When renovating a house, it’s not just what’s on the inside that counts—and a new HGTV show, “Inside Out,” shows the importance of getting both the interior and exterior in great shape.
“Inside Out” stars landscaper Mike Pyle and interior designer Carmine Sabatella, who make over homes in Southern California. In the latest episode, “Flecking Awesome,” their newlywed clients Kim and Jamie Morse need a lot of help.
Kim has just moved into Jamie’s 1,100-square-foot home, but this place is more like a man cave than a honeymoon home. The front yard has no curb appeal, the backyard is boring, and the interior is dated, ugly, and dark.
“He lived like this and thought it was fine,” Kim tells Pyle and Sabatella.
What does it take to convert a bona fide bachelor pad into a family home? Find out as Pyle and Sabatella work with a $160,000 budget to renovate this house both inside and out—and learn some great lessons you can apply to your own abode, too.
Make sure your entrance isn’t missing a welcoming way in
Right away, Pyle gets to work improving the curb appeal.
“The biggest thing that I see: You’re using your driveway for your entrance, which I’m not a huge fan of,” Pyle says. “What I was thinking was, create a new entry.”
Pyle knows that a nice walkway will make all the difference for this house, so he adds a beautiful fence around the yard and puts in elegant pavers leading to the front door.
In the end, this welcoming walkway makes such a big difference. It’s a lot more beautiful than strolling up a driveway any day!
A glittery kitchen counter adds some glam
Inside the house, Sabatella is going for a new take on the midcentury ranch style, which he calls “midcentury atomic ranch.” It’s retro but also clean and a little funky (in a good way).
“The atomic ranch is all about that Palm Springs vibe, open floor plan, using some really punchy, fun colors,” he explains.
In line with that look, Sabatella updates the kitchen with white cabinets and a stunning “peacock”-colored island. On top, he adds a white quartz countertop with glittery flecks that make it more showy. While the overall vibe of this new kitchen is pretty traditional, with a unique countertop, this kitchen gains a little extra pop.
Use terrazzo on the walls rather than the floor
When it comes time to pick out the shower finishes, Sabatella has a word of caution.
He shows off large terrazzo tiles, saying, “It’s very clean, it’s very midcentury, it’s not going to go out of style. This is my favorite, but it’s also going to be the most slippery.”
With the sleek texture and few grout lines, Sabatella explains further that Kim and Jamie probably wouldn’t want to step out of the shower soaking wet.
So Sabatella finds a compromise by using the terrazzo on the shower walls. Now, Kim gets the terrazzo look yet with a less-slippery floor.
It’s a great look and comes at a nice price. Sabatella brags that—at less than $3 per square foot, $255 in total—this tile is good for the budget.
This bathroom is a great example of finding the right use for a particular tile. While a favorite tile may not work for a floor, it may be fine for another spot in the house.
Always check for cheaper alternatives that look just as nice
Meanwhile, Pyle cleans up the yard by removing the overgrown plants and gravel in order to replace them with a fire pit, dining space, and outdoor kitchen. And while his design looks great, Pyle wants to make sure the backyard also includes cost-effective materials.
So when it comes time to pick the tile for the barbecue area, Pyle explains that one style is much more expensive than others.
“First and foremost is cement tile: It’s beautiful—everyone loves cement tile,” he says, pointing to a tile sample. “They’re also $7 apiece.”
He then shows off patterned ceramic tiles, which he says are $5.50 per square foot. While the cement would cost $2,000 to $3,000, the ceramic will set Kim and Jamie back only $700.
While the neutral look of cement may be alluring, it may not be worth the price. Pyle’s tile selection shows just how important it can be to look for cheaper options, because when the project is done, the ceramic tile looks fantastic. This barbecue is ready for grilling in style!
A living wall adds greenery without taking up floor space
While Pyle is focused on the elegant backyard kitchen, he doesn’t want to forget about plants. With this being sunny Southern California, Pyle is inspired to use succulents, but not in a typical way.
“Succulents are beautiful. They’re a hit today,” Pyle says. “Everyone’s throwin’ them in ground and within landscapes, but we’re going to do something a little more unique and go vertical with them.”
He installs a 7-foot-wide succulent wall. It gives Jamie and Kim a succulent garden without taking up square footage, and it adds a beautiful feature to an otherwise blank wall.