Monday, April 29, 2024

TV Insider's interview with Jonathan and Kristina

TV Insider interviewed Jon and Kristina about Farmhouse Fixer!

HGTV ‘Farmhouse Fixer’: Jonathan Knight & Kristina Crestin on Season 3 Dramas, Ghosts & NKOTB

New Kids on the Block band member Jonathan Knight knows how to work a stage, but he is also pretty handy. That’s been shown on his hit HGTV series Farmhouse Fixer in which he stars with designer Kristina Crestin. The duo is back for Season 3, which premieres April 23, where they’ll work together to renovate New England farmhouses, many of which are 200-300 years old.

Knight and Crestin have built a solid foundation of satisfied clients with their show. So much so that Barbara and Chris, owners of the John Proctor house from Season 2, have called the pair to help again with their property connected with the Salem witch trials. After their bedroom and bathroom remodel project, they returned to find a pipe burst that caused costly damage in another area of the house and will require the removal of black mold.

When we caught up with the dynamic duo they delved into this and other challenging projects they face throughout the eight-episode season. Plus, Knight opens up about how he juggles NKOTB commitments and the farmhouse restoration venture.

How is it for you to see the success of the show? 

Jonathan Knight: I was thinking about this yesterday. As someone in my 20s, 30s, and 40s, I love waking up on Saturday mornings and watching HGTV. When I first thought about doing a show, I wasn’t even thinking about where it would land and what network. For HGTV to pick it up, and for me to be on HGTV, has been a dream. It’s something I still pinch myself all the time. Me and Kristina have a show on HGTV. I would have never imagined that 15, or 20 years ago. It has been super special.

What have you taken from past seasons? 

Kristina Crestin: For me, it’s understanding our role. I don’t come from an acting background or TV background, so being an interior designer is my world. For a couple of seasons, I was trying to understand what I was doing. Now here into Season 3, it was a light bulb going off in my head. Relating to producing a TV show, it was brilliant to come into the season and feel you are good at your job.

This season you’re going back to the John Proctor house. Sounds like something right out of Ghost Adventures. With all these old projects, do you ever have paranormal experiences? 

Jonathan: I’m not really a believer in the paranormal, but when you have so many people who have worked on the house tell you stories, I think you start to get in your head. A door doesn’t shut on its own. It could have been a breeze of the wind coming through the window, but you immediately go, “Oh sh*t, there is a ghost in this house.” You get goosebumps and really freaked out and don’t want to be the last person at that house.

Kristina: I stopped by one night at the Proctor’s house on my way home for something. It was just getting dark, and I was checking some measurements in the dining room and there was a noise going off in the basement. It could have been a furnace or something. I texted Barbara and she told me to go downstairs and hit the reset button. I was like I’m not going in the basement in the dark. Absolutely not.

Talk a bit about the weight on your shoulders to restore these properties by not only maintaining the integrity of their history but also within the budget.  Chris and Barbara talked about even dipping into their retirement for the work. 

Jonathan: It’s a thing with old houses. Once you start digging into it, you never know what’s behind the walls. I think it gets really scary when people have a budget of $50,000 to do something and start the work and find they have this rotting that will cost $14,000 to fix. That’s hard news to break to homeowners. At the same time, we don’t want to do a crappy job. We want to fix this so it’s not a problem for them in the future. Talking to homeowners about budgets, that’s one part of the job I hate. Renovations are expensive. I know how hard people work to save money and pay a mortgage. So that is a part of the job I hate.

Kristina: There is a pro in that people are forced to go through a preliminary design process and work with us. We learn the quality level they want, what they want. There are notes and sketches where we get to a solid price. Jon is right about the unforeseen circumstances when you open things up, but I think a lot of homeowners go into renovations without all the information. They get an estimate from a builder and start without going through everything. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy that when people apply to our show they have to go through that process to make sure the budget is there.

This season you’re also helping a lighthouse keeper’s home on a remote island. What are some of the challenges you face with that one logistically? 

Jonathan: The lighthouse one was definitely a challenge. We would get up a seven in the morning and load everything on these boats, land on the beach that was all rock, and have to carry everything off the boat, off this big cliff. That was quite challenging. Another big challenge this season was renovating a working berry farm in New Hampshire. The couple couldn’t leave the property because they had animals, and farming duties to do so we had to work around renovating their house with them, living in a part of the house with the dust and noise, and three kids. Every day they would get up at six in the morning head out to the strawberry fields and continue their routines as we worked around them.

New Kids has their first studio album in 11 years coming out soon with a summer tour on the horizon. How do you find the time to work on these projects, Jon? 

Jonathan: This year I’m probably at my breaking point. This has been the most stressful year for as long as I remember. We’re preparing for a tour next month. We have a new album coming out May 17. I was running to New York, recording vocals in a hotel room as we did press for different things. Just juggling everything and managing my own personal farm. It has been a lot, but I’m always up for a challenge. As stressful as it is, I may shed a few tears of frustration. Then I’m over it and think about what I’m tackling next.

Out of everyone from your music circle, who do you think would be great on HGTV? 

Jonathan: You know who would be good? One of my bandmates Joey McIntyre. He has such great taste. I would love to see him on HGTV. I’ve seen him renovate his past two houses, and they’ve been amazing. I’d love to see him do that.

On top of Farmhouse Fixer, you two have also popped in elsewhere on the network. News came out earlier this year that you’ll be participating in 100 Day Hotel Challenge. How is it doing these types of shows? 

Kristina: I was excited about that. I have always wanted to work on a hotel. I wish were involved even more, but we had to fit in between Farmhouse Fixer. These shows are an interesting side hustle I never expected that ended up being so much more fun. When we got Season 3 of our show, we started casting in November 2022. So the season has been a long time coming.

These other shows are just fun.  Now don’t get me wrong, they are exhausting because they are long days, but Hotel was simple. You travel down together and be in a different design mindset and connect with other HGTV talent and learn from them and share stories. It was a really neat growing opportunity and a break from what we were doing. I love doing these things. This was a nice connection with pieces of what we do on our show about caring about the past and the family story and reusing things. So much actually applied to that hotel we were working on, but the color palette was different than what we’ve done. It was a bit out of our comfort zone.

Jonathan: I love doing these extra HGTV shows because there is so much to design, and when you’re asked to go into something like design hotels, your whole design process is different and expectations of what you have to deliver are different. It’s the same kind of artistry, but a different outlet… It’s like when we make new music and on stage and get to perform new music. It’s still the same but feels different and fresh.

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