Garage Exterior

Fire Damage on the Home Exterior

Fire Damage in the Hallway Inside Kitchen Cabinets

The Story:

Troy and Kelley had built their dream house where they were raising their kids and hoping to make it their forever home. One day, they received a call from their teenage sons with some awful news: a fire had broken out in the garage. The fire was started by an old car with a dried out gasket, which dripped oil and ignited the engine. While the steel garage door had kept the fire from spreading to the rest of the house, there was major damage the family needed help repairing. Our team sprang into action to assess the situation and make a speedy renovation plan.

How They Were Prepared:

A few safety measures that were built into the home helped save it from even worse damage.

Fire-rated door: A fire-rated door leading from inside the garage to the home protected the rest of the home from burning down.

Fire taped drywall: The garage drywall had been fire taped, which helped stop the fire and smoke from spreading upstairs and into more areas of the home. The wall between an attached garage and the house living area is required to be a minimum of ½ inch drywall. There is a high incidence of fires started in garages because of flammable materials often stored there. If there is a living area above the garage, this also needs to be ½ inch drywall.

Hallway soffit: The hallway soffit helped stop the fire and smoke from spreading to more areas of the home.

Kirsten in the Hallway

The Crew

Top Prevention Tips

The Rebuild:

It was clear that we’d have to restore the front of the house, garage and first floor to remove any trace of fire and smoke damage. Since the fire had melted the roof, siding and gutters, we’d have to replace them. The garage needed some major TLC too, so we planned to clean it up. We also wanted to renovate the kitchen and living spaces to brighten up the house and revive it to be the family’s dream home once again.

Savvy Solutions:

Brightening up the home

Despite the tragic circumstances, this renovation gave us an opportunity to update the family’s home to make it lighter and brighter.

The easiest way to lighten up a kitchen is to pick white cabinets and countertops versus complicated construction such as adding a window. We removed the upper cabinet over the kitchen island to create more space and added open shelves at the end of the kitchen for better flow into the other living spaces.

Kitchen Corner

Practical daily storage

Throughout the house we found several ways to seamlessly add more functional storage. We created a custom coffee bar cupboard that cleverly stores all the coffe-making essentials on a sliding shelf. In the laundry room, we added a long hanging rod and storage bins for stylish organization and plenty of space for all the family’s storage needs.

Kitchen Coffee Nook

The Laundry Room

Upgrading the garage

The Garage

Pieces of the car had melted into the garage floor, which caused some pitting. Rather than replacing all the concrete, we added an epoxy coating to fill in the gaps, and like magic we had a smooth, just like new garage floor. We also installed new garage doors that can be controlled with the Garage Door App, making it easy to control from your phone.

Fresh Takes on Design:

Exterior of home - right time for a facelift!

The Front Exterior

We gave the front of the house a facelift with a new roof, siding and gutters. We swapped out the multicolor stones with a more uniform gray brick that gives it a classic look. Now the house looks clean and fresh.

Tying the design together

Throughout home we thoughtfully tied design elements together to create a cohesive look. We incorporated the existing wood trim, including an accent on the hood vent in the kitchen and the mantel in the living room.

The Living Room

We matched the fireplace stone with the kitchen counter tops as well to unite the spaces.

The Living Room

To keep the rooms bright, we went with white and powder blue cabinets in the kitchen, laundry room and mudroom.

Adding personal touches

Personal touches are so important to any home, but especially this one. We restored a rocking chair from Kelley’s great grandpa and it fits perfectly in the room! Re-upolstrering this chair brought it back to life, and now the fabric blends so nicely with the new family room design.

Personal Touches

This lake wooden art piece, made by Hagen and Oats, was hung to help the family always remember their lake cabin and the fun memories they have there.

Wall Art


The Living Room

The Story:

Robin was woken up in the middle of the night to a car crashing into his home. The accident involved a teenage driver who lost control of the car, popped the curb and crashed into the living room. Although no one was injured, the crash left lots of damage to the front porch, walls and Robin’s favorite part of the house – the river rock fireplace.

Our Top Prevention Tip:

Consider replacing your wood-burning fireplace with a gas insert. They burn cleaner, reduce heat loss in your home, and can be turned on with a switch or a button.

The Rebuild:

Once we got the okay from a structural engineer to make sure the wall was stable, we got to work fixing it. We planned to replace the front porch post and living room wall to make everything structurally sound and sealed up. The most important problem to solve was matching the stone for the fireplace that Robin loved.

Savvy Solutions:

The Living Room

The original fireplace stones were collected from a river, but that’s not allowed today, so we had to go with a man made lookalike option. We couldn’t perfectly match the colors so we added some other tones into the mix. The variety of colors adds some visual interest to the focal point of this living room.


The Story:

A washing machine hose failed, causing water to leak throughout the home. Water ran all day while the homeowners were at work, damaging 3 levels of their home. What started as a leak in the 2nd story laundry room traveled through the first level to the basement.

Top Prevention Tips

Wrapping up

We are so happy we were able to help these homeowners restore their homes, so they can safely enjoy them for many more years to come.

Tune in for the next episode of Renovation 911 Tuesday evenings at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV, and available to stream on discovery+.

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