Meet the Hosts of HGTV's 'Open Concept' + Steal Their High-End Style on a Budget
You might rightfully observe that of late HGTV seems to be riding on the wave of the dynamic duo. Think about it: the Property Brothers, the Kitchen Cousins, Chip and Jo, Hilary and David, Tarek and Christina. I could go on, but you get the idea. To that end, if you missed the recent premiere of the promising new renovation series Open Concept, allow us to introduce to you Whitney and Ashley -- cohosts (and siblings) Whitney Gainer and Ashley Turner, that is.
Girls on a Mission
These Fort Worth natives have forged a reputation and a following by designing and building custom furniture pieces, then writing about it and sharing photos and tips on their design blog, Shanty2Chic. What's more, they provide free plans for their custom creations so that their fans, should they be so inclined, can replicate the pieces on their own. The mission seems to be helping folks with champagne taste and draft-beer budgets fulfill their design and decorating ambitions. The tagline on their website is "Turning Shanty to Chic one bargain at a time."
And more recently, their ambitions have expanded and their business has grown to encompass whole home renovations. "We turn boxy houses into open-concept homes," says Ashley, "and then we build furniture to fill 'em."
The Chemistry Thing
Whitney is a wife, a mother of five and a fearless DIY'er with an unabashed affinity for power tools and working with raw wood. Ashley is married and a mother of three, and her passions include seeking out vintage and trash-to-treasure finds and incorporating them into creatively crafted interiors. Combine those and what you end up with is a critical mass energy and inspiration, a talent for finding hidden potential in ordinary homes and a penchant for fueling each other's ideas — not to mention finishing each other's sentences. It's a recipe that draws on talent and expertise, but it's also about interaction, humor and that special on-screen "something".
As creative partners, Whitney and Ashley essentially do two things exceptionally well. First, they can look at a dysfunctional, poorly laid out home and envision a way to transform it into a functional and beautiful space. Second, they have an undeniable knack for creating original and unique furnishings from scratch — using simple, inexpensive materials to fashion pieces that look like top-of-the-line manufactured pieces.
The Nicholson Project
In their first HGTV reno project, Ashley and Whitney took on a suburban '70s home with a segmented layout and a bit of an identity crisis. They knocked down walls and merged what had been four smaller rooms into one massive, multipurpose space that's both family friendly and ideal for entertaining. They furnished the newly reconfigured space with no fewer than sixteen custom made furniture and decorative pieces that they created themselves.
Steal These Looks...
The Nicholson's living room had a fireplace that had a plain drab look and absolutely no mantel. Ashley and Whitney gave the fireplace a fresh look with whitewashed brick and a substantial wood beam mantel. The mantel gets topped off with a decorative wood flower box in distressed finish that was custom built by Ashley.
Also featured in the living room is this rustic wood locker cabinet in lightly distressed gray finish with barn-door inspired front and black hinges and hardware. It's an ideal storage solution for the space and includes hooks on the inside for the Nicholson kids to hang jackets and backpacks. Find out more about this piece, and download the plans.
The highlight of the new dining space is this vintage-look pine wood dining table. This beautiful rustic table is easy and affordable to build, seats eight to ten comfortably and was inspired by high-end furniture store designs. Find out more about this piece, and download the plans.
See the Before and After...
Check out this 36-image gallery to see the complete renovation from the premiere episode of Open Concept.