'Home Town': Porch Dreams for an Artist
Ben and Erin Napier of Home Town help a returning artist, with a penchant for front porches, find and create a picture-perfect home.
In the South, and most especially in small towns, a front porch is an iconic thing. It's a gathering place and a refuge; a place for quiet contemplation and enjoying lemonade and long afternoons. It's where Andy and Opie Taylor had heart-to-heart talks. Ditto for Atticus and Scout. And for one of Erin and Ben's clients, it was the thing she was looking for in her imagined ideal home.
Amanda Matthews is an artist and calligrapher who has been living in San Antonio for seven years, but now she's ready to move back home. "I'm very ready to come back," she says. "Something about this season in my life just said, 'It's time to go home.'" She's looking for a vintage home that will help fill her life with happiness.
My dreams for my house [include] a front porch, obviously. When you have a front porch, when you have a place to sit and enjoy, it invites people in.Amanda Matthews
Aside from a truly great porch, her wish list includes an open living space for entertaining, a home studio and rooms with tons of light. "A space that's comfy but also really beautiful," she says.
The search leads ultimately to two homes. "The Polk House" was built in 1937, is small, quaint and has elements of charm — but no front porch. But then Erin has big some ideas about how to fix that. "The Shannon House", on the other hand, has lots of square footage, large rooms, high ceilings, built-in bookcases and a front porch that's already porch-swing ready. It was built in 1915.
Once a decision is made, Ben and Erin set about upgrading the exterior and doing some serious reconfiguring inside. The living area is modified with an eye toward making an elegant, open space. Ben hand-crafts something special for Amanda's new studio. And a modest kitchen is made spectacular with some contemporary upgrades and creative repurposing of salvaged original wood.
The result is a relaxing home that's ideally suited for a young artist who feels that Erin and Ben captured the essence of what she was looking for. "I definitely feel like this is home," said Amanda after the renovation was complete. "It's just this perfect balance of beauty and elegance, but comfort. It's really a beautiful thing."
The Home Town episode titled "Porch Dreams" premieres April 25 at 10p|9c. Be sure to check back here to take the complete photo tour, see web-exclusive videos and more.
Watch a video extra from this episode with Erin's tip for using a variety of colorful and patterned plates to create a decorative plate wall.