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HGTV host, Nicole Curtis, talks renovation, restoration and what makes her cringe


When Nicole Curtis hears there’s a home in danger of being torn down, her first instinct is to try and rescue it from impending doom.

“To me, it’s kind of like there’s a dog in a kill shelter, and they’ve only got 24 hours for someone to adopt them — or they get it,” said Curtis, who is host of HGTV’s “Rehab Addict.” “That’s usually how I choose (what projects to take on) — when I know that if I don’t take it, then demolition is coming. I choose them because nobody else will.”

Curtis — a self-taught home rehabber and designer — will be in Atlanta Friday making an appearance for handheld torch manufacturer Bernzomatic at a local ACE Hardware retail trade show. She took some time Wednesday morning to talk with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Do you ever see yourself coming to Atlanta and restoring older homes here?

Right now, I stay close to home (Minneapolis) because I have children at home, but I used to live in Atlanta years ago … around 1994, back when Buckhead was still little. Atlanta is wonderful, and I have so much fun there, and the weather is obviously a little more appealing in Atlanta than most of the places we build … but yeah it’s cool because there’s a huge preservation movement going on (there) still.

What’s your favorite architectural style in older homes and why?

I would have to say Spanish Revival homes are my favorite. Growing up in the Midwest, you really don’t see those a lot. Anything that has stucco and a tile roof — I’m in.

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What are some common mistakes people make when restoring older homes?

There’s a difference between renovation and restoration, and I have to point that out a lot. A lot of the work I do is renovation because there’s nothing left to restore. But I tell people, ‘if you have something there to restore, restore it by all means.’ If you have old, stick with the old. Don’t replace old with a new-old style. I’m seeing that a lot right now … some people who are buying old houses are using a new-old look on houses that were already old and cool. That’s something right now that’s been making me cringe. I’m telling people to take a step back, and if you already have something old, restore it; don’t renovate it.

What do you make of the success of “Rehab Addict” and similar home restoration shows?

I think people love to see before and after. I mean that’s what really makes a lot of shows good: the transformation. People love to see that. They love to see the hope. They think it’s fascinating, and I think people go to work, and they sit in a cubicle … they just lose it, and they turn on something like HGTV, and they’re like ‘oh my gosh, I could do that.’ And, it brings out the creative spirit.

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