Growing up in a much smaller town than Laurel, my family and I often traveled up Highway 15 from my hometown of Leakesville to play soccer at the Sportsplex or to go formal dress shopping downtown. The memories I have of traveling to downtown Laurel to go dress shopping are not especially memorable, but that dress shop was one of the best, and probably the only one we had the opportunity to shop at during that time. WOW, how times have changed for downtown Laurel.
I graduated from Mississippi State University with a love for communication and agriculture. When I was offered a job after college in the communication department of the third largest poultry company, I couldn’t say, “YES,” fast enough. I had always dreamed of working in the field of agriculture, but never thought I would find a job this close to home. And then it hit me — I didn’t know anyone in Laurel, nor did I even know where I should live in Laurel.
For the first six months, my dog, Daisy, and I lived in an RV that was parked in Sandersville. This was an adventure in and of itself. Needless to say, we were ready for more room, consistent air conditioning and hot water!
I found a place to rent out in the country that reminded me of home. It was on a lake with plenty of room for Daisy, and it was about 15 minutes from town. As much as we loved it out there, because it did remind me so much of home, I felt really disconnected from Laurel.
I loved my job and loved Laurel, so it was time to put down some roots. Having several friends that had “Home Town Houses,” they all expressed to me how great the experience was and that I should apply. No, thank you, I had no desire to be on national TV. Well… I had to eat those words, and here we are! Honestly, those were probably some of the sweetest words I’ve ever had to eat.
My wish list was pretty simple, I wanted to be close to work, have a yard and plenty of space for Daisy, needed room for family to come stay, and the perfect place on the front porch for Lucy, my yard goose. The Holston house checked all the boxes. It was a solid brick house that sits on an acre of land in town, not far from work or friends and had the perfect front steps for Lucy to hangout. The inside of the home needed a nice refresh though.
When you’re doing the walkthrough of the house and they are telling you what all they can do with the house, a few months later you have completely forgotten everything they said. I remember wishing I could remember what color Erin painted my front door in the home portrait. (They painted the front door the perfect color, Sherwin Williams succulent, for those wondering.)
With as many statements of “I don’t know” that I gave them during the beginning of the process, I’m not quite sure how they hit the nail on the head so perfectly with the design and details. I put all my trust in them fully, and I was so excited to see what Erin and Ben were going to do with my home, and boy did they deliver!
The exterior of the house needed a nice sprucing up. The new front door allows more natural light inside, and it’s much more welcoming than before. The waterfall-gone-wrong that was turned into a flower bed didn’t exist anymore.
The trim color, new gutters and new landscaping were the finishing details that helped transform the exterior appearance of the home. And Lucy, there she was looking so good on those front steps. I sure hope my Grams is happy to see her goose legacy living on!
Before the renovation, I wasn’t really sure how the listening room was going to serve a functional purpose for me. Years ago, I was gifted an old record player by someone very dear to me that started my love for records. Turning this room into a listening room was such a cool idea and the piece Ben built — out of wood from my family’s Camp Polly Wiggle — to hold my records (and Lucy’s outfits) and record player is so functional. I find myself sitting in this room with a record playing lightly in the background more times than I thought I ever would.
The mud room, or Daisy’s room as I like to call it, was built with so much detail keeping my precious pup in mind through the whole process. The dog bed with a nameplate under it, the drawer for dog food storage and her food and water bowls were such specific special touches that I never dreamed we would have in a house. The whole room gives me so much more storage in my house and gives Daisy her own space while I’m gone to work.
The kitchen was completely transformed and unrecognizable from what it was before. It’s so open and airy now, and 100 times more functional for hosting. The two-tone kitchen cabinets with the perfect neutral color that I think has a hint of green on the bottom cabinets are a color combination that I love.
I can’t forget to mention the new Viking appliances that are so nice I’m almost afraid to use them. The oven is a great place to store a box of pizza or a loaf of bread to keep Daisy from pulling it off the counter! My mama has enjoyed the appliances when she has visited, so rest assured they have been used.
I found myself becoming more and more speechless as they walked us through the renovation. The last room to see was the living room, dining room and the bar. I couldn’t help but notice the new faux fireplace with the perfect mantle fit for Christmas stockings. They cleaned up an old mantle that they found at the camp, and this is the show stopper in my living room for sure!
The dining room table was set and the china cabinet was full of my heritage green china that I have adored since it was gifted to me. The bar with plenty of room for my glassware, all the storage for my serving platters AND a Viking wine cooler was the icing on the cake to wrap-up this sweet experience. I’m honestly still shocked it’s mine every time I walk into it.
Daisy and I have been enjoying our new spaces and living in Laurel. My coworkers are like my family in Laurel and they have all taken such good care of us since we’ve been here. We found a church that we love and have some of the best people surrounding us on our journey.
Laurel has given me some of the sweetest friendships too — that I’ll be forever grateful for. This is our Laurel Era and we are loving and embracing being part of the growth that Laurel is experiencing.
I can’t express to you how appreciative I am to Erin, Ben, the entire Home Town crew and my show sidekick, Kendall, who you all know and love. Kendall answered every off-the-wall question I had, reassured me that the nightmares I was having about my home weren’t reality and, overall, was the best supporter and encourager throughout the whole process.
Erin and Ben are the most precious couple. They’re so genuine and thoughtful — they took my home and made it into the perfect place for gatherings. The time they took to add all of the personalized touches to my home really exemplifies how much they care about each owner and the homes they renovate.
The Home Town crew are some of the nicest people and were so fun to work with. I had so much fun during this experience, and I am so thankful that I was able to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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