Designer Michel Smith Boyd’s Penchant for Nichiha AWP Helps Win Home Renovation Competition
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Designer Michel Smith Boyd’s Penchant for Nichiha AWP Helps Win Home Renovation Competition

Let’s face it. We’re gripped by home renovation competitions. Where else can you daydream about blank-check upgrades, cutting-edge designs, and livability? With high design and budget being frequent themes, designers are tasked with finding the right upgrades that hit the mark when it comes to durability, looks, and value.  

The fourth season of HGTV’s Rock the Block was no different, with contestants vying to foster the most dazzling upgrades. One of those contestants, Michel Smith Boyd, turned to a partnership with Nichiha to aid in his vision. 

Designer and proprietor of Atlanta-based Smith Boyd Interiors, Boyd has been a rising design star. His talents brought him to HGTV’s center stage, having a leading role in not only Rock the Block, but also as host of his own show, Luxe For Less 

Michel Smith Boyd

Premier Choices for Designers 

Rock the Block’s fourth season took place in Berthoud, Colorado, about 50 miles north of Denver. On the project, Boyd teamed up with Anthony Elle, television personality and DIY enthusiast.  

The pair were one of four teams challenged with upgrading identical $1.9 million homes. The winning team would be the one who added the most value to their home’s resale value. The caveat? All teams were given a strict $250,000 budget. 

In order to help make the most of this budget, Boyd turned to Nichiha’s robust lineup of architectural wall panels. Almost immediately, the decision proved to be a wise move and a theme for their approach to the competition 

Higher Design; Lower Costs 

Because return on investment was a core aim of the show, Boyd sought building materials that maximized versatility and aesthetic. Fiber cement was a natural medium that afforded an easy install while also delivering on high-quality looks. This allows cladding to easily mimic looks of concrete, wood, and metal and install in the same manner.  

“It was not only attractive, it’s not only good for my aesthetic—what I was trying to convey, but it was also good as far as durability goes,” said Boyd. “It’s great as far as price point goes. The installation is better and the product will look the same in 20 years, whereas my neighbors’ houses won’t.” 

That durability is owed to Nichiha’s AWP thickness, which is 5/8” thick—far thicker than most standard vinyl siding options at 0.042”. That additional thickness pays dividends against the elements, particularly in windy and snowy Colorado.  

A Winning Formula 

For the home’s cladding needs, Boyd specified Nichiha’s VintageWood in Cedar and TuffBlock in Pewter. Though the two panels offer different textures and colors, their combination serves as a blended embrace of Boyd’s favorite aesthetics. Such a pairing wouldn’t be so easily possible with real cedar and concrete.  

image of patio with VintageWood cladding

“I always loved a natural look,” added Boyd. “With concrete or with a stone, I love texture in and out. So, the idea of having a more minimal exterior, but not compromising on the palette I would have chosen if it was natural wood or natural stone, was incredible because I’ve got the look, I’ve got better durability. That’s a win.”  

Nichiha fiber cement cladding was just one piece of the homes puzzle though. Boyd and Elle’s teamwork and creativity added almost a million dollars in value to the home. In the end, the pair blossomed the home’s original $1.9 million value to an astounding $2.85 million, winning them the competition in the process.  

Their prize? Bragging rights and having the home’s street named after them.

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