Family Home Overhaul is the feel-good renovation show we need now

Back row (from left): Host Cheryl Hickey hugs homeowner Sarah, with designers Kortney Wilson and Dave Wilson standing by. Front row (from left): The homeowners’ kids Hayden and Landon, and homeowner Kevin.


Don’t you love it when good things happen to good people? And don’t you love it even more when that good thing involves a life-changing gift that could make the Tin Man shed a tear?

Enter Family Home Overhaul, a new HGTV home-renovation series in which communities reward families that always give back — despite the hardships they personally endure.

In each episode, Cheryl Hickey hosts while a pair of HGTV designers strips a home to the studs for a major rebuild. Designer Kortney Wilson, who joins forces with her ex Dave Wilson for an episode, chats with Postmedia News about the feel-good show.

Q: At first glance, this show seems similar to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition — what sets it apart?

Wilson: It’s very similar in that it’s a home renovation show with a ton of heart. But what makes this one unique is that different HGTV home renovators are taking on each episode, so they’re really entrenched in the people’s lives — beyond what would be if you were going from week to week with different people. For me, I was able to get deeper into the renovation and the family’s needs.

Q: The timing couldn’t be better for a feel-good show. What will viewers appreciate most about it?

Wilson: I think we’re all just looking for that golden nugget in our day, our life, our week and sometimes just even in a moment to feel like there’s hope. This show is all about hope, hanging on, community and overcoming adversity. It’s about the struggles each of us have on a day-to-day basis, but some people are just handed bigger loads. These people just give and give, no matter what. They get slapped in the face, pushed down, thrown curveballs left and right. And the more they take on, the more they give and the more they’re appreciative.

Q: Do you have a different perspective on the show now — during COVID — compared to when you filmed it?

Wilson: We all feel a little bit disconnected now, and I’m not going to lie — it’s probably going to tug on our heartstrings and make us want to reach out. This is a reminder of what’s to come. This was shot before COVID, before quarantine, and maybe we were all were taking community for granted. We’re all craving that right now.

Q: What can you tell us about the episode featuring you and Dave?

Wilson: I cried while filming the entire episode. They have two little boys and one has a rare disorder, which they embraced in every aspect of their life, but they couldn’t tackle their home to make it work for them. So we were able to address really specific things, which is very different than other home renovation shows. You often try to appeal to the masses when you’re home renovators or house flippers.

What’s funny about the timing of the show is that a lot of us have been sitting in our houses and working from our home. We’re looking at all the undone projects and thinking about what’s going to make our houses work for us too.

Q: What were the biggest challenges you faced?

Wilson: They needed more space, and we weren’t going to be able to add anything on. When you’re not able to do an addition, you have to use every inch of the house that you’re given. And sometimes that means taking down walls or putting up walls to create more room, so for us I think it was just using every corner of this house to make it work for them. This is a family of rock stars. I think they represent so many other Canadians out there, just doing their best and living hard and living loud.

Family Home Overhaul debuts Sunday, Sept. 27, on HGTV

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