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Like abounding adolescent couples, Holly Baker and her husband, Sean, had added activity than money aback they capital to activate up their aboriginal home. With a bound budget, but lots of energy, they launched into a mostly corrective renovation, accomplishing all the assignment themselves, including some painting and what Baker calls “entry-level DIY stuff.”
But that was enough. They’d bent the advance bug.
About a year later, they bought addition abode and, while Baker was six months pregnant, started ripping out carpeting and affairs bottomward wallpaper. “We had big dreams for the kitchen, but our account was our better constraint,” she said. “And we bound accomplished that it’s easier to rip things afar than put it aback together.”
Then, in the bosom of the renovation, Baker’s daughter, Wren, accustomed two months early. “I came home from the hospital with a tiny new babyish with two out of three bathrooms ripped afar and one activity toilet,” she said. “We thankfully didn’t rip annihilation out in the kitchen. We were all active in one bedchamber while finishing the flooring.”
In the eight years aback then, Baker has clocked in abounding added renovations, as she now buys fixer-uppers and flips them. She’s done aggregate from “a $200,000 abode to a million-dollar flip,” with a accurate focus on extenuative older, abandoned homes from demolition.
Now she’s angry that acquaintance into a new HGTV show, “New Orleans Reno,” where she helps homeowners “to appear up with solutions to their alone renovating challenges,” she said. The appearance will air two episodes on Saturday, Jan. 28, alpha at 11 a.m. on HGTV.
Baker, who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (more on that in a minute), additionally will be a apostle at this weekend’s NOLA Home Show. She will accord presentations on Friday, Jan. 27, at 5 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 28, at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 29, at apex at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
How a Canadian renovator came to New Orleans to advice acclimate houses is a one-thing-leads-to-another story. Over the years that Baker has been renovating houses, she has been chronicling her assignment on her blog, www.inthefunlane.com. Her blog got noticed by a Canadian magazine, which did a affection adventure on one of her projects. Not continued after, she got an email from a television producer.
“I anticipation it was spam,” Baker said, but she responded anyway. “A admirable admirer emailed me back, and said, ‘Hey lets Skype.’ His accreditation arrested out, and two weeks afterwards a blur aggregation was actuality filming me alive on one of my projects.”
That was in Canada, though, area home renovations run into decidedly Canadian challenges — like winter storms that shut bottomward job sites for days. “I accept canicule area it’s so algid I can’t accept electricians alive because the affairs can crack,” she said. “Two years ago, I had about 25 canicule beeline area no one could assignment on the job armpit (because of the weather.)”
So, Baker said, the appearance producers came aback to her with a acceptable news/bad account scenario. “They admired what I was doing; they admired the action,” she said. “But unfortunately, area I live, it’s actual adamantine to shoot year-round in that climate.
“They said, ‘We appetite to assignment with you. Why don’t you aces about abroad you feel amorous about,'” she said. “They gave me a brace of places to attending into, and New Orleans stood out on that list.”
Baker was instantly admiring to the Crescent City’s celebrated architecture. It fit with her adulation of renovating forlorn, earlier backdrop and extenuative them from the abeyant accident ball.
“My admired abode we’ve anytime done (in Canada) was a 500-square-foot abode that we awash to a distinct dad who was captivated to alive in a accepted neighborhood. It was a abode that would accept been broken bottomward because of the lot value,” she said.
The pilot for Baker’s aboriginal show, “Big Easy Reno,” aired aftermost year. Again she filmed two added episodes and the show’s name afflicted to “New Orleans Reno.” Those episodes affection “large-scale renos, not quick makeovers,” she said. “This isn’t TV magic.”
One adventure focuses on a abode congenital in 1895 in the Bywater. It bare $90,000 account of work. “It did not accept AC or active water,” Baker said. “We had to do it all. Now it’s absolutely up to date with new plumbing, new base and (restored) architectural features.”
Baker formed with an all-local aggregation of architecture professionals, including architect Ryan Mayer, and acclimated New Orleans sources for abstracts and services. “Ricca’s (architectural salvage), Bevolo (gas and electric lighting), and others,” she said. “New Orleans is the host of the show. I apperceive that sounds corny, but we appearance you area these houses are on maps, and we allocution about what’s appropriate about that neighborhood.
“People in New Orleans are so accurate of New Orleans, and I absolutely get that,” she added. “I’m an outsider, and I’ve been apparent so abundant amore and support. We alone use bounded trades, architects, and it’s aloof been so base to assignment with such accomplished people.”
Along the way, Baker has faced some artlessly New Orleans challenges that she’s never had in Canada. “We don’t accord with termites area I live,” she said, laughing. She additionally hasn’t anytime had to be accurate of architectural appearance like adhesive medallions accepting absurd because addition is stomping about in the attic. “I alive about area there is no such affair as (detailed) plasterwork.”
On the television appearance and during her presentation at the NOLA Home Show, Baker said she wants to appearance association how to “renovate on a account and get artist results.”
The aboriginal abode she addled was a 2,000-square-foot, three-story townhouse that bare new flooring, new baseboards, new kitchen cabinets and accessories and two new bathrooms. She did it all for $18,000. “The new accessories and kitchen cabinets came from Ikea. And on the weekends, we had all of our families over, sanding railings and repurposing aggregate we could reuse.
“I abstruse aggregate I apperceive about renovating because I did it myself,” she said. “Money was tight, and it fabricated us attending alfresco the box for solutions to problems. That’s what I appetite to share.”
NOLA Home Show
What: Vendors and exhibitors appearance off the latest in home and garden articles and services. Celebrity speakers accommodate Kevin O’Connor, host of the PBS alternation “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House;” Matt Blashaw of HGTV’s “Yard Crashers” and “Vacation Abode for Free;” Holly Baker of HGTV’s “New Orleans Reno;” Anicka Jones Marshall, architect of AJM Design Build; and Valorie Hart, decorator and columnist of “House Proud: Unique Home Design – Louisiana.”
When: Friday, Jan. 27, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 28, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 29, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Tickets: Adults, $13 at the door, $11 at www.nolahomeshow.com; accouchement ages 6-12, $5; accouchement beneath 5, free.
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