A Craftsman Charmer and a Small Town to Call Home

Ben and Erin Napier help a military family with three young kids transition to small-town life, renovating a run-down 1917 Craftsman cottage to create a family friendly dream home.

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Photo By: 172173005945

Photo By: 172173005945

Photo By: 172173005945

Photo By: 172173005945

Photo By: 172173005945

American Southern

Renovation pros Erin and Ben Napier are saving old homes and helping build community in their small, secluded and beloved hometown. In this project, their clients are a new-to-town family of five. Ben and Erin update a rundown 4,000-square-foot Craftsman cottage into an eye-catching and stylish home that features a gorgeous open-concept kitchen, inviting living spaces and a multifunctional family room.

In the Shop

Ben, among other things, is a skilled woodworker and proprietor of Scotsman Co., an enterprise specializing in custom history-inspired woodworking. 

Best Laid Plans

Ben and Erin review blueprints with architect Luke Sippiel and construction foreman Jonathan Walters.

In the Details

Erin ponders placement for an accent piece that will become a small but signature feature in this renovation — an old-style working gas lamp for the new front porch.

Dedication to Craft

Ben fashions a built-in coat rack/storage unit for the home's new mudroom.

Kelvin and Kristen

Ben and Erin pose for a pic with clients Kelvin and Kristen Robinson outside their newly renovated vintage home. The Robinsons, including their three young children, moved to town from Kansas. They're a military family, and had moved around a good bit. Kristen had grown up in a small town and was eager to return to the quieter, simpler lifestyle. Ben and Erin were there to help the family find and create an ideal spot to settle into.

"I think the trend toward finding a simpler life is happening in small towns everywhere," says Erin. "We want these families to feel like they are truly at home and to feel it in their heart when they walk in the front door."

Before

The Blackledge House, built in 1917, is one of the oldest homes in town. It came with four bedrooms, three baths and 4000 square feet. The list price: $120,000. Erin had some definitive ideas about a change to the exterior color palette.

After

Dark blue exterior paint for the siding, white trim and accents, a new door in natural wood finish and fresh landscaping help give the home a Nantucket cottage-style feel.

Before

After

The new front door and entry are highlighted by a working gas lantern with custom housing in a copper patina finish.

Foyer, BEFORE

The home's interior was dated but came with some appealing inherent features like coffered ceilings, Craftsman style built-in shelves and custom wall paneling.

Foyer, AFTER

Removing the louvered windows above the shelves, and opening up the entry to the dining room, redefined the look and feel of this front room. Refinished wood floors and fresh paint in a warm gray help to both soften and brighten the room, that now serves as a large, contiguous entertaining space.

Foyer, BEFORE

Foyer, AFTER

The fireplace is given a thorough facelift, with the '80s vintage tile removed and replaced with tumbled stone and millwork wood surround, painted white to match the wall panels.

Formal Living Room, BEFORE

 

Formal Living Room, AFTER

Just a few cosmetic changes, like updated lighting and fresh paint, along with new traditional furnishings and vintage rug, define this as the more adult-oriented living space.

Formal Living Room, BEFORE

Formal Living Room, AFTER

Dining Room, BEFORE

Dining Room, AFTER

Family Room, BEFORE

Family Room, AFTER

Family Room, AFTER

Family Room, AFTER

The brick fireplace in the family room is given a fresh look with a new wooden mantel custom made by Ben.

Family Room, BEFORE

Family Room, AFTER

Kitchen, BEFORE

The kitchen had likely last been updated in the 1950s, with dark wood cabinets and laminate countertops. The vintage appliances incidentally, though outdated (and, yes, they're avocado), were remarkably well preserved.

Kitchen, AFTER

The kitchen is thoroughly transformed with all new white cabinetry, new lighting, modern appliances and a massive kitchen island.

Kitchen, BEFORE

Kitchen, AFTER

The island top is custom made from wood salvaged from an old bowling alley.

Kitchen, BEFORE

Kitchen, AFTER

Mudroom, BEFORE

Mudroom, AFTER

New wooden countertops and a built-in coat-rack/storage unit custom made by Ben help create a versatile and multifunctional mud room.

Welcome Home

Ben and Erin with the whole Robinson family outside their newly renovated home

Actual Size

Behind the Scenes. In television and film, wooden "apple boxes" are sometimes used to raise the height of one actor — or co-host — to approximate that of another appearing on-screen within the same scene. Sometimes the net effect is barely noticeable.

Fist Bump

Behind the Scenes. Erin and Ben are feeling right about the renovations for the Robinson family — and about the quiet cultural renaissance happening their hometown.

Want to see more Home Town renovations? Keep checking back here for new photo galleries, updates, exclusive video and more. And be sure to check out the gallery from the project featured in the series pilot: Home Town: Thoughtful Renovations in a Small Southern City.

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