Dave and Jenny Marrs love living in Bentonville, AR, so much so that they’re persuading others to move in.
In the episode “Small Rancher, Big Addition,” the Marrses renovate a home for Jenny’s sister and brother-in-law, Angie and Rob Nelson. Angie and Rob are moving to town from Colorado, and while they’re glad to be close to Jenny and Dave, their new house is small for their family of four.
The Marrses decide to build up and out, in order to turn the 1,100-square-foot ranch into a 2,800-square-foot homestead. Angie and Rob have a jumbo-sized $300,000 renovation budget and a long list of must-haves.
“This is without a doubt the biggest project that we’ve ever done,” Dave says.
Read on to find out how Jenny and Dave expand this tiny house, and get take-home tips for adding more space and style to your own abode, too.
Right away, Jenny and Dave know the house needs a lot of work. Not only does the footprint need to be bigger, but Angie and Rob are hoping for a much more modern exterior.
The HGTV stars build additions to both sides of the house, and add an entire second floor. Then, they get to work on the curb appeal. It’s clear this couple would like a modern vibe, but Angie says she’d also like the design to incorporate different textures, like brick or wood.
In the end, Jenny and Dave surprise the couple with a dynamic house that feels modern but homey.
“We have the metal roof, we have the board-and-batten siding, and the brick,” Jenny says, as she finally shows Angie and Rob the outside of their new house. “We added in this wood siding to add a little bit of warmth and texture—just that modern feel.”
It goes to show that modern style doesn’t always need to be sleek or simple. With a metal roof and clean lines, the house feels contemporary, but the brick and wood keep the look classic and inviting. Altogether, it’s a perfect blend.
Inside the house, Jenny wants to renovate the dated kitchen completely and turn it into a dreamy chef’s kitchen for Rob, who loves to cook.
She decides to hop on the trend of using wood cabinets made from quarter-sawed oak, which means that the log is cut at a 45-degree angle to the radius of the rings, creating a tighter grain.
The team also installs a 60-inch double oven and a massive island, giving Rob plenty of prep space.
To finish it off, Jenny adds dark counters, explaining, “I wanted to go dark on the countertops, because I wanted this quarter-sawed oak in the cabinetry to really stand out.”
When the kitchen is done, the light cabinets and dark quartz counters go together beautifully, showing once again that natural materials like wood can warm up a modern design.
In the end, Jenny says the space is probably her “favorite kitchen ever.”
With a new second story going in, Dave and Jenny know the house will need a new staircase. They want to make sure it feels as modern as the rest of the house, so they choose a steel railing that feels crisp and industrial.
It’s a great look, and the minimalist railing provides good sightlines from the second story down to the entryway below.
“We wanted a handrail that really gave you the view,” Dave says.
In the end, the second floor makes a big difference, but the staircase itself also makes a striking impression. It’s a smart addition that shows how modern style can be carried through the different parts of a house—even the stairs.
When Jenny and Dave first see the only bathroom of the original home, they’re not at all impressed with the dated finishes. They plan to add more bathrooms to the house, and they also want to turn the bathroom into a gorgeous first-floor en suite.
Jenny selects a light wood-tone tile for the floor and vanity wall, which plays beautifully off the gray quartz countertop and the large-scale dark gray tile in the shower. She finishes it all off with black matte finishes.
When the bathroom is finished, the design feels bold but natural, illustrating how modern tile can instantly transform a dated space.
“It’s like everything in here just is modern, but also really cozy,” Jenny says at the reveal. “I love this bathroom.”
Jenny and Dave are making lots of progress turning the mess of a backyard into a beautiful green space for entertaining, and Rob asks Jenny and Dave if they could install a swimming pool. While Dave and Jenny aren’t worried about the budget, they are concerned about the timing.
With less than a month and a half to go, they’re cutting it pretty close if they want to add a pool, so Dave suggests the idea of a shipping container pool, which Jenny and Dave know will add an industrial feel to the backyard.
“Really modern, really unique,” Jenny says of the plan. “And it’s going to just be the finishing touch on this backyard.”
In the end, the yard is stunning, with its huge new deck, new landscaping, and pool.
Jillian Pretzel is a Southern California writer who covers lifestyle, relationships, home, and money management.
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