Before and After: HGTV’s “Home Town Takeover” Helped This Entryway Go From Dark and Unfinished to Bright and Welcoming

updated May 10, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Before: Unfinished, unsafe wood stairs with no railing
Credit: HGTV

In the new HGTV series “Home Town Takeover,” Ben and Erin Napier take on 12 major renovation projects to help restore the town of Wetumpka, Alabama. And in the latest episode, the couple transforms a home that is well-known outside of its town borders — the Big Fish house, where they filmed Tim Burton’s “Big Fish” in 2003.

When Shellie and Wade Whitfield bought the property three years prior, they knew that they were inheriting a house that needed quite some work, but as many fixer upper stories go, they didn’t realize how much of an undertaking it would actually be. Since the “Big Fish” connection attracted people near and far to the town of Wetumpka — not to mention it was one of Erin’s favorite movies — their iconic house was chosen to get the facelift it desperately needed.

The entryway alone was a sign that the house was due for some serious TLC. The staircase was almost entirely bare, with exposed foundation and no handrail that made it a major hazard. Plus, the wood paneled walls were scuffed up and the entire area was dark — not the kind of first impression a homeowner wants to give their guests.

Credit: HGTV

Ben wanted to create a meaningful handrail and hand-carved spindles that spoke to the home’s history and town at large. To do this, he gathered mismatched spindles from different places across Wetumpka that created an eclectic look for the staircase. Additionally, he used rafters found during demo for banisters, which showcased the 1870 history of the house right when you walked in. And to personalize the entryway, they added a gallery wall filled with family photos that resembled the set design in “Big Fish.”

Credit: HGTV
Credit: HGTV

The kitchen was another major project that they tackled. While it was functional, there was so much potential to maximize the dated space — and the first major step to doing that was knocking down the wall between the dining room and the kitchen. And just like that, the square footage of the kitchen basically doubled.

The Napiers wanted the kitchen to reflect Shelly’s bold personality, so they didn’t hold back on adding color — from the buttery upper cabinets to the sage lower cabinets, and a light blue island smack in the middle. They also wanted to keep the style vintage-inspired, so they added new appliances that had an old look to them — and, as seen in the reveal, that’s exactly what Shellie dreamed of.

To see the full reveal and more transformations in this film-turned-family home, check out the episode on HGTV or Discovery+.

Home Town Takeover” airs every Sunday at 8/9 central on HGTV.