HGTV’s Jenn Todryk shares her tips for looking stylish in the suburbs – Texas Monthly

When I returned to Texas in early 2020, I imagined filling the Upper fixator fantasy: to buy a historical house with a unique charm that just needed to be renovated. Instead, given the proximity to workplaces and schools, we settled in a suburban neighborhood in Flower Mound. Our home is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but it hasn’t been updated since it was built in the late 90’s – think linoleum countertops, dark oak cabinetry and a stove with a working burner Steps. We wanted to put our own style into the space, which meant doing away with the same builder-grade greige backsplash and built-in kitchen desk that our neighbors have.

For inspiration, my husband and I binged HGTV’s No Reno demo on Discovery+. The show, which is filmed in North Dallas, is hosted by designer Jenn Todryk, who got her start renovating her own home and sharing her expertise on social media. In the new podcast You, me and Mike, she and her husband, Mike, bring their quick wits and sense of faith to topics ranging from a miscarriage when Jenn was nearly three months old to how to have a working relationship with your spouse (the couple is co-owner of Armor Coffee in Allen). On Instagram, where the Burleson native has 1.1 million subscribersher stories are filled with the antics of her three children, interior decorating tips, and behind-the-scenes insight into the show.

The premise of No Reno demo, which has its season two finale on September 1, is pretty much as the title suggests. Dallas-area homeowners come to Todryk wanting to remodel at least three rooms, with one catch: Todryk’s team can’t demolish anything bigger than kitchen cabinets. Some clients have just moved in; others have spent twenty years at home. Everyone wants to give their own touch to their home. What Chip and Joanna Gaines did for the boards and the dream of fixing an old house in a great neighborhood, Jenn Todryk did for those who want suburbia without the cookie cutter. And you can keep those walls.

On the show, Todryk shares insights into room design, such as using vinyl tile flooring for those who want the look of hardwood without the price tag. She advises homeowners to choose a place for “movement” in kitchens to break up the monotony, such as a countertop with lots of veins in the marbling or a herringbone backsplash. On a recent Zoom call, she shared some suburban style tips that take a home from cookie cutter to (the feel of) custom construction.

Find the best feature of a room, then design around it.

As her many followers suggest, Todryk spends a lot of time on Instagram, where “design trends are changing rapidly,” she says. But even though she constantly draws inspiration from what she finds on the app, Todryk doesn’t make many decisions about how to design a space until she steps into it.

“Honestly, this is home. It sounds corny, but when you walk into a house, it’s like, ‘Am I looking at a huge bay window? It’s incredible. How can we build from this; how do we accentuate that?’ says Todryk. “Find the really cool spot in the room or space, and things fall into place after that.”

Throw your money in your kitchen.

I haven’t even finished asking my question of which area to splurge on when Todyrk interrupts: “Kitchen.”

“It’s one of the first rooms the buyer enters. It’s your ‘wow’ moment and sets the tone for the rest of the house,” she says. “That gives you the most value.”

Yes, this fancy light fixture is also worth the splurge.

Todryk suggests replacing standard builder-grade fixtures with ones that will make a statement. Sometimes the prices for chandeliers featured on her show can be mind-boggling, but she says these are costs that can be recouped when the home is sold. If the fixtures are up to date, there is even a section on an appraisal where this can be noted.

Design by layer.

In some episodes of his show, Todryk takes a simple, square room and turns it into the main feature of the house. She will add trim around the windows and create larger baseboards to make it look more luxurious.

Her trick is to think in terms of layers, which can easily be added or subtracted to change the mood of a room. “Layers of woodwork, layers of paint, layers of wallpaper, new lighting. Furniture is one layer.

Designing an Instagram-perfect home in 2022 is a great way to have a space that looks outdated by 2023. Todryk never lets trends trump his own tastes. “There was a hot moment when last year they were saying the crown moldings were done,” she laughs. “The molding did not come out.”

Use Facebook Marketplace to sell the items you replace. Chances are people are watching.

With an HGTV star online, could someone blame me for asking about renovating my own home? On the show, Todryk sells whatever she can to put more money into the budget, and I was curious if I could sell the cabinets that are about to be ripped out of my kitchen. I knew Facebook Marketplace for selling smaller used items, but she says that’s also what she uses to get rid of perfectly good but outdated cabinets.

“Right now we’re in a crazy situation where we’ve never really been in the housing market,” she says. People buying big items like cabinets have finally landed a house and are trying to save money because they paid top dollar for the house, or bought a house to turn into an Airbnb, or expand their home due to higher equity. Your trash might just be another owner’s treasure.

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