Behind The Scenes: Bargain Mansions Episode - Exterior Remodel with J Thomas Home

exterior remodel featured on bargain mansions

Even though painting the exterior of the house didn't make the timeline (or budget!) for the show, lots of other changes still happened outside our house on Magnolia Network's episode of Bargain Mansions 6/6 with Kansas City-designer Tamara Day!

Here is the "before" shot of our backyard. Honestly, it was very nice! There were just a couple things we wanted to update out here.

home renovated on Bargain Mansions

The house is situated on a funny-shaped lot -- it's almost a triangle, so while it looks like there's plenty of space to run around on the grass (see above), that area of plants was actually taking up quite a bit of the very narrow lot that is the backyard (see below).

As a family with two young kiddos, we wanted to create an enjoyable space for both adults and kids to hang out and have more room for outdoor activities and entertaining.

backyard of home remodeled on Bargain Mansions

The back patio was still nice, but had two sections with pretty random plants that made placing any outdoor furniture, like a dining table or seating area, where we wanted it challenging.

back patio remodeled on Bargain Mansions

And of course, we can't forget, the Tuscan-theme was also carried to the covered porch, as well with the lighting and mirror.

covered porch bar


Before we knew we'd be on the show, we actually started some exterior updates in the front yard with another local company you may be familiar with -- the host of several home renovation shows like Build It Forward (2023) and more, Matt Blashaw.

Just like his former show, "Yard Crashers," our team ran into Matt's team in a home center on a lumber run. They asked us what the heck we were doing with all that wood, ha!! When we replied we make custom floating shelves, they gave us their card, and we invited Matt out to the house to look at expanding our driveway with his local Kansas City company Blashaw Residential Inc. 

While the front driveway was underway, Matt teamed up with landscape expert Meg from Fine Ling Design to draft an attainable backyard design for us.

FUN FACT: The one I drew up had so many fire features, Matt said it would have required more gas than a Disneyland show, so he kindly brought me back down to earth with a design within budget!!

backyard landscape design

We asked to remove the large area the plants were taking up, incorporate a dining area, seating by a water feature or fire feature (spoiler: we got both!!), and then a nice outdoor kitchen for Josh to grill.


Once we found out we'd been accepted for the show, and the backyard would be featured in the storyline, being in "the biz," Matt gave us his blessing to partner up with Tamara to finalize the outdoor details and our next-door neighbors to our woodshop shop, Huston Contracting, helped kick off the dirty work!

backyard renovation dig

We utilized the existing patio and just removed the widespread trees and plants on the right, replacing that area with a more streamlined design that included a waterfall, two fire features, additional seating, and a grilling station.

patio door remodel

Plus, we swapped out one set of windows in the new family room for a 10ft custom exterior door to add easy access and an indoor / outdoor flow to the entire main level!

backyard remodel
exterior patio remodel

After the work was completed, we refreshed the old patio by staining it a dark charcoal, which also helped us tie in the small portions of new concrete we had to pour in a few smaller areas. It laid the foundation for the exterior painting we hope to complete by next summer -- covering up the tan / browns for a lighter whiter or gray tone.


Even only painting the covered patio portion for the time being made a HUGE transformation to this dark, dated space. It's so much lighter, brighter, and a great space to hang out.

We made the mantle at J Thomas Home using 6x6 cedar wood sourced from a local company that reclaims old barns -- this one was from 1812 with hand hewn mortise-and-tenon joints.

porch remodeled on bargain mansions

Image shared by Tamara Day on Instagram:

grilling station remodeled on bargain mansions

And here is only one side of Josh's grilling station -- his pellet grill. There is actually an Argentine Grill on the right out of this shot that he's been enjoying figuring out recipes for and fine-tuning this summer grilling hot dogs, burners, corn on the cob, and chicken for tacos! Yum!!

patio chairs and table

Image shared by Tamara Day on Instagram:

It's finally warmer now and we are LOVING our backyard and patio! We spend almost every night out here playing with the kids, cooking dinner, or enjoying s'more by the waterfall and fire pits!

What Do You Think?

Would you have added the exterior door from the Family Room to the back patio?
Are you a fan of the dark charcoal concrete color?
Comment below with your favorite scenes from the show, or things you wish we would have changed.
There's more behind-the-scenes coming your way, like our Main Bedroom and Main Bathroom -- plus bonus rooms that didn't make it into the show! Sign up for our newsletter to be alerted as soon as new blogs drop!
And be sure to check out other posts like our Bargain Mansions episode recap, What Is It Like To Be on Bargain Mansions, including how we were selected for the show, and Behind the Scenes: Kitchen Remodel with J Thomas Home.

Message us today with any questions you may have about custom floating shelving you'd like to add to your remodeling project!

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