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LO grad is a 'Rehab Addict'


Nicole Curtis's DIY Network show airs October 14


October 13, 2010 - Getting her own TV show wasn't something LOHS grad Nicole Curtis set out to do.

The opportunity "fell into my lap" said Curtis, now the host of the DIY (Do it yourself) Network's "Rehab Addict."

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Nicole Curtis and her son, Ethan, 12, get ready to rehab another house for Nicole’s new TV show. Photo submitted (click for larger version)
After graduating high school in 1994, Curtis traveled and lived all over the US rebuilding houses and doing interior design. She ended up in Minneapolis, MN a few years ago, made some guest appearances in other shows and started filming her own series last year, paving her way ask a general contractor, real estate agent and jack-of-all-trades.

"I save old homes. Everybody now is in the business of flipping homes. They buy them, put all this cheap stuff in it and put it right back on the market. I actually restore houses to how they should look according to their period," she said. "If they were built in 1910, the house is going to look like a 1910 house."

She said DIY caught wind of what she did, filmed a demo, loved it, and the rest is history. The show "Rehab Addict" will follow Curtis as she works on homes. The show first airs Thursday, Oct. 14 at 9 p.m. on the DIY Network. A second episode, featuring a Lake Orion home, will start at 9:30.

Curtis said her family, who've "been in Lake Orion forever" helped instill her love of older homes. Her grandparents, Chester and Peggy Bushman, started Bushman Disposal years ago. Now, the Curtis family still resides in the area, including Curtis's parents, Rod and Joanie, and brother Ryan. Rod and Ryan actually appear in two "Rehab Addict" episodes, part of which were shot in Lake Orion.

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Curtis said, "My family was in the garbage business for years and we never threw anything out – we reused or found another use for things."

Her dad enjoys antiques and is a historian and was always restoring old furniture. Her grandmother's house in Oxford was "one of those homes that was just so cool," and even at a young age, Curtis said she appreciated it, and dreamed of her own big, Victorian mansion.

"The only way I could afford to buy my own was to buy a really rundown one," she said. "I couldn't afford to pay anyone to come in and do the work, so I just had to learn it, hands-on."

Old houses in the Village of Lake Orion also inspired Curtis, though she didn't grow up in an older home herself. Instead, Curtis's childhood home was a 1980's tri-level. Now she makes a living ripping out the kind of architecture she grew up in.

Curtis says runs into a lot of interesting and fun stories in rehabilitating old houses.

"I always research the homes. The house I'm working on right now, I couldn't find the history and it was killing me," she said, noting she gets emotionally attached to houses she works on. "My thing is, if I don't get goosebumps when I walk in, I don't buy it."

Then she said the kids, now adults, who grew up in the house in the 1940s came knocking at her door and helped her fill out her relationship with the home.

"Sometimes I don't make money on my projects because I put so much into them," she said.

Often, Curtis finds secret rooms inside houses. She said many larger homes were divided into apartments during the Great Depression and then remodeled half a dozen times since then.

She found one house with a secret staircase that led to a passage to the basement.

But no matter where her work takes her, Curtis says she remains very attached to Michigan.

"I'm always a Tigers fan, never a Twins fan," she said, laughing.

She gets to come back to Lake Orion during the summer and about once a month through the rest of the year. Her son, Ethan, 12, is the only grandchild in the family, so she brings him back often for visits.

Reporter, Lake Orion Review
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