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American Fork couple excited for their own HGTV show ‘Old Home Love’

By Court Mann daily Herald - | Oct 2, 2015
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Candis and Andy Meredith show one of the old homes they plan to renovate and refurbish. The American Fork couple's new show on HGTV, titled "Old Home Love," premieres Wednesday.

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“We try to keep our houses really affordable too, because I think that matters," Candis Meredith said. "We don’t want them to be unobtainable.”

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The homes the Merediths restore are often a thorough undertaking.

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Candis Meredith has been restoring homes since she was 21, and Andy joined in after the couple married two years ago.

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Candis and Andy Meredith show one of the old homes they plan to renovate and refurbish. The American Fork couple's new show on HGTV, titled "Old Home Love," premieres Wednesday. Visit heraldextra.com/ticket to read more about the Merediths.

What’s harder, restoring an old Victorian mansion or being nine months pregnant?

For Candis Meredith, it wasn’t an either-or situation. The American Fork resident did both simultaneously last winter. She and her husband Andy were being filmed for their new HGTV home restoration show “Old Home Love,” which premieres Wednesday night on HGTV’s DIY Network. On the very last day of filming, when film crews were getting shots of the fully restored Payson mansion that they restored for the show, Candis was going into labor.

“It’s not as easy as it looks, I guess,” she said about the entire process.

That might be an understatement: The Merediths also have six other children between the ages of 5 and 11.

The next few weeks will be make or break for “Old Home Love.” HGTV filmed a four episode mini season with the Merediths as a trial run. The first two episodes air on Wednesday night, with episodes 3 and 4 airing Oct. 14.

“Any show, if you don’t keep your ratings up, it’s gone,” Candis said. “Every season is possibly your last.”

* * *

If things don’t pan out with HGTV, though, Andy and Candis will have plenty to keep them busy. In addition to all the kids, they currently own 16 different properties and are restoring six of them. Candis started restoring homes at 21 years old when she bought her grandma’s old home. Andy got involved once the two of them married two years ago. He juggled restoration work with a day job in corporate sales, but left it behind in the spring of last year to focus on restorations.

“The last few years it was really draining me, and I just didn’t get any fulfillment out of it,” Andy said of his former job. “And when I found this, it was something I was passionate about.”

The Meredith’s restorations are quite the sight. Their Instagram account @oldhomelove, which showcases their work, has more than 12,000 followers. HGTV found out about them through Instagram, and contacted them about the possibility of a show. According to the Merediths, it’s about a lot more than good aesthetics. They usually strip their homes down to the bare bones to make sure their restorations aren’t just surface level.

“The worst thing we could do, and the worst thing we see happening to them, is someone buying it for a quick flip,” Andy said. “So they’ll buy a house that needs new electrical, new roof, new plumbing. They’ll throw in new carpet and paint, and it looks cosmetically new, but in reality they’ve done worse, because now whoever moves in has adopted all those problems from a hundred years. Plus, it’s all covered up now. To get to those problems, they have to tear down what has been done.”

* * *

The market for restored old homes is strong in Utah, Candis said. Their properties are usually sold months before they’re actually finished, as their Instagram followers see the posts and quickly secure a bid. A restoration can seem daunting, sure, but Candis said it’s the best option long-term.

“I think people nowadays are nervous about old houses, because they see the plaster is falling off the wall or something, and they think, ‘Oh, the whole house is falling down,’ ” she said. “But no. This house will still be standing when all those newer houses are crumbling. The houses we work on are over a hundred years old. I don’t think a lot of 1980s houses are going to live a hundred years.”

People also tend to have misconceptions about the price of restored homes, Candis said. Sure, the mansion restored on the first season of “Old Home Love” isn’t exactly a starter home, but most of their properties are sold for less than $250,000.

“We don’t want them to be unobtainable,” she explained. “When it’s all said and done, we don’t make a lot of money doing home restorations. Because we love it, we’ll always sacrifice our paycheck for the right moldings and things. We always say we need to do right by the home.”

There are competing factions in the world of home restoration, based on the level of modernization that gets integrated. Some have criticized the Merediths for making certain aspects too modern. While they obviously love old homes — their own home was built in 1859 — they want people to be comfortable.

“We’re not building museums,” Andy said. “If we took it back to the original, it wouldn’t pass code. They weren’t built for modern life. We try to bring the history back, but also make them comfortable and accessible for anybody.

“And we pass code,” he added.

* * *

The Merediths admit that the two months of pre-production and five weeks of filming were an exhausting endeavor. They’d often film segments during the day, visit their kids for a few hours, put the kids to bed, then return to the work site for a few more hours. Blending the production and construction schedules proved more difficult than they’d anticipated. Through it all, they said they were amazed at how supportive and encouraging the HGTV staff have been.

“If you’re genuine and passionate and love something and stick with it, you’ll be successful,” Andy said when asked what this new endeavor has taught him. “You’ll be rewarded, and positive things will come out of it. Be nice to people and do your job well, and good things will happen to you — you’ll quit your day job, work with your wife full time and get a TV show.”

When: Wednesday at 9 p.m.

Channel: DIY Network

Pre-premiere party: 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Startup Building, 560 S. 100 West, Provo. Event will have food trucks.


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