Home Town: Inspired by the Sea

Ben and Erin run into unexpected challenges renovating a home for a Laurel schoolteacher, but eventually pull together a dazzling transformation with bright, beachy themes and coastal motifs that draw on their client’s love of the ocean.

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

Craftsman and Company

Ben gets some help from a capable assistant at his Laurel woodshop, Scotsman Co., as he works on a headboard for the Pryor home renovation.

The Pryor Project, Before

The Parsley House had belonged to Cynthia and Herbert Parsley who bought the home in 1970 and lived there until recently. The house was actually built in 1940,. It came with 1820 square feet, two bedrooms, two baths, and it listed at $92,000. The front exterior features large front windows in a distinctive design. Beyond that, the outside was basic and ordinary with plain brick exterior in a hodge-podge of brown shades and trim painted yellow-gold.

The Pryor Project, After

The windows are cleaned up but kept intact. The brick exterior gets painted in acool blue-gray, and the original solid-wood front door painted in sky blue. The old fluted columns are replaced with a simpler design better suited to theoverall style of the home. A quartet of classic wooden rockers on the front porch completes the picture.

Meet the Homeowner

Michelle Pryor (center) is a high school teacher who is about to finish a PhD and has hopes of beginning a career as a school principal. She's an avid Scuba diver and generally has a love of the ocean and all things beachy. Here she and her oldest daughter Laken (left) get a look at Erin's house-portrait showing the intended improvements for the Parsley House.

Erin's Vision

"The point was to really accent the windows," said Erin once the renovation was complete. "They're the most beautiful thing about the architecture of the house. The windows were our muse [and] inspired a lot of things we did inside."

Home Work

Erin and Ben work together on refinishing a vintage bookcase for Michelle Pryor's house.

Home Work

Hosts Erin and Ben install a subway tile backsplash in Michelle's renovated kitchen.

Dining Room, Before

The space had the potential to be bright and open, but prior to the renovation had brown walls and inexpensive laminate flooring that had begun to bubble and ripple.

Dining Room, After

During the initial phase of the renovation, removal of the laminate flooring revealed substantial wood rot underneath, including both the original wood floors and the floor joists. The old rotted flooring was removed and new luxury-vinyl flooring installed throughout the living and dining areas.

Dining Room, After

"I'm thinking of your love for the ocean," Erin told Michelle, "and I would love for the colors we use inside and out to reflect that love."

Dining Room, After

Living Room, After

I wanted everything we did in the house to give you that same feeling you have when you are in your favorite place — when you're by the sea. Lots of blues; lots of sea-glass greens.
— Erin Napier

Staircase, Before

The stairs just off the dining room, leading to the attic, lack handrails and the worn brown carpeting retains, um, aromatic evidence of past pet-residents.

Staircase, After

Adding new wood flooring, a softer paint color and a stair rail all help to create a more welcoming living space in the home.

Kitchen, Before

Prior to the renovation the kitchen was tiny and awkwardly laid out, with dated wood-paneled cabinetry and tile floor. A hidden staircase behind the kitchen wall is leftover from an earlier addition and has no egress — literally stairs to nowhere.

Kitchen, After

Annexing the abandoned stair expanded the footprint of the kitchen, and moving the kitchen peninsula to the opposite side created a more natural flow. "That staircase," said Ben, "was literally just wasted space. Bringing it into the kitchen added so much."

Kitchen, Before

The basic wood cabinetry, laminate countertops and square-tile flooring made for a dreary and dated look.

Kitchen, After

Highlights in the remodeled kitchen include new custom cabinetry in bright white, a cream-white subway tile backsplash and contrasting black countertops.

Kitchen, After

"As far as the style of the kitchen goes, I was looking at houses you see in the Hamptons and Nantucket," said Erin, "and what you see often are creamy cabinets and then heavy dark countertops."

When Renovation Gets Real

"Old houses are always full of surprises." So says Ben Napier during the lead-in of every Home Town episode. This project was no exception. The wood rot discovered beneath the dining room floor was found to extend underneath the walls and encroached beneath the kitchen floor. In the end, the supporting wall between the kitchen and dining room had to be removed and replaced with a temporary stud wall. The floor joists, subfloor and flooring could then be rebuilt, and finally a new support wall put back in. The damage that was discovered would add another $5000 to the final renovation costs.

Kitchen, After

The kitchen remodel resulted, not only in a whole new look, but also dramatically increased storage and counter space.

Den, Before

The downstairs den is spacious and offers a nice view of the backyard with floor-to-ceiling windows, The wall with the fireplace is all brick, including the two recessed alcoves for built-in bookshelves and cabinets. But the look of the space was definitely something out of a bygone era — with a floor done in fragment-tile, dark wood paneling and yellow wall paint.

Den, After

Erin recommended covering over the existing surfaces, painting the brick in a light shade, painting the wood paneling, reworking the bookshelves with new cabinet doors and covering the floor in a high-end vinyl tile.

Den, Before

Den, After

Ben built the low-profile console for use in the den using reclaimed pine lumber taken from the "stairs to nowhere" that were removed from a dead space adjacent to the old kitchen.

Den, After

Erin furnished the room with an emphasis on neutrals, whites and cool colors for a casual, breezy vibe. Erin created the custom textile wall-hanging. In keeping with the ocean motif, the piece is based on the nautical-flag alphabet character for the letter ‘P’ and was created using driftwood and aged rope from an old boat.

Den, After

New custom doors for the built-in bookcases feature a distinctive diamond pattern, echoing the design of the home’s front windows.

Den, After

"We thought by adding the diamond pattern [on the bookshelves]," said Erin, "it would make this addition feel just a little more connected to the original part of the house."

Master Bedroom, After

The new master suite was created by reconfiguring and combining three spaces from the original floor plan to create a sizeable master suite with a fresh, airy feel.

Master Bedroom, After

Ben custom built the woven-rush headboard in a style that's in keeping with the beach influenced motif. The diamond-shaped relief design is yet another element echoes the design detail of the home's front windows.

Master Bedroom, After

Master Suite, After

In the home's previous layout, a large bathroom, the size of a master bath, was just off the den, but not connected to a bedroom. But it was adjacent to both a separate laundry room and a outdoor storage closet. Ben and Erin removed walls and reconfigured those spaces to create a complete and integrated master suite. A new 200-square-foot addition that would facilitate addition of a new master closet and a new laundry room.

Bathroom, Before

This original bathroom was replaced with a spacious new master bath in a whole new configuration.

Master Bath, After

The remodeled bath features a new tub-shower combo with glass doors, new vanity with glass hardware and hexagon mosaic-tile floor for a classic vintage look.

Master Bath, After

The Pryor Project, Before

The Pryor Project, After

Removing the railing, squaring off the columns, and using a more appealing color all combined to help revatilize the home's exterior.

The Reveal

Michelle Pryor (center) and her daughter Laken (left) get their first look at Michelle's newly renovated entry and living room.

The Reveal

The Reveal

“This house is me,” Michelle told Erin. “Everything in here is me. You're a mind reader.”

Behind the Scenes

At the Shop

At the Shop

Handcrafted at Scotsman Co. — Laurel, MS

Ben's custom-built storage console offers additional storage for glasses and dishware, just outside the kitchen pass-through. It was built from wood reclaimed from the home's "abandoned staircase." As with other details found in the home's new design, the table's tapered-edge corners mimic the detailing of the home’s front windows.

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