Home Town: A Bachelor's Paradise

A well-travelled bachelor, and long-time friend of Ben and Erin, is coming back home to Laurel where his family has lived for five generations. Erin and Ben help the returning Laurelite restore a 1920s-vintage cottage to create the picture-perfect bachelor's retreat.

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Photo By: Laura Good

Back Home in Laurel

Erin and Ben performed a tasteful transformation on this home for a friend with lifelong ties to the town of Laurel — but who spent the last few years living away from his hometown. He's now ready to return to his roots and find a home that suits his lifestyle.

Before

The Grubbs House. This home had belonged to Don and Caroline Grubbs who lived there for 45 years. Mr. Grubbs had been the principal at R.H. Watkins High School in Laurel — which happened to be the alma mater of Ben and Erin's client. The was built in 1920. it came with four bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and 2400 square feet — and one very green exterior. The client actually favored green as an exterior color, but perhaps something a little less pronounced than this particular shade.

After

In the renovated home, the green exterior gets toned down considerably — to a more soothing and subtle soft-sage green. A new front porch, front door and gable are added, giving the home a more defined profile and creating a more welcoming first impression.

Meet the Homeowner

Shuff Mauldin (center), a long-time friend of Erin and Ben, gets his first look at the Grubbs House. Shuff is a Mississippi native, a fifth generation Laurelite and, like Ben and Erin, an Ole Miss grad. He's adventurous and outdoorsy, has lived all around the country, but is now feeling the draw of his hometown.

Meet the Homeowner

As a bachelor, Shuff is not necessarily in search of his forever home. He does, however have distinct tastes and preferences — including ample space for entertaining, a nice kitchen and a welcoming front porch. He's somewhat flexible on budget, but he's an astute buyer, wants to stick to a reasonable price per-square-foot, and is looking for a home that will have solid resale value. "What I'm really looking for in Laurel," he says, "is something that I could enjoy myself in and that also could be a good investment."

Erin's Vision

Erin gives Shuff an idea of what she has in mind for the Grubbs House, showing him her portrait rendering for the proposed redesign

A Portrait in Sage

"This is what I would want to do," Erin explained ... "Paint the whole house a really soft sage — almost a gray color. Take off [the] shutters because they're not functional. Keep the flower boxes. And add a new front door, something that's more of a bungalow-cottage style."

Living Room, Before

The living room has plenty of natural light and oak floors that are in fairly good condition. There's a problem with the crown molding and chair-rail accents: the two styles of trim were installed in reverse — with crown molding serving as chair rail, and vice versa.

Living Room, After

The renovated space features a more open floor plan, with the living room opening onto the kitchen, making both spaces feel larger and more breathable. Authentic crown molding and chair rail have been installed — now in the proper configuration.

Living Room, After

Ben created a unique live-edge coffee table custom built using a section from a fallen tree from The Grove — the famous courtyard and gathering place at Ole Miss. The massive wood section has a special epoxy treatment that gives the table a glass-smooth surface.

Living Room, After

Ben also restored and updated Shuff’s vintage record player, integrating Bluetooth components so that it can play streaming audio wirelessly.

Living Room, After

The new cased opening between the living room and kitchen makes the combined space more suitable for casual entertaining — one of the main requirements on the client's wish list.

Living Room, After

The new, more open configuration incorporates a kitchen peninsula with bar seating.

Kitchen, Before

Prior to the renovation, the kitchen was dated and sparse, with faux-brick tile floor and outdated appliances and cabinetry.

Kitchen, After

The newly remodeled kitchen features wood floors, new stainless appliances, recessed lighting and custom cabinetry.

Kitchen, Before

Kitchen, After

The new cabinets are painted in gray-green – reflecting the soft, neutral shade of the home’s new exterior and providing the perfect visual backdrop for the ornate tile backsplash.

Kitchen, Before

Kitchen, After

For the countertops," said Erin, "I thought it would be cool to go with a luxurious, heavy black granite." The stone countertops are a style known as “absolute black.” They're a favorite of Erin’s, but not of Ben’s — since gets to install them, and they’re made from some of the heaviest countertop material available.

Kitchen, Before

The doorway seen here, providing access to an adjacent hallway, is unnecessary in the new floor plan and gets closed off.

Kitchen, After

Eliminating the extra doorway made room for more lots more counter surface and storage. The new hood-vent gets a custom wood accent made from heart-pine. "I really wanted copper on the hood vent," said Erin, "but that was way outside of the budget. So I thought, 'Well, what would have the warmth of copper?' [So we went with] heart pine."

Kitchen, After

Other highlights in the new kitchen include a pro-style gas range, wine fridge and tile backspalsh in a striking and colorful pattern. "I thought it would be cool if we brought in a really bold tile for the backsplash," she said, "to break up the very neutral palette we've got."

Kitchen, After

Early stages of the renovation revealed fairly extensive rot in the original wood floors and supporting floor joists. The joists and much of the flooring had to be replaced prior to the kitchen reno.

Kitchen, After

After the repairs, the floor surface was a hodge-podge of oak and pine as well as original vintage-wood sections mixed with new-wood patches. Great care was taken to match the stain between the original and replacement portions so that the finished floor had a vintage look but a uniform wood-tone. Erin and Ben’s flooring specialist Mike Husers utilized a mix of stain and polyurethane finish to achieve a consistent look among the varied surfaces.

Master Suite, Before

Ben and Erin combined the spaces of two bedrooms and a tiny bath to create a new and amply spacious master suite with a large walk-in closet.

Master Suite, After

Master Suite, After

The design for the master bedroom continues a theme of warm wood tones mixed with a palette of neutrals and soft greens.

Master Suite, After

Master Suite, Detail

Master Suite, After

Master Suite, After

In the new master-suite configuration, the bedroom now opens onto a dramatic and spacious master bath.

Master Bath, Before

Master Bath, After

The all-new master bath includes a free-standing tub, large vanity and spa shower.

Master Bath, After

The large walk-in shower features glass enclosure, shower bench and charcoal-gray marble tile.

Master Bath, After

Final Prep

Erin hangs some original art as part of the final staging of the Mauldin home.

Final Prep

The Reveal

Returning Laurel native Shuff Mauldin gets a first look at his newly renovated 1920s-vintage home. His assessment: "I'm absolutely blown away."

Before

Setting aside the rather unconventional shade of green on the exterior, an essential feature lacking in the pre-renovation home was a fully functional front porch.

After

The new exterior features a new front porch, a solid wood door and a new gable, providing a whole new level of dimension to the home's exterior profile.

Exterior, Detail

The natural wood door and twin sconces provide craftsman-style touches, adding personality and enhancing the home's curb appeal.

Exterior, Detail

Ben dressed up the existing planter boxes, adding contrasting gray paint and dimensional framing to the front for a more finished look.

The Reveal

The Reveal

The Reveal

Behind the Scenes

Ben and Erin work together building the new porch for Shuff Mauldin's vintage home.

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Ben and Erin assess the extent of rot and damage to the kitchen floors.

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

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