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Before and After: HGTV’s “Fixer to Fabulous” Supersizes This Small ‘70s Ranch


When Rob and Angie Nelson decided to settle down near family after years of moving throughout the U.S., the two knew that they had their work cut out for them. Fortunately, their extended local family includes HGTV stars Dave and Jenny Marrs. In the latest episode of “Fixer to Fabulous,” the Marrses renovated Rob and Angie’s cramped 1,100-square-foot Arkansas ranch into a modern two-story dream home.

Built in the 1970s, the interior of the house was dark, outdated, and closed off. The exterior was similarly run-down, with an antiquated green paint job and a mismatched wooden front deck. Rob and Angie hadn’t viewed the inside of the house before purchasing it and, upon seeing it, requested an open concept renovation. With a $300,000 budget, they were also hoping for a larger overall home that could comfortably fit both of them and their teenage sons (making a second bathroom a necessity). 

To help with the tight space issues, Dave and Jenny kicked off an unrecognizable exterior overhaul. They expanded the house on both the left and right sides, and built an additional level for bedrooms and an extra bathroom. They also added another garage to the side of the house, more suited for a family of four. By the end of the renovation, the home clocked in at 2,800 square feet. 

When building the second floor, Jenny and Dave had to get rid of the original roof, which allowed for them to add in more appropriate black metal roofing (a solid contrast to the new white paint job on the front of the house). The upper exterior of the house also featured a complimentary darker wood.

“We added in this wood siding to add a little bit of warmth and texture, just that modern feel,” Jenny explained.

Their team also tamed the overgrown weeds in the front of the property and tied the modern aesthetic together with minimalist landscaping.

On the inside, the original layout of the house looked drab and closed-off, with the bulk of the issues in the entryway and living area. Jenny and Dave immediately knocked down several walls to help make the living room into the open concept heart of the home. The second floor addition allowed for a higher ceiling in the living area, creating an airy atmosphere. The renovation also added in more windows, which brought in lots of natural light. 

Jenny and Dave stripped the dark wooden floors of the first floor and replaced them with lighter, more open herringbone flooring. The new flooring matched the new staircase and blended in with the fresh white walls. The flooring and stairs also matched the highlight of the space: the brand new, see-through wine room and aquarium.

“It’s not a huge room, but it’s enough storage for 150 bottles of wine,” Dave estimated.

The wine area was practical in use but also served as a “statement piece” with the addition of the 1,000-pound saltwater fish tank, as requested by Rob. For a personal touch, the Marrses had their children pick out the resident sea creatures (including several clownfish) for their aunt and uncle’s new home. To finish off the modernized space, Dave and Jenny added white and gray furniture, a wall-mounted TV, and a new fireplace.

“We’ve lived in amazing places, but they never were [our] actual home,” Angie said. “So now we’re here and it’s home, and we’re happy.”

“Fixer to Fabulous” airs new episodes on Tuesdays at 9/8 central on HGTV and Discovery+.


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