Historic Cottage Gets a Modern Upgrade | Season 4

Written by Jenny Marrs on . Posted in .

We loved working with Nick and Joanna Koparanyan. They are high school sweethearts with two kids – one in college and the other just a year away from graduating from high school. For seven years, the family has been coming to Bentonville for fun. Now, they want to move here and make it their permanent home. 

They chose a little bungalow right in the heart of our historic downtown. This area is perfect for their family because they love to bike the trails and enjoy the outdoors. Joanna was adamant about leaving the footprint of the house intact to keep it charming and small. Dave and I love that they wanted to keep the integrity of the house and hold onto that Bentonville historic charm we adore so much. 

This old house needed a lot of love from top to bottom. Every room needed some help, plus keeping the house its original size presented its own challenges. This meant we had to maximize the storage inside without making it feel too cramped. Nick and Joanna had a great idea to turn the garage space into a third bedroom. It took some creative strategizing on our part, but we figured out a great layout that gave them that extra room, another bathroom and a mudroom without expanding the exterior of the house. 

This house was so reminiscent of how Dave and I started off in this business with our first renovation project. We enjoyed it so much and are thrilled to welcome the Koparanyans to our beloved Bentonville! 



Joanna said she wanted the house to have a big presence while remaining a small cottage. The best way to do that would be to paint it a bold color and add some architectural details that would set it apart from all the rest on the street. We went with two tones for this house – a strong black and a bright white for a powerful contrast. Another thing we did was to move the entryway and create a bumped-out arch in front of it. This flows naturally with the garage peak and adds character and dimension to the exterior. We put on a new roof, new siding, new landscaping and a charming little flagstone walk-up. 



Outdoor Fan | Kichler

Outdoor Sconce | Kichler

Flag | Allegiance Flag Supply

Landscaping | Ground Effects Landscaping

Lead Abatement | NWA Restore It

Exterior Paint Color| Benjamin Moore Simply White

Exterior Paint Color | Farrow and Ball Railings

Front Door Paint Color | Farrow and Ball Treron

Living Room


One thing we love about some of these old homes is that they often have high vaulted ceilings with large beams hidden behind dropped ceilings. Thankfully, the Koparanyans had a beautiful, vaulted ceiling we were able to uncover and leave exposed. Because we were replacing the roof outside, we were able to add insulation above the exposed ceiling between it and the new exterior roof. And, their original oak flooring was in good shape and we were able to refinish it. We also replaced the original windows with new ones. Removing the wall from the living room also made a big difference in opening up the space and making it look much larger. Did you notice the antique mantle? You might have seen it in an earlier episode. The vintage mantle had been too small for the Hillyer’s living room, but it found its perfect place right here. Now this whole space reminds me of a little cottage you might find somewhere in the countryside. 



Furniture, Rug & Art | Howse

Living Room Fan | Lamp Plus 

Wall Paint Color | Benjamin Moore White Dove

Trim Paint Color | Farrow and Ball Drop Cloth

HVAC | NWA Cooling & Heating 



True to the integrity of the house, we focused on creating my favorite style of kitchen with a simple, cottage aesthetic. Since the house isn’t big enough for a dining area, we configured the layout to put in an island with seating for two, plus it adds additional storage. The tricky thing about adding more storage to a small area is to not allow it to get swallowed up by cabinets. You have to take advantage of the space, but also give some breathing room and leave some areas open. I think we were able to strike that balance. The kitchen feels historic with all of the necessary modern conveniences the Koparanyans need. I absolutely adore this charming kitchen! 



Cabinets | Premier Concepts

Runner Rug | Turkish Trunk

Appliances | Smeg

Kitchen Knob | Home Depot

Kitchen Faucet | Amazon

Mudroom Floor Tile | Lowes

Kitchen Cabinet Paint Color | Farrow and Ball Drop Cloth

Mudroom Cabinet Paint Color | Farrow and Ball Drop Cloth

Main Suite


When Nick and Joanna said they wanted to transform their garage into an extra room, we knew we would be able to do it. It was just going to take some imagination. I don’t think they expected us to be able to make not only a bedroom out of the small garage but also a bathroom, a closet and a mudroom off the kitchen! Of course, we added new flooring. Dave also made them a built-in window seat with cabinets underneath for even more storage, and we were to give them a pretty big walk-in closet. The blue tone on the walls finishes off the space so nicely for a calm and cozy bedroom. 

In the bathroom, we went a little more bold with color by installing a moody green tile in the shower and behind the vanity. The cabinets also got a nice shade of green to match the tile. The modern faucets and lighting add a nice modern contrast to the historical vibe.

(Also, the shower does now have glass but it was delayed and didn’t arrive in time for the reveal – a common issue this year). 



Bedroom Furniture | Howse

Rug | Turkish Trunk

Bedroom Fan | Kichler

Sink Pendant | Wayfair

Bathroom Light | WMT

Bathroom Knobs | Amazon

Bathroom Faucet | Build.com

Bathroom Mirrors | Amazon

Shower Fixture | Build.com

Shower and Wall Tile | Wayfair

Bedroom Wall Paint Color | Farrow and Ball Light Blue 

Bedroom Trim Paint Color | Benjamin Moore White Dove

Bathroom Wall Paint Color | Benjamin Moore White Dove

Bathroom Vanity Paint Color | Farrow and Ball Green Smoke

The Backyard


This tiny house has a huge yard, so when we added the covered back patio, we also added a modern cedar wall to give them some privacy and make the patio feel a little cozier. Instead of the standard concrete pad, we opted for a natural stone floor to make it feel more modern and give it more character. This is a great spot for family and neighbors to gather and share a meal. 

Just beyond the patio, we added an amazing firepit, complete with benches where we’re hoping the Koparanyan kids will come and hang out. Since this family loves to be outdoors and enjoy biking, we pulled the existing shed closer to the house and added some fun details. Now, it’s an amazing bike workshop and storage area. Dave made a craftsman style door for it and cut in new windows with flower boxes. Then, we tracked down the company that makes the official Bentonville bike trail signs and got them their very own to hang on the side of the bike shed. 


Landscaping | Ground Effects Landscaping