What’s That? An HGTV Show That Will Not Infuriate Preservationists?!

While I’ve confessed my love of HGTV previously, most of the shows are not preservation friendly. What’s particularly annoying? The shows in which people talk about “character” and “charm” but only want brand new homes when they are looking at older homes. Or the shows in which spray foam runs rampant. I normally end up angry at the television. (It’s a good thing I watch HGTV only a few times per year.) But, wait! This time on my HGTV stint, I’ve discovered a new (to me) show.

The show is Rehab Addict, with host and “star” Nicole Curtis. She’s a self-taught DIY-er who buys historic homes desperately in need of rehabilitation. And what does she do? She restores them, doing most of the work herself. She saves old windows, hardwood floors, and significant features. And when new material is needed Nicole finds salvage material where possible. The show is based in Minneapolis, MN and Detroit, MI. How does she afford such tasks? Curtis is also a real estate agent; after the houses are rehabilitated she sells them.

As a preservationist, what do I like? Nicole seems genuine and she gets excited about finding historic features. She wants to save as much historic fabric as possible. She loves these houses. She despises vinyl tile, popcorn ceilings and bad renovation decisions. And she’s a cool woman. How many of us (women and men) wish we could do what she does? Read more about Nicole Curtis here.

While I’ve only seen a few episodes, it’s exciting to find a television that actually is about restoration not “remodeling.” Good job, HGTV. And now I want to buy a dollar house somewhere. Who’s with me?

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7 thoughts on “What’s That? An HGTV Show That Will Not Infuriate Preservationists?!

  1. She does a great job, and not with the Flip This House mentality of cutting corners where possible.

    There was a cool show on HGTV for a quick run called Hometown Renovation http://www.hgtv.com/hometown-renovation/show/index.html. If you blinked you missed it, but it was a great preservationist showcase in Mississippi. I recommend wasting some time trying to watch it online.

    Less on the preservation side, more on the design side is Sarah’s House. Apparently, all good shows come from Canada on HGTV these days.

  2. I caught Rehab Addict a year or so ago myself and enjoy it for the same reasons you do. Nicole really gets a feel for the house and the era and what is truly appropriate to the home—like a vintage house whisperer. She is concerned about what will sell, because this is her job, but she also wants her renovations to suit and fit with the house in question. It’s SUCH a relief to see someone like that!

  3. Hmmmm. I pitched a show to HGTV a couple years ago—“House Interrupted.” Basically I would stop bad rehab projects in their tracks and teach how to do historically sensitive rehab. This sounds strikingly familiar.

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