First, how is your family?
We’re all healthy. For Jack (who is 2 years old), we’ve bought every toy in the universe because we can’t go to the park.
How did COVID-19 affect the filming of Season 5?
A week or two before sheltering in place was required, Mom (co-host Karen E Laine) wasn’t feeling well. We stopped filming while she got checked. She didn’t have COVID, but we stopped filming and never picked up again. So a lot of reveals for Season 5, we just did last week. And we’ll film some this week and next week. We’re really cutting it close. I’m sure the editors are loving their overtime.
What about actually working on houses?
We had homes under contract for buyers to purchase. They can’t shelter in place if they don’t have a home that’s finished. So we talked about how much construction we could do if we couldn’t film without damaging the episode. Then we got creative. Maybe we already installed tiles somewhere and the cameras missed it. We went back and filmed the final touches, like wiping the tile with a wet sponge. So people still get to see the up-close of the tile.
You probably have a good N-95 mask since you’re in construction.
I had my first dermatology appointment last week, doing a full body check for the first time, and I forgot my paper mask. I said, maybe I have one in my glove box. The only one I had was the giant respirator I use for construction. So I came back in with that. I’m in this room, naked with a sheet and this giant respirator mask.
Why open a store with so much already on our plate? (A home decor shop, Two Chicks District Co., will open in Bates-Hendricks this month.)
We’ve been talking about it for three years. You watch all these shows, you see this beautiful furniture, but it’s not really attainable, either because of the price or you can’t find it. We have many of the items in the houses on the show, plus a whole lot more. And the location—it needs more commercial to support the amount of residential it’s getting.
The business, a show, your new family, the store … got anything else going on?
Our next big project is a consulting business. We pass up so many fun projects for home renovations. We do full overhauls on the show, and not many people have the budget or need for that.
How do you juggle?
Honestly, I have so much help. Before the pandemic, Jack would stay overnight with my stepmom on Sunday and they would watch him on Monday. My sister is leading the process on the store, although she likes to keep me busy with manual labor projects. I installed all the lighting we’re selling. Also, my husband and I have a really awesome nanny. Part of me feels bad saying that, but we wouldn’t be good parents if we were stay-at-home. We’re just not that type.
Do you have a work/life balance secret?
My husband and I have conversations every couple months about how things are working. We used to try to be home at 3:30 or 4 and do a little work from home, but that just doesn’t work for a lot of people—you’re pulled in too many directions. So we decided we wouldn’t come home until we could really be present. I’ve gotten a lot better about that. Now, if either of us needs to do something at home—he’s in sales, so in both of our professions, sometimes you need to answer the phone at 6 or type up a contract—we say, I need 20 and we’re good.
Five seasons now—you’re a bona fide TV star. Does it feel like it?
It doesn’t because we’re in Indy, a big small town. To everyone that already knew us, we’re just the same people we always were. It comes more from visitors who drive around looking for the houses. My husband was out front (of our house) with Jack, a neighbor, and her little girl. I went inside for something when a couple ladies drove by. They stopped and were like, We appreciate so much what the girls do. My neighbor was like, What girls? Who are you talking about? It’s not a regular part of our day.
But you’ve gotten to do really cool things. What are some of the best?
The Brady Bunch renovation, we got to meet all of them, which was so fun. I got to do (HGTV show) Rock the Block, and that was in Northern California for three weeks. Just a super-cool, fun show. I went to Canada for just one day to do a Mister Rogers promo with Drew Scott (of Property Brothers).
How do you spend your time at the Indianapolis airport?
I post up and sleep. I’m short so I can sleep about anywhere.
All of us are spending more time at home now. Some people are shifting their summer vacation money to renovation projects. Any suggestions?
Kitchens and bathrooms are always a great place, but they are usually a bigger-budget item. I’d say something budget-friendly and DIY. A friend of mine, a dancer who’s top 10 in the world, took up their rolled-vinyl laundry-room floor and painted tile on it. Cost them $150 and it looks incredible. Depending on your skill level, that’s fun.
Can you preview Season 5?
We had a house that we were renovating that ended up being new construction; it was not supposed to be. I’m sure Tad vomits a couple times. He has a very sensitive stomach—animals, gross toilets, that kind of stuff.