Home Town: Porch Dreams for a Returning Artist

Ben and Erin Napier help an artist, with a penchant for front porches, find and create a picture-perfect home.

Photo By: 172173005945

Photo By: 172173005945

Photo By: 172173005945

Photo By: 172173005945

Artist in Residence

Amanda Matthews is a calligrapher who had been living in San Antonio for seven years, but was now ready to move back home to Mississippi. "This is my place," she said of her home town. "I'm very ready to come back. Something about this season in my life just said 'It's time to go home.'" She was looking for a vintage home with sizeable living space, lots of light, room for a studio and — perhaps most importantly — a really nice front porch.

Before

The Polk House was built in 1934 and has three bedrooms, two baths and is 1700 square feet. The list price is $85,000. It has some of the aspects that Amanda was looking for, but is missing one main ingredient: a front porch.

After

With Amanda's renovation budget of $65,000, Ben and Erin were able to make Amanda's porch dreams come true with an all-new new facade that included a full, deep porch with new columns and railing. "My dreams for my house [include] a front porch, obviously," Amanda said. "When you have a front porch, when you have a place to sit and enjoy, it invites people in."

Living Room, Before

The living room, with a wall in close proximity to the front door made the space feel shallow and tight. The original wood floors, however, were in good condition.

After

The renovation involved removing three wall sections to open up the space to form a contiguous living and dining area that also opens onto the kitchen.

Before

This portion of wall would be removed to expand the footprint of the main living area.

After

The living room is expanded into what had been a bedroom giving Amanda the roomy entertaining space she was wanting.

Before

This room had been used as a bedroom, albeit in the center portion of the house and with no windows. 

After

With walls removed, this space becomes the main living room in the new open floor plan.

Before

After

The open floor plan incorporates distinct functional spaces — dining, main living room and informal sitting area — defined by arched openings, area rugs and groupings of furniture. Amanda's new home studio is in a space adjacent to the main living room.

Before

The two sections of wall on either side of the door would be removed to open this space onto the kitchen.

After

Opening up the wall, and adding a decorative support column, makes room for a sizeable kitchen island, helping give the kitchen a whole different feel.

Kitchen, Before

The galley kitchen felt very small and the awkwardly placed (and curiously painted) refrigerator was intrusive on the space.

Kitchen, After

The kitchen is now reconfigured and features spectacular stone countertops and wood floors made of original tongue-and-groove pine that was salvaged from the removed walls.

Before

After

The original cabinets were retained but given a whole new look by flipping the doors to expose the reverse side and framing, repainting in a soothing pale blue and adding vintage hardware.

Master Bedroom, Before

Since the "encapsulated" former bedroom is, in the new floor plan, part of the main living space, Erin suggested taking this sizeable (but very plain) room just off the kitchen and turning it into the new master suite.

Master Bedroom, After

The old green carpeting acoustic tile ceiling were eliminated, walls are painted in soft gray and the space is transformed into a simple, classic and restful bedroom.

Before

A front stoop, some cement stairs and an iron railing does not a front-porch make.

After

Ben and Erin added on a new front porch with a gabled roof and an area spacious enough for outdoor dining and entertaining. The exterior trim is painted in muted green and paired with a front door in vibrant "Coral Spice" for a bold statement. The new roof is also in a distinctive shade that helps further set the house apart.

Behind the Scenes

Erin and Ben at work on the Matthews house

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

"The Polk House" Becomes the Matthews Home

If you enjoyed this renovation by Erin and Ben, be sure to check back at Home Town central to see more new galleries, web-exclusive videos and more.

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