“Home Town” stars Erin and Ben Napier are used to running into problems in the old homes they remodel in Laurel, MS, but their most recent house has such a terrible termite problem that they have to stop renovations for six weeks.

On the episode “Termite Terror,” the homeowner, Stephanie, has bought a beautiful old home with lots of history—but also an infestation of critters that will cost a steep $50,000 to fix.

Read on to find out how Erin and Ben handle this setback, and some renovation lessons that might apply to your own home, too.

A home’s exterior should make a great first impression

Before renovations, this house looks plain on the outside.

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This house may have a lot of character, but when Erin and Ben first show Stephanie the home, the exterior is unremarkable. It’s painted a dark beige and includes a screen porch that gives the entrance a claustrophobic feel.

Erin proposes painting the house a light peach and taking out the screens, to make the house look more welcoming. Stephanie loves the idea.

The shade of light peach gives this house a playful feel.
The shade of light peach gives this house a playful feel.

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By the time Erin and Ben finally show Stephanie her finished home, the exterior looks way different, and much improved. The pink exterior is fresh, feminine, and elegant. Plus, the tone works perfectly with accents of sea-foam green. The biggest change, though, has to be in the front porch, which has been transformed from a closed-off eyesore and into a perfect spot to relax on a warm day.

Porcelain tile can save money after unexpected delays

This bathroom has gone from "infested" to "in style."
This bathroom has gone from “infested” to “in style.”

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At first, Erin and Ben think this house will be an easy project—until the team finds termite damage in both the walls and flooring in the bedroom and bathroom.

After all the buggy bummers, Erin knows that she’ll have to make some cost-efficient choices to help cushion the extra fees. So, she installs beautiful porcelain tiles in the shower and on the bathroom floor.

Result: They look just like expensive marble, but cost a lot less.

Built-in bookshelves complete the look of a living room

These built-ins look like they were always here.
These built-ins look like they were always here.

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Stephanie wants some built-in bookshelves in her new home. So, Ben and Erin make sure that she gets the built-ins of her dreams.

The Napiers add shelving to the empty space on either side of the fireplace. This not only fills up the awkward wasted space but provides a perfect spot for lots of books.

To give the impression that this addition was original to the house, Erin and Ben extend the wood design from the fireplace mantle all the way across the top of the shelving. It’s a subtle way of giving the space some consistency.

Add color to the kitchen

This yellow island gives the kitchen a bright, sunshine feel.
This yellow island gives the kitchen a bright, sunshine feel.

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Choosing a bold color for the kitchen island has been a conspicuous trend recently. Some may choose a deep blue for an accent island, while others may want some tile under bar stools to bring some extra color to the kitchen.

Erin chooses a buttery yellow for Stephanie’s island, which brightens up the kitchen with a vintage feel. This shade also works perfectly with the softer yellow that Erin picks for the hood vent.

French doors can make rooms feel larger

This larger opening makes the kitchen feel much more open.
This larger opening makes the kitchen feel much more open.

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While the kitchen is already looking lovely in yellow, there’s one problem that paint just can’t fix: the size of the kitchen.

It may be just big enough to fit an island—but it’s not exactly spacious. In fact, it feels downright cramped.

Instead of knocking down walls to make it an open concept space, Ben and Erin decide to keep the kitchen wall, with just a few modifications. They install double French doors, where there was once simply a small opening.

This small fix makes the kitchen feel much more open and gives the house a much better flow from kitchen to living space.

Is this house a ‘Home Town’ hit?

Stephanie’s new home may have caused Ben and Erin some extra trouble, but this renovating duo is able to pull through and make this house every bit as beautiful as Stephanie was hoping for.

Originally, Stephanie tells Erin and Ben that she wants to keep her total budget between $150,000 and $175,000—a fair price for a good home in Laurel. She purchases the house for just $65,000, and Ben and Erin give her a renovation quote of $93,000.

However, with the extra costs to fix the termite issues, Stephanie needs to add $16,000 to that estimate, putting her total renovation costs at $109,000. In the end, this gives her new home an all-in price tag of $174,000.

Despite this huge setback, this house turns out amazing. In addition, it also manages to squeeze in right under Stephanie’s maximum budget. That’s some amazing work for an amazing home!

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