Little Italy residents -- and their renovation -- on TV
Jon Wingerberg and Craig Newcomb have been renovating their three-story Little Italy rowhouse since they bought it in June of last year. A variety of family, friends and strangers know all about it -- from the drywalling to the fireplace tiling -- because the partners decided to blog about it as they went.
Project Rowhouse is replete with before, during and after photos, plus the sort of commentary that anyone who's done any home-improvement projects will appreciate. Such as: "Primer is on the walls and the smell of KILZ is in the air – it’s intoxicating. Literally."
Tonight you can see them and their 200-year-old home on TV. Their renovation is one of three featured on a Baltimore-centric episode of HGTV's Bang for Your Buck.
It's scheduled to air at 9:30 p.m. HGTV sums it up this way: "Designer Taniya Nayak compares three great rooms in Baltimore that were recently renovated with budgets of $50,000 each. Along with a realtor, they look at a modern great room with horizontal metal cabinets, a contemporary great room with a wood-burning fireplace and a spunky great room with a built-in bar."
Wingerberg, 29, and Newcomb, 30, sent in photos of their work on a whim when they heard HGTV was taking applications. Lo and behold, they were selected. (So was another Baltimore rowhouse blogger.)
Wingerberg says he and Newcomb didn't actually spend $50 grand. "It's probably been about -- oh, $25 to $30 [thousand] total," he said. "The show took into account that we did all the labor ourselves. I have a feeling it would have been more than that if we had to hire people for everything."
They moved the kitchen from the basement -- yep, it was in the basement -- to the first floor. They redid both levels while they were at it, and they're finishing the master bedroom now.
"Then we're going to stop for a while," Wingerberg said. "It's exhausting with full-time jobs -- and just everyday nonstop, the renovation goes on. It'll be nice to take a break for a while and just enjoy the house. And quit spending money."
He said they started blogging about the renovations because their family and friends are spread across the country, and it was easier to have their updates online rather than sending out photo-laden emails. "It turned into this fun thing," he said. "We've met other people renovating their houses. ... I didn't really realize that I'd be getting 70 or 80 random hits a day from people that I don't know."
I asked Wingerberg if he'd recommend a months-long renovation to prospective home buyers. He said he's enjoyed it because it's a hobby for him. Just remember, he said, that it can be stressful and "trying on your relationship if you have one."
"But it's completely rewarding to finish something like this," he said.
Is it finished?
"We've going to move on to the bathrooms, but maybe not until next year," he said. "Maybe a rooftop deck is in the future, too -- if Little Italy will allow it."