At long last, 2021 has arrived! But since COVID-19 is still with us, you might be itching to make some changes around the house that’ll help you ride out the rest of this pandemic at home in style.
You’re in luck: On this week’s “Fixer to Fabulous,” Jenny and Dave MarrsÂ renovate a house by adding some essential quarantine-friendly upgrades you might like to try yourself!
In the Season 2 episode âRanch Becomes Family-Friendly,â Jenny and Dave meet homeowners Wes and Kate Walker, whose Bentonville, AR, home is lovely from the outside, but the interior is too small for a family of five, and doesn’t function well for their needs.
Dave and Jenny have $175,000 to give this home some coronavirus-savvy updates to make this family comfortable at home through the pandemic and beyond. Read on to find out which favorite quarantine features you might want to add to your own abode, too.
1. Outdoor seating that doesn’t curb your curb appeal
2020 was all about making the most of small outdoor spaces, so Jenny and Dave arenât surprised when Kate and Wes ask about adding a sitting space out front.
While Kate says she’d love a front porch, Wes is a bit hesitant. He loves the curb appeal of the house and doesn’t want the look to change too much.
So in the interest of keeping the front of the house looking the same, Jenny and Dave decide to make a small (but convenient) deck by the front windows.
They move some of the greenery from the front yard, making just enough space to build a 30-foot steel deck, complete with a fire pit, just off the front door.
“It’ll be really subtle. It won’t be this giant front porch,” Jenny says, “but it would give them a space where they can actually sit and enjoy.”
When the deck is finished, the effect is of having a front porch without changing the shape of the entrywayâthey gain seating without sacrificing curb appeal.
2. Home decor that feels like a vacation
Sometimes flooring can be forgotten, but Kate and Wes really want to make sure their floors stand out.
âWe keep coming back to a terra-cotta floor,â Kate says when Jenny asks what kind of look they want in the kitchen.
While terra-cotta tiles arenât necessarily typical for modern renovations, Jenny likes the idea, saying that itâll give the house a Mediterranean aesthetic. In a pandemic when it’s not easy to travel, it’s the closest these two might get to a European escape!
In fact, Jenny embraces the flooring style and even uses terra cotta in both the kitchen and the new master suite, which they convert from a garage.
âThe hexagon shape makes it really unique and different,â Jenny says when the tile is installed. âThe patina is gorgeous. It just feels like youâre on vacation at a spa off the coast of Spain.â
3. Plenty of kitchen storage
During a pandemic, plenty of kitchen cabinets for all those home-cooked meals is a mustâand with unique kitchen floors, Jenny wants to make sure the cabinets complement the look.
So instead of choosing a typical white cabinet, Jenny decides on a rich green color that will not only bring out the red in the terra cotta, but also add to that old-world European character with its dark, moody shade.
Dave approves of Jennyâs dark green choice.
âItâs a statement,” he says. “Thereâs tons of light in here now so I feel like you can go darker.â
4. A spacious and beautiful pantry
In addition to kitchen cabinets, Jenny knows how important pantry space can beâand that it should be beautiful, too. To deliver, Jenny uses a flower drawing by Wes and Kateâs young daughter, Reese, to create a custom wallpaper. It looks great, and Jenny notes that this detail will be extra special for the family.
âEvery time they go into their pantry, for years and years to come, theyâll be able to say, âReese drew this,ââ Jenny says.
Plus, to add a kid-friendly feel, Jenny and Dave decide to make a secret âspy roomâ complete with a desk at the back the the pantryâthe perfect hideout for the Walkers’ two boys.
5. A home-school/homework room that’ll grow with the kids
At the beginning of the pandemic, families scrambled to set up home-school spaces and work-from-home offices, but this family was ahead of the curveâthey were already home-schooling, so the kids already had a workspace!
Still, Jenny and Dave want to update the kidsâ home-schooling room so that they can enjoy it for years to come.
âThe homework room for the Walker kids is basically going to be a room thatâs going to grow with them,â Jenny says.
So they add some paneling to the wall with built-in chalkboards for each of the kids. The decor is youthful but isnât so kid-focused that it looks like a nursery. The space is bright and beautiful, and it can be used for years to come.
âYou know, you’ve got to do your schoolwork. You want to have a happy place to do it,â Jenny says.
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