Tag Archives: HGTV

Paul Lafrance brings his crazy-cool designs inside for Custom Built

With Old Man Winter holding much of this country in its sub-zero grip, you can’t help but wonder if Disaster Decks and Decked Out host Paul Lafrance pitched his latest show, Custom Built, to HGTV just so he could ensure he’d stay warm.

The truth is a lot simpler.

“The exterior world is a niche for me, but I’ve been doing interior renovations for the last 20 years,” he explains. “The backyard was a draw for me because it’s such an empty canvas, but I want to connect with more people and tell their stories.”

The man who goes through life with three loves—music, Lego and people—returns to HGTV with his latest creation, debuting Tuesday night. In it, Lafrance and his loyal team of Joey Fletcher, David Kenney and Kate Campbell head indoors to create mind-blowing designs for homeowners. The first episode introduces viewers to Jeff and Allyson, who want their tired 60s-era bathroom updated to match the rest of their gorgeous heritage home. It doesn’t take long for Lafrance’s creative juices to get going after a walk around the couple’s property uncovers barn beams. By the end of the storyline those beams have been transformed into a stunning bathroom counter and a previously hidden antique door and brick work become the focal point of the new shower.

The spiky-haired Tragically Hip fan is quick to mention his co-stars when discussing Custom Built. The word “family” is used several times to describe Fletcher, Kenney and Campbell and part of this new television project spotlights the trio. Each episode heads back to Lafrance’s Southern Ontario workshop where a one-of-a-kind smaller piece is created for a client.

“That’s just showing something that’s been going on for years,” he says. “There has always been a shop. That’s the headquarters, the club house. That’s where creative ideas are birthed and built and fabricated for the renos that we’re doing. Being able to show the mad skill that all three of them have and the individual talents each brings to the table … I love that. There isn’t some leader that has his minions around him. My favourite days are when they come up with something more creative than I did.”

The veteran of HGTV still can’t believe people tune in to watch him tear things down and build them back up again. After all, he’d be doing this job whether camera crews were around him or not. What will those cameras will be capturing over the next several months? More episodes of Custom Built, hopefully more seasons of Disaster Decks or Decked Out. And, perhaps, a series documenting Lafrance building a new home for his family.

“Viewers want to see the real people, not characters,” he says. “I want people to know that if they’re watching me on TV, that’s the real me. If they were seeing my wife and my girls, they’re seeing the same thing.”

Custom Built airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV.


Bryan Baeumler (and family) heads to the sticks in new reno series

The No. 1 no-no when it comes to renovating a house is living in it when such a tumultuous event is taking place. And yet that’s exactly what Bryan Baeumler and his family did when they decided to move their lives from busy Oakville, Ont., to the Niagara Escarpment, an event documented in House of Bryan: In the Sticks, debuting Sunday on HGTV.

“Looking back through this journey, moving my family out to barely a farm to what it is now blows the first two House of Bryan series out of the water,” he says from a sunny clime where he’s on vacation with his wife (and TV show co-star) Sarah. “It was just such an adventure and so much fun. The chaos that ensued with having four kids … there is a lot of stuff that goes on in this show. It’s unbelievable.”

The family really had no plans to move from Oakville, where they constructed the “forever home” documented in Season 1. But  the allure of living away from the trappings of the city was just too great for Baeumler and Sarah, who purchased a large property set back from a country road and got to work. The original home, an A-frame with a soaring ceiling in the main room, would largely stay intact save for some extensive updating. A large extension built onto the original would more than double the home’s size while providing the rustic environment on 16 acres that Baeumler experienced as a kid.

Unfortunately, they had to sell their home in Oakville so that they had the funds to start work on the new, meaning moving their belongings–and themselves–up to the new place. Drama, tears, setbacks, triumph and happiness was captured for posterity with In the Sticks. Bowing on Sunday with two back-to-back episodes, viewers will see everything that occurred during the process, with no filter keeping out the bad times from the good. Baeumler and Sarah wouldn’t have it any other way.

“This is the way we live our lives,” he explains. “Sarah and I look at something and say, ‘What if we get hit by a bus tomorrow?’ and we go out and do it. Life is all about an adventure and I think too many people live by the rule book and live conservatively. We say, ‘Screw it! Get it done.'”

That’s not to say the Baeumler’s adjusted to life in the country immediately. Things they hadn’t considered when buying the property was switching over to a septic system for waste and a gas tank for fuel. They also quickly learned that a quick two-minute run for some milk in the city wasn’t the same in the country. The most important things ceased to be what was in the fridge and more about spending time together.

“What it’s changed is that we spend that extra five or 10 minutes with the kids,” he says. “It has changed our family dynamic way, way for the better. It’s been great.”

House of Bryan: In the Sticks debuts Sunday with two back-to-back episodes at 9 p.m. ET on HGTV.


Sebastian Clovis tackles renovation nightmares

Mike Holmes, Scott McGillivray and Brian Baeumler have become household names thanks to HGTV Canada. Those lads have spent several television seasons informing, educating and instructing homeowners on how to get the dream homes Canadians crave.

Now there’s a new player on the block in Sebastian Clovis.

“It would be a wonderful thing if I could step up to a level where they could put me up there to become the face of HGTV,” the host of Tackle My Reno says humbly.

For now, the former CFL player–he was a defensive back for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and 2006 Grey Cup-winning B.C. Lions–is just happy to return to his construction roots. Clovis swung his first hammer at the age of 15 when a contractor working on the family’s kitchen took on the young man as an apprentice. A football career sent renovations to the sidelines but now he’s back at it.

Debuting Tuesday night on HGTV, Si Entertainment’s Tackle My Reno isn’t your typical renovation series. Yes, Clovis drops by on an unsuspecting homeowner–in the first episode it’s Ben, who still hasn’t completed the family basement after 16 years of hacking away–and gently chastises them for their slipshod attempts at home building. But unlike, say Holmes on Homes or Disaster DIY, there isn’t a lot of time spent on the intricacies of grout or taping drywall. As Clovis tells it, Tackle My Reno is more focused on the entertainment than the nitty-gritty.

The result? A series that spotlights both the homeowners and host on a level not served in most home renovation programs. The strapping Clovis–muscles rippling under a tight tee–is shown equally comfortable threading beads into a necklace or helping sort through basement detritus as he does buttering the back of tile for a shower stall. You can’t fake the natural charm Clovis exudes while sharing a laugh with the folks he’s trying to help; the dude is a natural for the small screen despite having no aspirations for hosting a home reno show.

“It really came about by chance,” he says. “I had sent a video to my director friend where I said, ‘I bring energy to the work site like I’m still playing football, baby!’ It was a joke between friends, but he showed it to production and the next day they were at my renovation site with the cameras, doing a three-hour interview. Two days later I was at HGTV. Four days after that I was in somebody’s house with a TV camera behind me.”

Tackle My Reno airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV.