Tile flooring

Nate and Jeremiah on Timeless Kitchen Upgrades

On “Hometown”, Erin and Ben Napier has made such a difference in Laurel, MS, that a new spinoff, “Home Town Kickstart,” aims to replicate their revitalization efforts across America.

In the latest episode, “Upstate Update in Cornwall”, the Napiers get help from Nate Berkus and Jeremy Brentwho are heading from New York to Cornwall, NY, to transform a local clothing store as well as a family home where the community gathers.

The resulting renovations prove that even small changes can make a huge difference. Curious to see how the team combines big-city style with small-town charm? Check out the before and after photos below and learn some smart lessons you can apply to your own abode as well.

Vinyl flooring is durable and looks like wood

This old rug had to go.


In Cornwall, Brent and Berkus meet Karen Kaiser Sharp, the owner of a beloved local store called Madison Avenue. Named after Kaiser Sharp’s daughter (not the street in New York), the store specializes in children’s clothing and rents out ball gowns. It has a lot of great inventory, but the decor leaves a lot to be desired, especially the old green carpet under their feet.

Berkus and Brent decide to replace the floors, first fixing the subfloor, which has suffered water damage, then adding a new floor with a sleeker look.

“We chose a luxury vinyl with a very rich color,” says Berkus. “The aged wood look will certainly be much more sophisticated.”

Madison Avenue Store
After: With new floors, Madison Avenue feels like a different place.


Vinyl flooring is also very durable, which is perfect for any store or residential space where people gather. With a shiny new coat of paint on the walls and new furniture, the space transforms into a sophisticated boutique, proving that sometimes a renovation has to start from scratch.

New signage helps make the exterior stand out

outdoor shop
The newly painted black shutters appear on this showcase.


Towards the end of the Madison Avenue renovation, Berkus and Brent freshen up the exterior.

“With just a little paint it will go a long way,” Brent says. “The shutters are going to become this very beautiful shiny black, as well as the front door.”

They are also creating a new logo for the store and adding signage that helps make the exterior stand out. While most homes wouldn’t need a logo on the front, a nice new mailbox, address numbers or a welcome mat could have the same effect.

Neutral colors are a timeless backdrop

dated kitchen
This dated kitchen was all wood.


Afterwards, Berkus and Brent visit Kurt and Laura Hahn, whose house is a popular gathering place for the community. They love to cook big meals for lots of friends and co-workers, but the layout of their home makes entertaining difficult.

To help out, Brent and Berkus decide to remove part of their living room wall and freshen up their kitchen, choosing soft colors to ensure food, friends and cooking utensils can take center stage.

neutral colors
After: Light cabinets and dark lower cabinets look stylish.


“Neutral colors with classic touches of natural wood, stone and brass,” Berkus says of the style selection. “This project is really about creating a sustainable space that will last forever for this family that is the center of the Cornwall community.

The black and white floor is also timeless

dining room
This dining room was covered with more rugs.


While Berkus and Brent want to install light and cool cabinetry in Kurt and Laura’s kitchen, they decide to go a little more dramatic for the floor.

“Today in the Hahns’ kitchen, we decided to add one of our signature styles: a black and white checkered floor,” Berkus says of the tile choice. “It’s a classic look that will give the Hahns a timeless kitchen. We want things to last and be great forever so that their lives are carefree and they have the freedom to continue supporting the community.

kitchen floors
After: These floors make a statement.


Add new hardware to old furniture for a new look

A beloved hutch made by Kurt Hahn’s grandfather


While Brent and Berkus agree that the Hahn house needs some work, there’s one feature they both love: a hutch made by Kurt’s grandfather.

“It’s not often I say that, but I don’t want to do anything about it,” Brent said as he surveyed the piece of furniture, even pointing out that he would normally pay a fortune for a finish like this hutch.

updated hutch
After: With new hardware and a stone top, this room is refreshed.


However, they decide they can improve the room by adding a stone top and some antique hardware. Ultimately, the hutch still looks good but feels a bit more modern, while the stone top gives the piece a bit more functionality.

“It will also be a great place to serve if they need it,” Brent points out.