• A shot of one of the vintage items incorportated into the design at the vintage circus house. Photo: HGTV

‘Bargain Block’ Recap: Wild West and Vintage Circus

Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas bring a 'classy carnival' feel to one of their renos

By |2022-07-15T10:20:36-04:00July 15th, 2022|Michigan, News|

Howdy, partners, and welcome to this week’s edition of the “Bargain Block” recap, where personal and professional partners Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas quickly decide to turn a three-bedrooom, one-bath, 1,100-square-foot bungalow on Detroit’s northwest side into the Wild West home. Regular watchers of the show will know that it’s Bynum, of course, who came up with the concept after the color of one of the bedroom’s walls reminds him of his childhood daycare, which was apparently replete with a cowboy cartoon painted on the wall.

Then, Bynum is talking of installing saloon doors while Thomas attempts to put his foot down. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about a design theme,” Bynum told his other half, who wryly responded, “You’re not gonna win this one.” But Bynum likes a challenge. “You should know by now that you never say those words,” he retorted, getting the last word of the exchange.

In the end, Bynum, of course, does win, and the native Texan decides to use cowhide rugs and pillows throughout, with varying shades of tan, brown and white as his color palette. The couple, who paid $30,000 for the house and set a reno budget of $60,000 max for a potential profit of $20,000 if they can sell it for $110,000, cannot afford to use custom cabinets in the house’s kitchen. But they do want to “maximize the space using the best combination of ready-made cabinets we can come up with,” said Thomas. “It’s like kitchen layout Tetris.”

Bynum paints another mural this week, this time with a Wild West desert theme. They paint the house a soft butternut and Keith puts out the call for Thomas and their real estate agent partner Shea Whitfield to wear cowboy attire to the open house to help sell the theme. It works and the response to the house is, as usual, overwhelming.

For the couple’s second project this week, they buy home a little grander and less, well, wrecked than usual. The 1,500-square-foot house has three bedrooms and one bathroom. They pay $80,000 for the house, set a reno budget for $50,000 and plan to list for $150,000, leaving them with another $20,000 profit. 

With profit margins so small, there’s not much room for surprises, like when the couple finds one missing and one cracked structural beam in the basement. Initial estimates of $15,000 cause the dynamic duo to consider putting the house back on the market and selling as is. In the end, they find a cheaper solution to their dilemma. Reusing the kitchen’s maple cabinets and utilizing the space in the house’s formal dining room work well and soon the French-inspired vintage circus house begins to take shape. Bynum brings a “classy carnival feel to the interior, highlighted by striped patterns, bold lighting and Parisian décor,” he said. “The big top has never looked so good.”

Whitfield’s pretty cute herself and is visibly pregnant during the episode. The boys take time out from working to attend her gender reveal party, and Keith and Thomas are proud uncles to be as they, of course, take on the assignment of designing Whitfield’s nursery. 

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael joined Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. He has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author for his authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," released on his own JAM Books imprint.