Home Town: A 1920s Craftsman for a Nashville Songwriter

Home Town's Erin and Ben Napier help a singer-songwriter update a vintage home, creating a vibrant, bohemian vibe — and something extra-special in the backyard.

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Show: Home Town

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

"Hello Walls"

Erin and Ben do some demo work on the '20s vintage home of Amber Hayes, a country music singer-songwriter moving from big-city Nashville to small-town Mississippi. Demolition of the dining room wall yields some salvageable materials including vintage pine lumber that Ben will later use for some creative repurposing.

Sanctuary Porch

"I really want a great front porch," said Amber at the outset of her home search. "Someplace where I can sit with my dog and drink my coffee." She got her wish in this Craftsman bungalow with a generous front porch that spans the width of the house. Erin decorated the space with rattan chairs, linen covered cushions and a dhurrie rug in rich, subdued tones, creating a perfect spot to relax and enjoy morning coffee or afternoon sunsets.

Refined Spaces

A wall separating the kitchen and dining room is opened up with a large cased opening, unifying the two spaces and making each feel less tight and confining.

Easy Living

Highlights in the remodeled living room include refinished hardwood floors, new window treatments, an oak fireplace surround, a custom coffee table a la Ben Napier and a commissioned original painting by a local artist.

Cozy, Streamlined Kitchen

Homeowner Amber doesn't love to cook, but she did fall in love with the newly transformed kitchen with restored hardwood floors, ceiling-height glass front cabinets, new peninsula and butcher block countertops.

Star of the Bath

The showstopper in the radically transformed master bath is this century-old clawfoot tub that Erin had professionally re-porcelained and painted in ocean blue tol tie in with the patterned accent tile.

Outdoor Venue

The client was searching specifically for a home that would lend itself to entertaining and potentially even accommodate house concerts that she might host. Erin and Ben were able to deliver, completely re-landscaping the backyard to include this impressive pergola and deck. In addition to being a great place for outdoor dining and entertaining, the raised deck can double as a stage for performing musicians.

Meet the Homeowner

Ben and Erin pose for a pic with homeowner Amber Hayes in her newly remodeled kitchen. Amber had been living in Nashville for the past 15 years, pursuing her career in country music. But she had grown up in a tiny town in Oklahoma, so she knew a thing or two about small-town living and was eager to get back to it. She was also tuned in to how far her dollars might stretch in a small-town home market as opposed to a big city. Her all-in budget was $140,000. "I feel that I can get exactly what I want," she said, "and go a long way with that [amount] compared to what I could do in Nashville." Her wish-list included a home in a historic neighborhood, space for entertaining, a spa-like bath and a nice front porch. 

Before

The Lenoir House, a 1920s Craftsman, was in close proximity to downtown and came with three bedrooms, two baths, 1500 square feet, a nice front porch and a beautiful magnolia tree in the front yard. Drawbacks included a plain, unspectacular exterior and a backyard that had essentially become an overgrown brush thicket with a rotting deck and stairs. The asking price was $69,500.

After

The most notable change to the exterior is the color, a soft salmon that's certain to make the home stand out in the neighborhood. Aside from the new paint color, the main improvements at the front of the house had to do with freshening up the landscaping and dressing up the porch with seating and dining areas.

Game Plan

Ben and Erin meet with residential designer Luke Sippel (center) and contractor Jonathan Walters (left) to go over the blueprints and formulate plans for demolition and structural modifications.

Living Room, Before

The living room was small and painted in bright teal. The French doors that originally opened onto the front porch had been caulked shut.

Living Room, Before

Upsides to the main living space included a fireplace, lots of windows and original hardwood floors that were in good condition.

Living Room, After

The living room gets brightened up with light gray walls, white trim and furniings in light, neutral upholstery.

Living Room, After

"With this house, I want the inside to feel very colorful and layered and cozy and comfy," said Erin. The original painting is by Erin's friend and local artist Mandy Buchanan.

Living Room, After

The French doors are now restored and functional. Formerly shuttered windows are uncovered from the outside and given new window treatments for lots of natural light.

Living Room, After

For the living room, Ben handcrafted a custom coffee table using a glass-front cabinet removed during the kitchen demo. The top is made from pine lumber salvaged from removal of the dining room wall.

Living Room, Detail

The fireplace gets reworked with a wraparound millwork mantel in honey-colored stain. The mantel was custom made by Ben using reclaimed oak lumber that he had at his shop.

Dining Room, Before

Dining Room, After

The wallpaper border has been removed and the walls painted in rich blue. An eclectic mix of vintage chairs are paired with a rustic wood dining table, along with antique theater seats for extra bench seating

Dining Room, After

The ceiling-fan light fixture is replaced with a classic chandelier.

Kitchen, Before

The kitchen was small and dated, with laminate flooring and plaid wallpaper backsplash. In terms of the size, though, since Amber is not an avid cook, a small efficiently designed kitchen would be ideal.

Kitchen, After

A section of wall was removed, opening up the kitchen onto the dining room, and a peninsula added with butcher-block bar top and additional cabinetry.

Kitchen, Before

Kitchen, After

A highlight in the redesigned kitchen is the intricately patterned tile backsplash in blue and white with contrasting beige grout.

Kitchen, Before

Kitchen, After

The ceiling height cabinets are a mix of closed and glass-front design. Twin globe pendants provide light above the new peninsula and prep area.

Kitchen, After

The laminate flooring was removed, revealing the original thin-gauge hardwood underneath, which is now fully restored and refinished and accented with a vintage area rug.

Kitchen, After

A door opening onto the adjacent hallway was covered over to provide more room for cabinets and better kitchen flow. A refrigerator enclosure, with dual cabinets above, was incorporated into the new design.

Master Bedroom, Before

Master Bedroom, After

The master bedroom didn't need a great deal of remodeling. "Just some paint, and fun dressing," as Erin said. The walls are painted sage green and the room is furnished with antiques and a vintage style iron bed.

Master Bath, Before

 

Master Bath, After

The redesigned bathroom is the real star of this renovation. Standout features include a large tiled walk-in shower and custom double vanity made using an antique dresser and carrera marble top.

Master Bath, Before

The old bathroom was dated, had only one small window and and felt dark and closed in.

Master Bath, After

The updated bath feels spacious and spa-like. An enlarged window with frosted glass provides privacy while letting in lots of natural light.

Master Bath, Detail

The new bath blends contemporary design with classic features. Additional highlights include ornately patterned accent tile and this century-old clawfoot tub.

Master Bath, Detail

The large walk-in shower is visually stunning with a stylized blend of Moroccan pattern and white hex tile along with bench seat, glass door and recessed lighting.

Master Bath, Detail

The custom twin vanity was made using an antique dresser fitted with a Carrera marble top and fixtures in oil-rubbed bronze finish.

Backyard, Before

The backyard was hidden behind a jungle of overgrown shrubs and weeds. The wooden deck, with multiple levels and ramp, was rotted and in poor condition.

Backyard, After

The backyard is radically transformed with a new raised deck and stairs, gravel patio and fire pit. The enlarged bathroom window with frosted glass is visible here from the outside.

Backyard, Before

"I just need you to see the forest through these trees," Erin told Amber on her initial visit. "Imagine there are steps from the back door down to a little pea gravel path that leads around to a pea gravel patio, and then a fire pit in the middle and benches around it." 

Backyard, After

Where there was once just a tangle of underbrush, a deck and pergola is added with outdoor seating, dining space and cypress wood benches custom built by Ben. 

Before

After

The raised deck can serve double duty as a stage, creating a backyard performance venue where Amber can host house concerts.

After

"Every country music singer needs her own stage," Ben told Amber. "You can have parties and perform. And we can come over."

After

When not in use as a stage, the deck and pergola can serve as an outdoor dining area. Bonus features include a hammock, candle lanterns and string lights.

Backyard, Detail

These sturdy cypress wood benches were custom-built by Ben, with some assembly assistance from Erin. 

Front Porch, After

Erin staged the front porch with a small dining table and chairs, lots of live plants and this cozy seating area that's perfect for reading or rela.

The Reveal

Former Nashvillian Amber Hayes gets her first look at her newly remodeled home in Laurel, Mississippi.

The Reveal

The Reveal

The Reveal

 

The Reveal

"The Bohemian gypsy vibe to this fits perfect with what I do for a living. I can see a lot of life happening here."
—new homeowner Amber Hayes

Before

After

The Hayes House

What was once known in town as The Lenoir House can now be re-christened The Hayes House. Erin presented new homeowner and new Laurel resident Amber Hayes with this original watercolor portrait of her updated vintage home.

Y'all Come Back!

And if you liked this Home Town project, we think you might also enjoy this one: 
A Touch of Provence in Southern Mississippi
And keep checking back here for more exclusive photos, video and show updates.

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