Old home remodeled on Renovation Hunters near the Nebraska Sandhills.

In early 2022, Hal Shaffer and Chris Filardi gave general contractor Kevin Tarkovich a tour of a historic home in Hyannis, Nebraska. They intended to give new life to the property, as the first project on their new Outdoor Channel series, Renovation Hunters, but the term makeover was an understatement for this 19th-century home, to say the least.

Host Hal Shaffer reassured Kevin on the challenge of renovating the main street’s focal point saying, “You can take all the time you want, as long as it’s done in eight days!” So, they got to work on remodeling old homes for their show – starting in the Sandhills of Nebraska – with the help of numerous craftsmen and DIY-ers, along with some awesome brand partners (if we do say so ourselves).

 Zach Baird and Steve Stack on the job site at the Sandhills in Nebraska.

New Construction on an Old House

Every older home has a story to tell; it doesn’t have to be labeled a historic house to have history. So, when it comes to any type of home remodeling on an old house, it’s important to keep the home’s history in mind. Honoring the tradition of the home can be as simple as giving new life to the original woodwork with a new finish or stain instead of replacing it. Or, it can be as intense and a complete interior overhaul.

You don’t have to feel like your hands are tied when it comes to renovating old houses and historic buildings. You can change the floor plan and open up the living space, depending on the placement of load-bearing walls, and small changes like modern light fixtures and updated kitchen cabinets can make the space feel like a brand new home.

Behind the Scenes: Renovating a Historic Home in the Sandhills

The Renovation Hunters team put their craftsmanship to the test in the first project of the TV show’s premiere season. The old house had seen many different homeowners over the years but was ultimately left unoccupied despite being one of the most visible homes in the tiny town. So, the wonderful people of Hyannis welcomed the Renovation Hunters crew with open arms to turn the forgotten property into a desirable piece of real estate.

What was it like taking on such a large-scale home improvement on a brand new TV show? In an episode of our American Hardwood Advisor podcast, AHA host Steve Stack sat down with Zach Baird, third-generation at Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods, after they returned from the Nebraska home renovation.

In the episode, Zach and Steve give a behind-the-scenes look at everything that went into the first Renovation Hunters project (and the beautiful wildlife observed in the Nebraska sandhills).

Watch Here:

More on the Sandhills Region

The Sandhills of Nebraska, which is the largest sand dune formation in the Western Hemisphere, is designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. Stretching across central and western Nebraska, the Sandhills are a collection of rolling sand dunes and grass-covered hills (distinct from the Great Plains), covering an area of over 19,000 square miles.

Sitting atop the Ogallala Aquifer, the Sandhills are filled with a variety of vegetation that grows in sandy soils. These diverse grass species and plants help support the ecosystem of the area. Now home to a variety of animal species (including mule deer, bison, sandhill cranes, turkeys, coyotes, western meadowlarks, wetland insects and more), the Sandhills were once thought of as an inhabitable desert until cattlemen discovered their potential in the late 19th century.

Center-pivot irrigation and runoff from the Middle Loup River, Niobrara River and Dismal River help keep the ecosystem alive. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others, work with the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge to conserve the area and its ecosystem.

Bringing Interior Design to Life

A living space filled with building materials and products yet to be installed can make the home improvement process feel neverending. But, once those materials are installed, that’s when the magic happens.

What was once unfinished S4S lumber or casing sitting in your dining room has the potential to bring a whole new feeling to your living space once it’s installed. Plus, adding all these interior design elements boosts the resale value to your home!

Shiplap siding installed in the 19th-century home remodel in Hyannis, Nebraska.

Shiplap Interior Siding

Shiplap interior siding has the remarkable ability to breathe new life into any room. With its timeless charm and rustic appeal, shiplap infuses a space with character and warmth.

The distinctive horizontal planks add depth and interest to the walls. Whether painted in a crisp white for a clean and fresh look or left in its natural state for a more organic feel, shiplap’s versatility allows it to effortlessly adapt to various design styles, from farmhouse chic to coastal elegance.

Interior Doors

New interior doors have the power to elevate interior design, seamlessly blending functionality and aesthetic appeal. These stylish additions not only serve as gateways between rooms but also as statement pieces that enhance the overall visual impact of a space. Whether opting for sleek and modern designs or classic, traditional styles, new interior doors can completely transform the look and feel of a room. They also provide an opportunity for customization, such as intricate paneling, glass inserts or unique hardware.

Additionally, new doors can enhance privacy, acoustics and energy efficiency, contributing to a more comfortable and functional living environment. Whether you’re replacing your closet bi-folds or upgrading every interior door in your home, solid hardwood options can make all the difference.

Mouldings (Casing, Baseboards, etc.)

Mouldings are an essential component of interior design, adding elegance, sophistication and architectural character to a space. These decorative trim elements, whether crown moulding, baseboards, chair rails or window casings, can transform a room into an entirely new environment.

The intricate patterns and profiles of mouldings can evoke various design styles, even when added around original windows, from classic and traditional to contemporary and modern, allowing for endless creative possibilities.

Custom-Designed Mouldings for Old Homes

Know the types of moulding profiles that fit your space but can’t find them anywhere? At Baird Brothers, you can custom design mouldings to match your style and living space, thanks to our 3D printing capabilities.

It’s the perfect way to match existing mouldings in historic homes during a renovation or to custom-create casing that blends seamlessly with intricate Victorian house design.

Hardwood Flooring

With its natural beauty and timeless elegance, hardwood flooring adds warmth, character and sophistication to any space. The rich textures, grains and hues of hardwood create a sense of depth and comfort that you can’t get with other flooring materials.

Whether opting for classic walnut or trending character grade white oak, hardwood flooring brings the tranquility of nature indoors. Its versatility (and our variety of species) allows flooring to seamlessly blend with various interior design styles, from rustic and traditional to modern and contemporary.


Wooden kitchen countertops add warmth and natural beauty, bringing a sense of authenticity and comfort to the space. Whether it’s the rich grain of oak, the sleekness of maple or the rustic charm of reclaimed wood, wooden counters exude a classic elegance that withstands the test of time.

Butcher block and plank countertops can be seamlessly integrated into various design styles, including farmhouse-inspired to modern and minimalist, offering versatility and adaptability.

Red oak S4S lumber used throughout Renovation Hunters Project Hyannis.


High quality lumber is an incredibly important element of interior design and the outcomes of renovating any living space. Its inherent beauty, durability and natural appeal make it an ideal material for numerous applications.

High-quality S4S lumber can be used to construct custom cabinetry, bookcases, kitchen islands, bathroom vanities and furniture pieces (such as dining tables, coffee tables and more).

Check out our Build It With Baird series for instructions on some DIY projects you can make for your home, from a fishing rod holder to a handcrafted mudroom bench and more!

Start Your Remodel by Visiting Baird Brothers

When you’re ready to buy building materials – whether you’re remodeling old homes like Renovation Hunters did in the Sandhills of Nebraska or starting new construction – your first stop should be Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods.

Natural hardwoods elevate any space, and their quality directly impacts the outcome of your project – big or small. Stop by our showroom, check in with our expert sales staff (who can walk you through finding the best products) or simply shop online to elevate your living space ASAP. We’re here for you, every step of the way.