quarter-sawn oak, and the hardwoods floors only needed to be sanded and refinished to look new again.

Buffed Out

The built-in buffet has the added feature of being unusually tall. After being cleaned and shined, it's the perfect backdrop for the dining room.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Rehab In Action

LIVING ROOM, BEFORE: Opposite the dining room, the living room lets in plenty of natural sunlight but served as a dumping ground during the renovation since it needed almost no repairs.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Inviting Space

LIVING ROOM, AFTER: Once cleaned up and staged, the natural light sparkles against refinished wood floors and built-in wood features to make this living room feel spacious and warm.

Antique Accessories

Rehab Addict host Nicole Curtis designs and stages all the rooms in the homes she renovates using mostly salvaged items from the general time period of the house mixed with modern accents.

Extra Seating

The old radiator system was removed in exchange for a modern heating and cooling system, but the radiator covers were upcycled to create unqiue old-school window seats in the living and dining rooms.

Attention to Detail

These decorative details were plastered in each corner of the ceiling in the living room. They were left untouched and intact throughout the renovation.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Unfinished Business

MASTER SUITE, BEFORE: The previous owner started converting the attic into a bedroom but never finished the job. The room had plenty of space for a master suite and the ceiling had a ton of cool angles that would look great once some drywall went up.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Selling Point

MASTER SUITE, AFTER: The walls were insulated with spray foam and covered with sheetrock to create an open-air master suite complete with a bed, bathroom and sitting area.

Mixing Elements

Nicole knows it's possible to add modern items to a home without taking away from its character. White and coral bedding looks fresh and clean paired with an antique cedar chest.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Down to the Studs

STAIRWELL, BEFORE: The entryway to the second floor was bare like the rest of the attic, but the windows hadn't been broken and the floors were old pine wood.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Charming Restoration

STAIRWELL, AFTER: The pine floorboards were sanded and heavily coated with three layers of polyurethane. New casings were built around the windows but their style looks old and fits the house's charm.

Repurposed Radiator

Since the old heating system was ripped out, this cast iron radiator was converted into a shelf to commemorate the original structure.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Prospective Bathroom

MASTER BATH, BEFORE: This space would become an open-concept bathroom, but plumbing needed to be installed first. The job was made a little easier since the downstairs bathroom was directly underneath this space.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Stylish Sauna

MASTER BATH, AFTER: Each floorboard that was removed to install the plumbing was hand-nailed back into place to keep the authenticity of the home. With the space not enclosed, a privacy wall hides the toilet and a restored antique clawfoot tub is the focal point of the room. Go behind the scenes with Nicole Curtis on the shoot for Rehab Addict

"Figure out what was there, then do your best to restore it or replicate it."

Refinished Hardwoods & New Furnishings

Refinished Hardwoods & New Furnishings

Nicole Curtis removed the old carpet to reveal beautiful, original pine floors. The refinished hardwoods plus the new furnishings work together to make the living and dining rooms comfortable, functional and stylish.

From: Rehab Addict
and Nicole Curtis A Room of Their Own

Photo by: Matthew Allen/AP Images

Matthew Allen/AP Images

Nicole is adamant about preserving a home's original architecture and charm. You'll often find her stripping carpet or paint to expose the authentic beauty of the wood or stone beneath. By doing so, she saves money on building materials and boosts the home's value. In this Akron, Ohio home, she peeled back dirty carpet to reveal gorgeous pine hardwood floors.

Get Nicole's tips for restoring hardwood floors:

Salvaging Hardwood Floors 01:47

Nicole shares expert tips to salvage and restore original hardwood floors.

"Trends will come and go, so stick with a classic look that matches the era of your home."

Rehab Addict: Stunning Sitting Room After Renovations

Rehab Addict: Stunning Sitting Room After Renovations

Upstairs sitting area at the Summit Avenue mansion after renovations, as seen on DIY Network's Rehab Addict.

From: Rehab Addict

Photo by: Mark Teskey

Mark Teskey

The only modern or "trendy" pieces Nicole implements in her homes are those that can be easily replaced, such as furniture or wall decorations. She aims to keep all other features original or as true to the original era of the home as possible. In this stunning sitting room, beautiful vintage-inspired furniture is a pretty complement to the original bird's-eye maple trim and white oak hardwood floors. 

"Keep it simple."

KITCHEN: AFTER

KITCHEN: AFTER

After, this bright, white space features hardwood flooring that was hidden under the dated vinyl. The original backsplash tile has been cleaned, and a black border bridges the gap between the tile and the new Cararra marble countertops.

From: Rehab Addict

Photo by: Andrew D Myers

Andrew D Myers

Nicole forgoes over-the-top color and accessories, relying instead on the inherent beauty of a home's architecture to make a big statement. In this small kitchen, sleek stainless steel appliances and a custom live-edge bar fit the scale of the space and add a modern touch without overpowering the original white cabinets, backsplash and hardwood floor.

See the transformation of this 1913 Tudor

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NICOLE'S LATEST RENO

As seen on Rehab Addict, Nicole Curtis (host) in the living room of the house on Grand Ave. in Detroit, MI.

Photo By: Jason Miller/ AP Images

THE EXTERIOR: AFTER

A custom screen door adds a natural wood element to the newly-painted front porch. A boxwood wreath is a welcoming front door accent.

Photo By: Andrew D Myers

THE EXTERIOR: AFTER

Gone are the iron bars that covered every window. A functional, unobtrusive railing is the only remaining iron element. A new lantern-style outdoor fixture lights up the (previously unlit!) space.

JACK-AND-JILL BATHROOM: BEFORE

A jack-and-jill bathroom connects the two upstairs bathrooms. Here, Nicole and design assistant Aaron discuss the renovation plan for this 100-year-old space.

Photo By: Jason Miller/ AP Images

JACK-AND-JILL BATHROOM: BEFORE

The original tub and tile are intact, so the team will simply repair and shine what's already there.

JACK-AND-JILL BATHROOM: AFTER

Beautiful original design details mean that most of this room's transformation came from old-fashioned elbow grease.

JACK-AND-JILL BATHROOM: AFTER

Nicole replace the bathroom's 1980s vanit with a salvaged model true to the home's 1913 style.

POWDER ROOM: AFTER

Before the renovation, this bathroom was a mess with a broken window, a missing sink, paint-spattered tile and no toilet or running water. As the main bathroom that guests will use, it needs to be beautiful and functional.

POWDER ROOM: AFTER

After giving the original materials a good cleaning, Nicole painted the walls a dark violet shade to match the masculine elements in the rest of the house. Light accessories contrast against the walls.

POWDER ROOM: AFTER

A leaded glass door lets light in while still providing privacy.

Photo By: Andrew D Myers

POWDER ROOM: AFTER

A mirror Nicole found in her own attic, ahem, mirrors the shape of the mirrors featured in the home's other bathrooms.

POWDER ROOM: AFTER

Eclectic decorations dot the powder room.

DINING ROOM: BEFORE

Prior to the renovation, this room's paneled walls were green and white, and the windows needed to be cleaned and updated.

DINING ROOM: BEFORE

What happened to the floor? It went missing! Someone had stolen half the hardwood prior to the renovation.

DINING ROOM: AFTER

Antiques and vintage-inspired furniture are centered under a circular chandelier.

DINING ROOM: AFTER

New light, bright paneling balances the dark wood flooring and furniture.

DINING ROOM: AFTER

A round, vintage-style iron chandelier with candle bulbs provides a focal point over the table.

Photo By: Andrew D Myers

DINING ROOM: AFTER

More black and white photos of family decorate the renovated dining room.

BASEMENT: BEFORE

The design plan? Turn this bare-bones space into a finished entertaining den that goes with the masculine vibe of the house.

BASEMENT: BEFORE

Nicole prepares to turn this bare-bones space into a finished entertaining den.

BASEMENT: AFTER

Even though the space started out almost completely bare, antique finds and salvaged flooring make this room look as if it's original to the house. 

BASEMENT: AFTER

A 1920s antique bar (from Nicole's Mom's garage) installed against the exposed brick walls creates the look of custom, built-in shelving. 

BASEMENT: AFTER

A 1920s antique bar (from Nicole's Mom's garage) installed against the exposed brick walls creates the look of custom, built-in shelving.

BASEMENT: AFTER

The antique bar from Nicole Curtis' mother's garage is better suited in this updated basement.

BASEMENT: AFTER

After a good cleaning, the fireplace is once again functional and ready to burn bright during cold winter evenings. 

BASEMENT: AFTER

Black and white family photos and trophies line the bar shelf.

Photo By: Andrew D Myers

BASEMENT: AFTER

Nicole printed a large photo of her grandparents from the 1950s on canvas, then mounted it using pieces of plywood to create an inexpensive, large-scale art piece. 

Photo By: Andrew D Myers

BASEMENT: AFTER

Black and white photos also decorate the new shelf.

Photo By: Andrew D Myers

BASEMENT: AFTER

A 1920s antique bar (from Nicole's Mom's garage) installed against the exposed brick walls creates the look of custom, built-in shelving.

BASEMENT: AFTER

A 1920s antique bar (from Nicole's Mom's garage) installed against the exposed brick walls creates the look of custom, built-in shelving.

LIVING ROOM: BEFORE

Green walls distract from this living room's design details.

LIVING ROOM: AFTER

Lightening the walls creates a cohesive space that's true to the home's original design. Refinished hardwood floors shine underneath period-inspired furniture pieces.

LIVING ROOM: AFTER

Refinished hardwood floors shine underneath period-inspired furniture pieces.

LIVING ROOM: AFTER

The windows were broken and run-down prior to the renovation. Nicole and her team re-roped the sashes -- now the windows open and close!

LIVING ROOM: AFTER

A professional inspection and cleaning is all this fireplace needed to burn safely once again.

Photo By: Andrew D Myers

LIVING ROOM: AFTER

This room has what would today be thousands of dollars worth of custom woodwork. Nicole spent some of her budget repairing cracked and broken panes in the built-in glass to get it looking good as new.

Photo By: Andrew D Myers

LIVING ROOM: AFTER

Black and white photos of family displayed in the living room.

Photo By: Andrew D Myers

KITCHEN: BEFORE

Before the renovation, this dated kitchen had peeling vinyl floor tile and falling-off-the-hinges cabinets.  

KITCHEN: BEFORE

Water damage made the bottom set of cabinets unuseable in the new kitchen.

KITCHEN: AFTER

After, this bright, white space features hardwood flooring that was hidden under the dated vinyl. The original backsplash tile has been cleaned, and a black border bridges the gap between the tile and the new Cararra marble countertops.

KITCHEN: AFTER

A live edge island adds a modern touch to this classic, vintage-style kitchen. Casters make it easy to roll the work space out of the way. A mint green towel bar adds another unexpected, modern touch.

KITCHEN: AFTER

Nicole kept the original top cabinets, but removed the doors of some and added new glass doors and fixtures to others to create a fresh look.

KITCHEN: AFTER

A deep, single-well farmhouse sink coordinates with the historic style of this kitchen that was remodeled for less than $5,000.

Photo By: Andrew D Myers

KITCHEN: AFTER

The appliances took up a big chunk of the budget, but it was worth it to replace the 1970s models in the "before" space.

Photo By: Andrew D Myers

BEDROOM: BEFORE

Bare and basic, this bedroom's (known affectionately as the "locker room") hottest design feature was the collection closets against the far wall.  There are -- count them -- 4 small closets and one larger walk-in in this room.

BEDROOM: AFTER

Nicole turned two bedrooms into one spacious master suite with a sitting room and a sleeping zone.With large windows and a neutral color palette, this master bedroom has gone from nightmare to dream.

BEDROOM: AFTER

With ample space, large windows and a neutral color palette, this master bedroom has gone from nightmare to dream.

BEDROOM: AFTER

Wooden furnishings add to the neutral element of the room.

Photo By: Andrew D Myers

BEDROOM: AFTER

New knobs on the doors in the renovated bedroom.

Photo By: Andrew D Myers

THE STAIRWELL: AFTER

Nicole restored the bench underneath the amazing original window atop the home's stair landing to create a cozy reading nook.

Photo By: Andrew D Myers

"Take the time to do things right." 

Jack-and-Jill Bathroom: After

Jack-and-Jill Bathroom: After

Nicole renovated the Jack-and-Jill bathroom to reflect the home's 1913 style, as seen on HGTV's Rehab Addict.

From: Rehab Addict

Photo by: Andrew D Myers

Andrew D Myers

A little elbow grease goes a long way. Nicole simply scrubbed and repaired the original tub and tile in this 100-year-old bathroom to create a beautiful, high-quality space at half the cost. No demo necessary.

Want More? Check Out the Best Historic Home Saves From Rehab Addict

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Before: Past Its Prime

This poor house in Minneapolis looked as if it had seen better days before host Nicole Curtis got her hands on it.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess

After: Major Curb Appeal

A new green roof and a fresh coat of white paint bring this home back to lifeBut it's the small details, like the classic picket fence, that give the home character.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Before: Blah Bathroom

As the only bathroom in the house, this sad space needed a lot of work.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess

After: Suite Escape

In order to create a full bathroom suite, Nicole removed one wall and connected the bathroom with the master bedroom. She was able to restore the original floors and reuse the beautiful claw foot tub.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Before: Boring Foyer

The entryway lacked pizzazz, but Nicole had plans for creating a much grander foyer.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess

After: Grand Entrance

A gorgeous stair runner with a delicate floral print adds elegance to this once-bland entrance. The restored original staircase and banister shine in the updated space.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Before: Blank Slate

This empty space was once a second bedroom. This blank space just awaited a fresh coat of paint and the perfect furnishings.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

After: A Perfect Match

Nicole chose pieces to complement the history of the home, such as this lovely antique wood desk, in this newly-created office space. 

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Before: Humble Vanity

The home's vanity looked pretty worn out, but Nicole hoped to bring it back to its original state.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess

After: Functional Additions

A coat of white paint, new hardware and a small sink make the vanity a functional and beautiful spot in this renovated bathroom.

Before: Hidden Beauty

The main feature in this room was the incredible stained glass window, which Nicole planned to highlight in her makeover.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess

After: Window Art

In her outstanding makeover, Nicole put the stained glass window on full display. To open up the space, she removed a boarded-closed door to the hallway, creating a walkway from the entry to the living room. 

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Before: Pitiful Porch

This back porch needed to be updated, but simple cleaning was the first order of the day.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess

After: Peaceful Retreat

Nicole swapped out the old porch walls and created a peaceful balcony, perfect for star gazing.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Before: Mystery Door

This bedroom was boarded up before the Rehab Addict team arrived, so it was a pleasant surprise to find such a spacious bedroom behind closed doors.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess

After: Vintage Decor

Nicole blended vintage pieces with thrift-store finds to create a space that reflected the home's historical style.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Before: Neglected and In Need

Built in 1923, this abandoned bungalow needed many repairs before it would be up to Nicole's standards.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess

After: Patriotic Porch

After a little spruce on the exterior, Nicole was ready to hang the American flag, as she does with all her completed projects.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess ©2013, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Before: Unfinished Idea

Before they moved out, the owners of this home had plans to convert the attic into a master suite.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess

After: Dreamy Attic Bedroom

To make this attic the dream bedroom that was once envisioned, the space was first insulated and covered with sheetrock. After completion, the suite boasts a bedroom, bathroom and sitting area.   

After: Upcycled Heating

Near the bed, Nicole repurposed an old cast iron radiator by adding a small shelf to hold plants or odds and ends.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Before: Catch-All Room

This downstairs living room featured original woodwork that simply needed a thorough cleaning. The damaged original wood floor required a complete overhaul. 

Photo By: Lauren Noess

After: Gorgeous Woodwork

The refinished wood floors add a warm, touch to this bright living room, and the built-in wood features reflect the home's traditional style.  

After: Eye for Detail

Lovely plastered flowers were in each corner of the living room ceiling. Nicole and the team were careful not to change a thing when it came to historical details.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess

Before: Day One

As part of the Wheels for Education Program, sixth grade participant Mariah Riley was awarded a total home makeover for good grades and meeting her goals. The catch? The team only had 9 days to do it!

Photo By: Lauren Noess

After: Outdoor Appeal

Beautiful landscaping and a lovely white and sage exterior are a welcoming sight at this Akron home.  

Before: Run-Down and Ragged

The bathroom was spacious, but with a stained floor, a torn curtain and no real storage, it was one of the worst rooms in the house.

Photo By: Lauren Noess

After: Fit for a Queen

After the makeover, the new bathroom features gorgeous double vanities, smart storage and a new toilet. The hexagonal tile flooring is an extra touch that makes the whole space feel more glamorous.  

Before: Basic and Boring

Before Nicole and her team worked their magic on this home, the front door lacked any hint of personality.  

Photo By: Lauren Noess

After: Visitors Welcome

When all was said and done, the home was a welcoming site with a fresh coat of paint and a new wreath that added a cheery note to the exterior.  

Photo By: Matthew Allen/AP Images

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