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Clint Harp of ‘Fixer Upper’ Fame Returns! Renovation Secrets From ‘Restoration Road’

Posted by: | Posted on: January 8, 2021

Clint Harp made a name for himself as a carpenter on Chip and Joanna Gaines‘ hit show “Fixer Upper,” but now he’s flying solo with his own series on Discovery+, “Restoration Road.”

In the show, Harp travels the country to witness (and pitch in on) a variety of renovations of historic structures. In the series premiere, “Idaho Train Car,” Harp visits the small town of Deary, ID, where he meets Kevin Durkin of Heritage Restorations, who is turning an old train car into an elegant guesthouse.

The train car, which dates to the turn of the century, is really run down, but Durkin is determined to salvage this slice of history.

Read on to see this train car morph from a decrepit eyesore into a delightful home—a transformation packed with inspiration you may be able to use to preserve the history of your own abode, too.

Old-fashioned colors can take you back in time

Before: This train car needed a lot of work!


When Harp arrives in Idaho, he meets with Durkin, as well as the train’s owner, Webb French. Durkin and French are passionate about restoring this train to its former glory, and they want to do that by re-creating the train’s original look, which they find in a history book.

This, of course, includes matching the original paint colors.

After: These classic colors transform this train car back to 1909, when the train was purchased.


Durkin and French use remnants of the chipped paint found on the train to get inspiration for the new colors. While they explain that they aren’t able to match every color perfectly, they are able to give the exterior a classic green and gold look the train car originally featured. They also use some classic colors on the inside, like a greenish-yellow accent in the new living room.

interior train
This yellow-green is another era-appropriate color.


“I don’t know that I could take an entire room with this green,” Harp says when standing in the new living room. “Yet in here, with this wood, in the time period, it totally works.”

This paint job serves as great inspiration for anyone hoping to give their old home back some classic charm. While some colors may not be popular now—particularly in large doses—a little bit on an accent wall (or ceiling) can lend an old-fashioned feel to a space.

The right light fixture really brings an era to life

light fixture
This light fixture was custom-made to match the original light.


During the renovation, Durkin shows Harp an old photo of the train’s original interior, which includes an elegant oil lamp hanging from the ceiling. Durkin shares his plans to re-create it.

clint harp
This light fixture was custom-made.


Of course, this new handmade piece isn’t actually an oil lamp. It’s an electric fixture, but it’s made out of copper, which makes it look old.

Harp loves the new light, saying it’ll “really bring the old-school charm of our train car back to life.”

Imperfections in an original wood floor can be a plus

wood floors
These wood floors have some great character.


While original wood floors in a house are sometimes too damaged to keep, this train car lucked out, with gorgeous wood flooring hidden under the carpet.

Yet the floor is by no means in perfect condition: Durkin and French show Harp a section of wood in the old passenger area, which has mysterious markings likely dating to the days when loggers would ride the train in hard-heeled, spiky boots.

“So they’d be sitting in a chair here,” French says, “their feet would be hitting there, and all those little dots, those were the spikes.”

While the boots may have marked up the wood, they give the flooring character. By keeping these floors, Durkin and French prove that an original feature doesn’t have to be perfect to be preserved. Sometimes, a little character just helps an old space feel special.

A wood ceiling can add character, too

train car
Before: This wood ceiling needed to be cleaned up.


While the wood floors make for a beautiful feature, the original wood ceiling on the baggage car is even better.

“You’ve got this beautiful curve up there,” Harp says of the ceiling. He notes that the original builders could have simply built straight across, but chose to add this elegant curve.

French points out that the pine wood used across the ceiling was once thought of as a lesser wood.

“Here they’re using this heart pine on the ceiling, which people would be dying to have now,” French says. “But back then it was, like, ‘Well, let’s use that in the freight room. We won’t use that in the passenger car.’”

After: The pine ceiling is a stunning classic feature.


Either way, the ceiling looks fantastic once it’s redone. The wood adds some great character to the old baggage room (which French and Durkin turn into a bathroom and hallway), and the look gives the train car some extra historic charm.

Not all historic elements should be saved

sky lights
These windows add a lot of extra light.


When Harp first sees the train car, the windows are boarded up. Durkin points out that once the boards are removed, the train will receive lots of light from its large windows as well as a skylight feature known as a clerestory.

French and Durkin had hoped to keep the original glass in these windows, but they decide to replace it with energy-efficient, double-paned glass. It’s a shame they’re not able to use the original glass, but French and Durkin know that sometimes it’s best to make a home functional, even if it means sacrificing some historic pieces.

train car
This bedroom, which was once the mailroom, is made light and bright with all these windows.


When the train car is finally finished, it’s an impressive guesthouse. With a living room, a full bathroom, and a cozy bedroom, this space is functional as well as historically accurate. All aboard!

The post Clint Harp of ‘Fixer Upper’ Fame Returns! Renovation Secrets From ‘Restoration Road’ appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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