Before and After: HGTV’s “Farmhouse Fixer” Updates a Historic Home’s Bedroom with Dark Paint
Renovating an old house can be a tricky task for any homeowner, especially when the property has historical roots. When she purchased the iconic John Proctor House in Peabody, Massachusetts, homeowner Barbara knew that she needed to call in a professional. In the latest episode of HGTV’s “Farmhouse Fixer,” Jonathan Knight gave the home some necessary upgrades in order to make it livable — while still keeping its historical attributes intact.
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Inhabited by John Proctor from the mid-1600s until 1692, the First Period house was a two-floor wood-frame home on a property that remained in the family for decades. Proctor, who was executed during the Salem Witch Trials after being accused of witchcraft alongside his wife, ran it as a tavern for several years. (According to the Salem Witch Museum, the current house most likely dates back to a rebuild by Proctor’s son in the 1700s, with some of the original structure possibly still intact.) The house had mostly stood the test of time and Jonathan’s main renovation goal was to simply make the space functional for its new owner.
While the majority of the budget went to the bathroom and plumbing, Knight was also able to give the main bedroom a refresh for $6,500. The bedroom was a large, barren space that was predominantly defined by its wooden features and classic brick fireplace. While the foundation of the room was in pretty good shape, its greatest flaws were the previous cosmetic attempts at fixing up the place. Much of the room was filled with bad, orange-hued 1970s pine and the fireplace had been mildly tampered with. The homeowner’s main request was to make the space “look more period appropriate” and in line with the rest of the home’s original look.
With the help of designer Kristina Crestin and the rest of his renovation team, Jonathan got to work. Jonathan and Kristina went to a nearby residence from the same time period to get some inspiration for the Proctor home and decided to use dark paint in part of the bedroom. They painted the trim and the fireplace mantel a dark, earthy gray (with blue hues) to cover up the 1970s pine and provide contrast to the original wood in the space.
“Now that you have the dark color next to the wood, you actually notice the wood lintel, where you didn’t before when you had that ‘70s pine,” Kristina explained. Leaving the original lintel (the chimney support beam that runs horizontally across a fireplace) untouched added some historical visual interest to the space. The juxtaposition of the dark gray coloring also helped enhance the existing wooden doors, according to Kristina. “We didn’t touch them, but — framed with the dark color — they’re so much better,” she said.
After painting, most of the upgrades came in the form of furniture and decorations. Jonathan and the team added a wooden bed, accent chairs, and airy pink curtains. They also swapped the red area rug for a more low key, tranquil-toned rug that matched the curtains and bedding. Otherwise, they left the core of the room untouched.
Jonathan noted how important it is to preserve old houses, rather than tear them down, and added, “It’s just really nice that this house has a new chapter and has a new owner that [will] keep the Proctor family’s memory alive.”
“Farmhouse Fixer” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV.