No Demo Reno: Jenn Todryk's Advice On How To Start Every Renovation

HGTV's Jenn Todryk has made a career out of avoiding demolition, so it only makes sense that when it comes to renovations, she prefers to explore every option before ripping things out and starting from scratch. As she shared in a 2023 interview with Dallas Morning News, her first port of call is to emphasize the features you already have, rather than try to remove them. 

Speaking to the outlet, Todryk explained that when she first went into a new client's home, her first move was to always see what changes could be most impactful, and really stood out to her. Even if it was sticking out like a sore thumb in that particular moment, she explained, she liked to start thinking about how it could look when played up differently. "I can see right through it, and I can be like, 'Oh, that'd be amazing if I did this, this and this,'" she said. The result? A space that looked completely different — but with way less work. 

While not everyone can have Todryk work her magic on their homes, it's certainly a good idea to keep her approach in mind when thinking about renovating. So, if you've been agonizing over removing that fireplace or considering ripping out built-ins, think again. Your dream home starts with the home you have right now. 

Emphasize the major features, wherever possible

If your current home has a bunch of features you dislike, it can be tempting to remove them altogether. However, Jenn Todryk's take is that leaning into those elements could actually do more good for the space. For starters, it'll tap into the home's unique character (and it doesn't hurt that it saves money, too!). 

Instead of ripping anything out, Todryk told Dallas Morning News, "I try to find the things that need to stay first, and then we amplify it and make it pretty." One major feature that's best left in the home is the fireplace. However, that's not to say you have to leave yours looking outdated. There are ways of modernizing them. As seen in a past episode of "No Demo Reno," Todryk has previously used a glaze (of one part acrylic paint to two parts water) to spruce up a stone fireplace. She's also given heaps of tips on how to turn the mantel into more of a feature.

As for walls, which can also make a space feel a little old-fashioned, Todryk has previously taken to Instagram to urge potential renovators to think twice before bringing those down, too. As she wrote in the post's caption, "Walls aren't bad and separated smaller rooms can be super homey and cozy. Leave the walls alone, people." If the closed-off rooms are feeling a little stuffy, in her conversation with Dallas Morning News, Todryk suggested using light-colored paint to combat that. 

Jenn also says some things should be removed

Although Jenn Todryk advocates for keeping major features intact, there are some limits. There's a difference between old-school charm and straight-up outdated, and the latter should be taken out if you're aiming to give your home a makeover. As for how to spot that difference, Todryk told Dallas Morning News that it was all in the details. Per Todryk, ornate details that showed evidence of great craftsmanship should be preserved, whereas undetailed features (think plain, old honey oak cabinetry) could be switched out. 

Granted, even old-fashioned cabinetry could be salvaged in some instances, Todryk told the outlet, suggesting all it takes is a fresh coat of paint or wallpaper. However, you could even take things a step further with newer cabinet hardware. Depending on your home decor preferences, Amazon has a ton of hardware options at around the $30 mark, from classic knobs to sleek handle pulls. Again, what you'll go for will depend on your personal style, but if you're opting to maintain many of your home's older features, we'd recommend something that feels a little more classic and ties in with the rest of the space. 

There's no denying that renovations can make a big difference to a home. However, that big difference doesn't always necessitate a big undertaking. It all starts with looking at your current home and making the most of that.