She’s again! Nicole Curtis returns with all new episodes of Rehab Addict tonight, that includes a house she rescued in her Michigan hometown that was near being torn down.
Parade.com spoke to Curtis about how she started rehabbing homes, how that ended up getting her a TV collection, why she likes pre-World War 2 homes, what we will sit up for in Season eight, and extra.
How did you first determine to rehab homes?
I did it as a result of I had to purchase an affordable, previous home that wanted a variety of work, and I didn’t have the price range to rent anybody, so it actually wasn’t monetary achieve for me. I used to be extra doing it as a result of the home that I used to be going to stay in was an entire mess, and so it was actually out of desperation.
When it was achieved, did you get the thought to promote it and purchase one other one? What made you determine to maintain going?
First of all, my first home took six years to do easy little issues that takes me three weeks now, so there wasn’t a motivation in it, however what I discovered is that I actually love historic renovations. Each undertaking, I needed to study one thing new, and I needed to attain out to totally different assets and determine stuff out, and I actually discovered it fascinating. I additionally discovered it fascinating that there have been only a few individuals that really concentrate on it, in order that’s actually the place the thought got here from: Why can’t I generate profits doing this as a result of I couldn’t rent anyone to do what I’m doing proper now even when I needed to?
Now that you’ve a number of homes underneath your belt, what do you search for in a house once you’re going to renovate it? Are there particular options that you really want it to have?
Anything after World War II is basically once we hit the mass manufacturing of constructing. We wanted so many homes for returning veterans that we simply mass produced houses. All of a sudden, we moved from very ornate, Craftsman houses, architecturally designed, to cookie-cutter, early subdivision houses, in order that’s why I all the time say I search for one thing pre-World War II, nevertheless it solely wants one factor that’s in the home [to make it worth rescuing].
Everything that we often tackle is as a result of that home goes to be torn down and nobody else will take it. Cities don’t need it, neighbors don’t need it, so it’s actually the truth that it’s the final home standing, and if we don’t do it, nobody else will. Numerous occasions, these homes are taken right down to construct a Taco Bell. That’s no joke, as a result of our important streets by way of our cities now are business avenues, the place we used to have these massive, grand houses and now, there’s just one or two of them left. So, it’s our mentality that when they’re gone, they’re gone. It’s actually been our mission for the final 20 years to ensure that we do as a lot as we will to save lots of as many as we will.
What do we have now to look ahead to Season eight?
Season eight is plenty of enjoyable. I went again to my hometown, which is a tiny suburb outdoors of Detroit. It was a type of instances the place I discovered a home on-line that was business property, which suggests it was prime choosing for anybody to tear it proper down. The factor about my hometown is that it was a resort city for all the rich in Detroit. They would take a practice out of Detroit to the place that they had these lake cottages. There have been no roads. They truly obtained to all their homes by a row boat. No addresses. Each cottage had its personal identify.
The greatest story is that this resort city is admittedly how my grandparents migrated from Detroit out to the suburbs. So, there’s solely perhaps a dozen of those unique cottages left, and I personal two of them now. When we started to repair this one up, it was an entire catastrophe. Again, it was a business property, and we joke that it’s within the yard of a Starbucks, as a result of it truly is. It’s on the primary street, however we picked it up for $42 thousand. I’d by no means seen it. We put some huge cash into it, and lots of effort, and it is likely one of the cutest homes we’ve ever carried out.
It’s so unbelievable. Really this season is all about displaying individuals that you simply don’t have to construct a bigger area to maximise what you need in your dream house, as a result of we put every little thing in it. We put in a pleasant chef’s kitchen, we put in an exquisite grasp toilet, we did all this stuff on this tiny, little lake cottage, the place usually individuals would tear this factor down and construct a brand new construct. With this property, you’d should construct it the identical measurement as the home that was torn down, so principally, you’re swapping out a very cool previous home for a very ugly, new, small home. So the main target actually was on that.
Like I stated, we’ve constructed so many homes now, we’ve over 100 episodes. We’ve been on TV for nearly 10 years, and the tone of the present has turned to extra relaxed, peaceable, happiness, and nonetheless displaying my errors. I feel that’s the most effective half. I’m the chief producer, however I additionally edit the present, and one of the best half for me, is that we hold all the actual goofiness in. We solely shoot with one digital camera. We don’t have an enormous manufacturing crew; we simply rise up within the morning, and if we determine to movie and work, we go to work that day, and if we don’t, we don’t.
I feel my viewers have been ready for some recent episodes, and I feel that they’re going to be happy as a result of it’s nonetheless us, simply 10 years later. It’s nonetheless being simply as goofy as ever, but in addition doing these renovations that nobody else ever needs to take a danger on.
With a few of the older homes, although, don’t you discover that there are some issues, like supplies that have been used then that now are banned?
Well, truly, the unhappy fact is that we nonetheless have all these constructing supplies on the market which might be simply coded in another way, however so long as they’re contained … People are all the time terrified of led-based paint, which there’s good purpose to be fearful of, however so long as it’s contained and it’s not left in disrepair, that’s the most important factor.
When we go into houses, it’s an entire renovation. It’s not a fast HGTV, 22-minute kitchen makeover, you already know? You can’t re-build a home in 22 minutes. We should comply with all of the codes and the federal legal guidelines relating to these supplies, and we definitely do, however an important factor is that we usher in licensed, licensed specialists in these totally different fields.
I’m undoubtedly not going to fiddle with asbestos removing and stuff like that. But as for the constructing supplies we now have at present, newer doesn’t imply it’s safer. Newer doesn’t imply it’s higher. It’s all about schooling, information and figuring out what you’re placing into your homes. All of our homes are chemical-free zones. People all the time giggle since you’ll see dandelions within the yard and also you’ll see weeds rising, however I actually consider that if it’s not wholesome for us to eat, it actually shouldn’t be on our property.
That’s been an enormous change over the previous couple years, and that’s how we cope with all of the hazards that there are. It’s undoubtedly handled in knowledgeable, licensed method, so everybody’s protected. There’s no slicing corners on any of our tasks.
What’s fascinating is the way you started promoting issues from storage gross sales on craigslist. Did you instinctively know what had worth?
Yeah. I grew up in a household that had a rubbish enterprise, antiquing and all the things like that, however I’ve all the time been capable of see the worth in every thing. I used to be actually an previous soul for a kid. I’m in all probability extra happy-go-lucky now than I used to be at eight. I used to be a really critical youngster, however as for craigslist, I’ve all the time lived in huge cities, and the factor about massive cities is that folks transfer rather a lot. They transfer out of their condominium, they transfer to a townhouse, they usually return to an condo. They shift on a regular basis, and once they shift, they don’t need to transfer issues. It’s actually odd to seek out an elevator in an enormous condominium constructing from 1904 that’s simply four-stories, so individuals put stuff on the curb. I shortly discovered that if I picked it up off the curb, put it on-line and made $50 that basically made a distinction to my household. Doing $1000 every week in craigslist gross sales, it actually made the distinction to my household through the years, and it’s how I used to be capable of get my begin in shopping for homes.
How did you get to TV from that?
That was a miracle. I truthfully can say that I’ve by no means auditioned, and I didn’t ship a sizzle reel. Now everybody has these house enchancment blogs and every little thing like that. I didn’t do something. I received referred to as as a result of anyone noticed my actual property web site, and truthfully, I feel it was as a result of I used to be blonde, I used to be personable they usually thought they’d use me as an skilled for an additional present.
So, I went in and I didn’t like what that they had finished with this home, they usually needed me to say that it was so nice. It was an older home, they usually had completely gutted it, and I used to be like, “That’s disgusting. I don’t have to try this, and we nonetheless handle to earn money on these homes, so no. Thank you for providing me 15 seconds of fame right here, however I don’t want it nor do I would like it.”
Because for me, even then, I used to be like, “My model,”…and I didn’t have a model then. I used to be a mother promoting stuff on craigslist and doing actual property, however I used to be like, “My model is about being actual, being me and standing up for what I feel is true for these homes, and this isn’t proper.”
I got here in on the proper time when HGTV actually was struggling as a result of they have been nonetheless displaying individuals easy methods to do a $100,000 kitchens, and other people have been dropping their homes as a result of this was in the course of the recession. So, I got here in and stated, “No one needs a $100,000 kitchen. Let’s present them how you can do a $1,500 kitchen and make it appear to be $100,000.”
I feel that that basically was the rationale for our success. People knew that I used to be an actual mother, an actual home-owner, and I actually wanted to finances, and once I stated, “You can re-do these cupboards and save your self $three,000,” I used to be talking the reality. They knew that I actually owned these houses, I actually needed to promote them, and I assume that it was a miracle. It was being in the suitable place on the proper time.
I all the time inform the story that if I had not been myself, if I had lied and simply stated, “Oh, I feel this renovation is so nice,” I might have gotten that spot as an actual property agent skilled. Because I caught to my weapons and who I’m, I stated, “Oh, I hate this,” they usually made a joke, they usually stated, “You want your personal TV present,” and I made a joke again, “Yeah, you’re proper, I do.” I wasn’t being critical as a result of I used to be like, “Okay, no matter, I want to return to my job,” nevertheless it began from there, and 6 months later, we have been filming. It was insane.
I perceive you employ the renovated homes to do fundraisers and donate the cash to charities.
Yes. I’ve all the time been concerned with charities. I all the time inform individuals there’s by no means a nasty day to volunteer. So we obtained this concept, a good friend of mine had a mind tumor and wanted cash, so I assumed, “You know what? All these individuals all the time need to see our homes. Why don’t we attempt charging them $5 to get in, and we’ll make it like an enormous social gathering?”
We had a snowstorm, we had a blizzard, and it was like destructive 10 levels in Minneapolis. I assumed, “We’re going to get 5 individuals, however that’s superior, it’s $25. It all provides up.” We had over 400 individuals standing in line for hours. We had hearth pits outdoors. We made like $three,000, which paid his mortgage for 2 months.
So, it actually resonated with us that, “You know what? We are going to make use of this.” So, with each home since, we’ve finished a earlier than and an after open home, so individuals can are available, see it, contact it, odor it, see how dangerous it’s, after which they love coming again for the end half. They additionally prefer it as a result of they get to see it earlier than it goes on TV.
Through the years, we now have raised hundreds of dollars to assist so many households, and that’s the cool half. I discovered, although, that if I wasn’t the one hustling the door and taking the cash, we made much less cash. It’s simply my character to be like, “Oh, $20, you don’t want change, proper?” And then we get the $20.
I all the time inform individuals, “Come with smiles. Don’t put on your footwear. Bring an umbrella. Bring a sandwich. Bring a chair, however most of all, deliver good spirit as a result of every part we’re doing is for a superb trigger.” Obviously, if somebody can’t afford to get in the home, we nonetheless allow them to by means of as a result of I keep in mind these days when $5 to get in anyplace was like, “No, I want to purchase the youngsters lunch for the week,” nevertheless it became one thing superior, and we do a T-shirt drive every year.
We did over $60,000 in T-shirt gross sales in a single week this yr to assist households at Christmas. It’s one thing that my viewers know is arising yearly. Everything in our charity is run by volunteers, 100 %. Everybody provides again, my crew, my buddies…we solicit strangers to assist us pack T-shirts and run open homes, and it’s only a celebration on a regular basis. We noticed a necessity for one thing and we turned it into one thing so nice.
I’m beginning to do some transforming in my kitchen and it’s actually onerous to seek out trustworthy workman. What’s your secret?
I all the time inform everybody, examine licenses first, verify referrals, and don’t simply take anybody’s phrase for it. I all the time needed to see everybody’s work. We used to joke that I’d get 10 bids for each single job on each single property and go straight into the center. The center’s all the time probably the most devoted, trustworthy, hard-working individuals you’ll discover, I feel.
Rehab Addict returns tonight at eight p.m. ET with two back-to-back episodes on the DIY Network.
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