Ty Pennington Reveals One of Home Design’s Hardest Decisions

In the first season of “Ty Breaker,” host Ty Pennington has seen a lot of small homes and a lot of damaged homes—but his latest house is both tiny and a total mess.

In the episode “A Sizable Renovation,” Pennington and guest designer Sabrina Soto set out to help Wendy and Evan, newlyweds who’ve recently bought an abandoned, partly demolished wreck of a house.

Pennington and Soto will need to spend their $200,000 budget wisely in order to turn this shack into the cute, functional honeymoon home this couple desires. Here’s how they pull it off, which might inspire some changes around your own home to make the most of your space, too.

Make your front porch feel like a bonus room

This porch is like an outdoor bonus room!


There’s no denying that Wendy and Evan’s house is short on space, and there’s only so much that Soto and Pennington can do to make the living room seem bigger. So these two decide to expand the living space—right out the front door!

Pennington decides to make the front porch feel like a bonus room by updating the flooring to make it a bit more stylish and adding a daybed for comfy sitting.

“Making this another living space would be key,” Soto says when Pennington describes his plan.

Luckily, the furnishings and flooring make this porch feel like a real living room. This reimagined porch proves that outside space can be incredibly valuable for a small house.

Picking a door color is one of the ‘toughest’ design decisions

This porch needed some work.


As a part of the front porch rehab, Soto and Pennington want to install a new front door, which means they’ll need to decide on a paint color that will work with this home’s 1920s exterior.

“One of the toughest things to decide on the exterior of your home is the exterior color of your front door,” Pennington says. “There’s only certain colors that really work with brick.”

A great front porch needs a great front door color.


Soto and Pennington both like a blue shade and a green shade, with Pennington pointing out that they’re both muted enough to be good front door colors. But in the end, they choose the green. This color works great with the exterior brick, and it complements all the beautiful greenery that Soto and Pennington add to the porch.

Create a space-saving, fold-down office

living room
This living room also functions as an office.


These days, plenty of people are working from home—and Wendy is no exception. When she first meets Pennington, she explains that she works from her tiny kitchen table, which feels cramped.

So Pennington creates a compact desk in the living room, building a window shelf that folds out into a table. Pennington points out that this will be a great desk space, with a great view. Plus, it’ll be a convenient shelf when Wendy isn’t working.

“It’s like a little hidden office area,” Soto says.

This shelf quickly turns into an office.


To finish the desk space, Pennington adds a bench with a hidden compartment. He points out that when Wendy is done with work, she can store her work stuff in the bench.

In the end, it’s a brilliant home office that appears (and disappears) depending on what the space is being used for at that time.

Use dark flooring to offset an all-white kitchen

When renovation started, this didn’t look like a kitchen.


Wendy tells Pennington that she really wants an all-white kitchen, but Pennington knows that the space will need some color, even if it’s not coming from the quartz counters or cabinets. So he decides to bring in a dark wood flooring.

“The dark flooring would look really good with a white-white kitchen,” Pennington says, “because you’re going to get a nice strong contrast.”

These dark floors provide some contrast to the all-white kitchen.


The kitchen ends up looking great. The space is filled with all-white materials, just like Wendy wanted, but the dark floors keep it from looking washed out. The space ends up looking bright and well-balanced.

Bring some life to the kitchen with a mini greenhouse

This window shelf provides the perfect spot for some beautiful greenery.


When the kitchen is just about finished, Soto has an idea to add a small shelf to the window over the sink. She thinks a clear, glass shelf will fill out the space nicely and provide some extra storage.

“The other good news about having a clear glass shelf is that light comes all the way through,” Pennington says, “so you could actually have [a] double herb garden.”

They finish this kitchen by adding little plants to this window. The greenery looks great in the all-white kitchen, plus the mini herb garden will be convenient for cooking with fresh herbs.

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