Denise Sabia is well-known in these parts as the face of the Painted Home blog, and three brick-and-mortar local shops, filled to the brim with beautiful antiques, knick-knacks, and flea market finds.
But soon, Sabia will spread her savvy design skills nationwide when—fingers crossed!—her new renovation show premieres on the DIY Network. For the past few months, interior designer and her boyfriend Tom have been renovating a classic Cedar Park home with a film crew documenting the whole process.
The show—Sabia says she's not at liberty to disclose the name of it yet—is scheduled to air this fall. Curbed Philly recently caught up with her just as she was putting the finishing touches on the home.
How did this whole show come about? Did you approach the network or was it the other way around?
I was on the DIY Network's website and I saw something asking about couples that are flipping houses together. [Laughs] I wish someone would come out with a new angle on this—everyone wants the new Chip and Joanna Gaines. But anyway, they interviewed us on Skype and then we met with them. Now, my boyfriend and I are flipping a house together in Philly.
Can you reveal where the house is located?
It’s in Cedar Park. It's pretty big at about 3,000 square feet. Our goal is have vintage charm, but with modern conveniences. It's a twin, and we ripped everything from roof to basement.
Do you know anything about the history of the home?
No—it was really just the neighbors who said things in passing like, "We’re so happy you’re fixing up this home." It was really bad. They told us that the people who lived there would just open windows and throw trash out from the second and third floor. The drywall was looked like a lion chewed on it. It really wasn't a happy house.
What has the filming process been like for you?
It’s very funny. [The producers] are always like, "What day can we install the kitchen?" and I have to say, "I don’t know. Whenever the cabinets comes in?" It’s hard to juggle and I don’t know how they do everything they do because they have an agenda of what they want to accomplish. I want to get the job done and they want to film it. It’s a little bit of juggling and amazing what they end up with.
Have you learned anything new about your design or yourself from filming?
I haven’t learned much work-wise, it’s more about yourself and my relationship. I’ve talked to Tom afterwards and said that I don’t want to look like damsel in distress. That’s not me. I do run a business and I know how to install a tub, you know? So we have each other’s backs. I've had to learn a lot about our relationship because they’re asking these questions without knowing ahead of time. So I do like the psychological part of it.
How long has the renovation taken?
We started in March and it was so full of debris that we didn't start renovations until the first week in April. It took the guys double the amount of time to gut it because the debris kept coming. But we hope to have it finished and up for sale before the show airs.
What are some of the renovations you've made?
It’s really cool. It's three full floors, not including the basement. The first floor is an open floor concept. We kept the chunky moldings to keep it charming, but we had to remove fireplace, which was unfortunate, but that was not salvageable.
It was a seven bedroom home, but we turned it one full bedroom into a master bath and another one into a great laundry room upstairs. And we tried to put closets in every room, because they were all tiny—you couldn't even put a hanger in them.
Do you know if the show will highlight some of your DIY projects and how much they cost?
Yeah, wherever I can give tips and I do. And everything they don't mention I'll have on my website, so whatever isn’t mentioned on air and people can come back and find out how to build a backyard bar out of palettes or whatever.
Well, this all sounds really exciting.
It’s fun to do something national! In Philly all my neighbors know what I do, so it’s fun to be on the network and get some attention that way. It's funny because people have driven by and on the sidewalk while we're filming and shouted out. And some of the neighborhood already knows that something great is going on.
Interview has been edited and condensed.
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