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Home Town: Saving Jena's Childhood Home

Erin and Ben face one of their bigger challenges, resurrecting a young student's family home located in a Laurel neighborhood that was ravaged by hurricane Katrina. The result is a creatively reimagined cottage retreat with an artistic vibe and Scandinavian inspired touches -- but one that retains distinctive ties to the home's history.

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Photo: Laura Good

There's No Place Like Home

When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf coast in 2005, the impact was felt in Laurel, Mississippi as well in coastal communities. This house, seen here after Ben and Erin's renovation was completed, was in one of the Laurel neighborhoods that was hit hardest. Many of the homes were destroyed, and many simply abandoned because of extensive damage. Here's the special story of one that was lovingly brought back from the brink.

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The Yeager House, Before

This house had belonged to the father of Ben and Erin's client, Jena Yeager. Jena's father had been in the process of restoring the home when he passed away. Subsequently, the house — like many of the ones in the neighborhood suffered damage during Hurricane Katrina. Following the hurricane, the roof has been replaced to help protect the structure, but the home has been unoccupied for years and is badly deteriorated with extensive water damage, wood rot and other issues. The Home Town episode featuring this home is appropriately titled "Can This House Be Saved?"

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Photo: Laura Good

The Yeager House, After

Among the massive changes that Erin and Ben implemented to transform the home's exterior, the original front porch — which had evidently been enclosed by prior owners — gets opened up to reveal the original classic profile. A back porch, which had been closed off as well, gets a similar facelift. With Erin and Ben's expertise and inspiration, the home gets an entirely new look, but one that's contextual and in keeping with its history.

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Meet Jena and Hugh

Jena Yeager and her boyfriend Hugh are both students at Southern University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi — about a 30-minute drive from Laurel. The home being restored is the house where Jena grew up and which was left to her by her father. Jena has strong and cherished memories from her childhood spent there and has dreams of seeing it restored. 

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