Home Town: A Home Away From Home

A couple wants a vacation home in Laurel that's big enough to entertain — but easy and manageable to maintain. Ben and Erin help them restore a 1920s-vintage cottage home to create the perfect small-town getaway with a fabulous kitchen.

Vintage Roots, Modern Enhancements

Erin and Ben made thoughtful modifications that took this 1920s cottage from plain-vanilla to sharp and stylish — with interiors defined by functional design and a modern-masculine aesthetic.

Before

The Hosey House, built in the 1920s, had been owned by Mary and Freddy Hosey who moved there in the '60s and lived there for 30 years. It comes with two bedrooms, one bath, 1,200 square feet, and the list price is $53,000. The house has history and potential but, in its pre-renovation state, is rather plain and lacking in definition. The front includes a non-original sunroom addition with a dated look that detracted from the home's overall curb appeal.

After

Ben and Erin created a more dramatic exterior profile by replacing the front windows on the addition, adding cedar shakes to the front gable, removing the nonfunctional shutters and updating the landscaping.

Meet the Homeowners

Giorgio (left) and Josh (right) visit family in Laurel several times a year to visit family and are looking to purchase a home there that can double as a vacation home. "We're going to be back and forth," says Josh, "so it's going to be hard for us to maintain a house if it's really large – so maybe something with a smaller footprint. And something with a nice kitchen because Giorgio likes to cook." Their budget is $150,000.

Met the Homeowners

Giorgio and Josh check out Erin's exterior design ideas for the Hosey House.

Erin's Vision

"I think that this house is just adorable," said Erin. "I'm not sure what the railing around the addition is about, and the little baby shutters that just can't do anything." Erin and Ben's design called for removing the railing and shutters as well as replacing the '60s-era louvred jalousie windows on the addition. "I'm excited because I've noticed that house my whole life," said Erin. "The Hosey House — it's one of those you remember, and I'll be excited to pass it every day and know we're the ones who changed it."

Living Room, Before

The living room was small and visually plain, but generally in good shape, with white oak floors that were well preserved. "If I had my druthers, I would give this living room the style it deserves," said Erin. "[painting the door and fireplace brick] in inky navy blue ... I would just like it to feel more like navy blues, blacks, golds — a little more of a modern slant."

Living Room, After

Erin opted for a cool palette with blues and grays that play visually off the warmth of the natural wood floors. The new cased opening between the living and dining room serves to open up the spaces and allow for more natural light throughout.

Living Room, Detail

As promised, Erin upgraded the fireplace, painting the brick in a rich, deep blue to offset the white of the walls and trim. Erin's selection of that shade of blue served as a thematic touchstone throughout the home's design. Erin also commissioned an original portrait of Josh and Giorgio’s dogs to hang over the newly refurbished fireplace. Continuing the canine theme, the shallow built-in “tchotchke shelf” gets has a hinged door and now serves as handy storage for dog leashes, doggie treats, etc.

Living Room, Detail

New window treatments feature a midcentury-inspired design in white, gray and gold.

Kitchen, Before

The kitchen, prior to the renovation, was cramped and poorly laid out. The stained wood cabinetry and awkwardly placed peninsula made the space feel dark and confining.

Kitchen, After

Ben and Erin transformed the dark, dated kitchen, adding windows to bring in natural light, updated cabinetry, white stone countertops and a dramatic wraparound backsplash in green and white patterned tile.

Kitchen, After

The kitchen, customized with cooking-enthusiast Giorgio in mind, now has a far more functional layout that includes a large island with lots of storage and eat-in kitchen seating.

Kitchen, Detail

I wanted to have fun with color and texture and pattern. The thing about going with this modern-masculine look is, it gets a little cold, so I wanted to bring in this worn-pattern backsplash tile because it gives you some age and patina and warmth.
— Erin Napier

Kitchen, Before

Prior to the renovation, the kitchen needed new appliances and had dated features from an earlier remodel including laminate countertops, blue and white checked wallpaper and contractor-basic cabinetry.

Kitchen, After

The renovated kitchen has modern stainless appliances, a fridge enclosure and ceiling-height cabinets painted in seaglass green and brass hardware.

Kitchen, Detail

Dining Room, Before

Among the home's distinctive original features were the built-in corner cabinets in the dining room.

Dining Room, After

Erin and Ben favor, whenever possible, retaining a home's defining period features — like these built-in corner cabinets to retain the home's original character. Ben customized the built-in units, adding a top storage cabinet with integrated crown molding but left the original design essentially intact.

Dining Room, After

As in the living room, the newly added cased opening between the dining room an kitchen helps to make each of the rooms feel more spacious.

Before

Josh occasionally needs to work from home, so a home office was one of the things on the wish list. The existing sunroom addition provided an ideal location but, prior to the renovation, was rough in appearance — with stained wall-to-wall carpeting, dated window treatments and the louvered jalousie windows. (Ben and Erin jokingly refer to that retro design of window as "Florida glass." They were a popular feature on beach houses built in Florida, California and Hawaii throughout the 1950s and '60s, especially on porches and sunrooms. They are not energy efficient and are prone to deterioration and leaks.)

After

The new home-office features a mid-mod vintage metal desk, an off-white area rug and floors painted in the same deep blue as the fireplace brick. Ben built a custom floor lamp with a hand-turned wood support column. (The custom piece is the first lamp ever created at Ben’s shop, Scotsman Co.)

Master Bedroom, Before

The bedroom was basic white and beige, with worn and stained carpeting and old-school Venetian blinds.

Master Bedroom, After

In the renovated master, the walls are painted a deep, soothing grayish blue. “I just love a dark color in a bedroom," said Erin. The old carpeting has been removed, revealing the original wood flooring, now refinished.

Master Bath, Before

The most substantial and dramatic change in the master suite is the transformation of the bathroom, seen here before the renovation.

Master Bath, Before

Master Bath, After

The tiny bathroom has been substantially expanded, taking over part of the adjacent hallway space. The new bath is in a modern industrial style and features and a pair of matching new vanities and large walk-in shower. "I was insistent," said Erin, "that I wanted something that felt like a really ‘boujee’ hotel in New York."

Master Bath, After

The new master bath opens onto an adjacent laundry room, separated by barn-style sliding doors.

Finishing Touches

Erin works on final elements of staging, here hanging the commissioned painting above the mantel in the renovated living room.

A Man In Charge

Meanwhile, Ben takes Josh and Giorgio's new home office for a test run.

The Reveal

Homeowners Giorgio and Josh get to see their newly renovated home for the first time.

Before

After

Erin characterized this particular renovation as defined by "little things that add up to a huge transformation." On the exterior, the louvred jalousie-glass windows (aka, “Florida glass”) have been replaced with traditional sash windows, matching those on the original house and offering greater energy efficiency. The green paint on the front steps has been removed, restoring the original brick surface. The white wood panel on the front gable has been replaced with unpainted cedar shakes, and the new front door is painted in deep blue. Fresh landscaping with lower profile helps accentuate the home’s newfound curb appeal.

The Reveal

Josh and Giorgio get their first look at the newly transformed living room.

The Reveal

The reveal tour includes the custom the dining-room table that Ben made. The table features a small profile for dining-for-two, and a drop-leaf gate-leg design to easily expand seating when entertaining guests or family.

Behind the Scenes

Ben and Erin work together on uncovering the wood flooring beneath the old kitchen tiles.

Behind the Scenes

Erin works on removing the green paint from the steps at the front entrance, revealing the home's original brick.

Behind the Scenes

Erin and local painter Mark Landis discuss art selection for a custom piece for the living room.

Y'all Please Come Back

Keep checking back at Home Town Central for more new photo galleries, Home Town news and exclusive video including the special digital companion series, Erin'spired.

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