by Megan Kellin

Most will recognize Nicole Curtis as the eponymous "Rehab Addict" on DIY Network or have seen her sharing her real estate wisdom on HGTV. But here's a peak into a woman who leads a very real life, an adventure she calls it - as a mother to two, a self-taught home rehabber, contractor, designer, and licensed real estate agent, oh and she just so happens to save old homes... on television.

With years of multidisciplinary projects under her belt and a growing collection of well-deserved accolades, it's no wonder Nicole Curtis has established herself as a international front-runner in the design and television world.

With years of multidisciplinary projects under her belt and a growing collection of well-deserved accolades, it's no wonder Nicole Curtis has established herself as a international front-runner in the design and television world.

Turning heads by making her own mark on the renovation and restoration industry, her sophisticated, yet holistic aesthetic has her at all-star status for her projects, passions, and lifestyle. 

Yes, it's clear Nicole has the tools to not only reshape homes and neighborhoods but also to affect the way we see our potential... our best life and ultimately make an impact with wherever we are, with whatever we have.

The reality TV star and DIY expert recently announced the show will be returning for an eighth season and we're so excited to have our favorite historic home renovation show back for an extended season. Here's a peak into the real picture of the person in front of the camera. 

Let's go back! You're from Michigan but spent a lot of time In Minnesota? Why Minnesota?

We joke about why I came here, but it's all water under the bridge. I grew up in Michigan but left right after graduating high school. I've lived in a lot of places but around 2009 found myself in Minneapolis as it seemed to be one of the only cities that wasn't devastated by the recession and I saw opportunity in the real estate market. We spent a decade here. I raised my oldest son here and now we're closing out our final restoration project in Minneapolis this summer. Although we are moving on, trust that I don't forget that this is the city, the state, the architecture, and the people, that helped shape the success of our show. We still consider it one of our "homes" and are frequently back to visit our amazing friends and eat at the best small, organic restaurants of all the cities we have lived in.

The Midwest is known for good fibered folks and their work ethics. You seem to epitomize this.

I travel all over the world and I can attest that there is nothing like coming home to the Midwest. It's simply salt of the Earth people.

Did you ever venture outside the Twin Cities... with homes, projects, or pure leisure? Where? Anywhere in particular stand out?

I fell in love with Uptown Minneapolis, as I'm a water person and I loved being right by Lake Calhoun. Although I am an avid wakeboarder, I couldn't give up the city life to be on Lake Minnetonka. A typical day for me in Minneapolis would start with a run around the lakes and then kayaking and... honestly, it ended that way too with maybe a beer and tacos at Tinfish. I have also been known to be spotted on a small farm in Wayzata - we hide out there when I need peace and quiet.

Where is your happy place?

Anywhere the sun is setting and I have the opportunity to have that moment with my children beside me, there's nothing greater.

I'd gather you've been called an old soul a time or two. If you had to pick one era to live in, which era/decade would you choose? 

I've been called an old soul since I was very young, I think that's what any serious child gets called. I would say that I'm definitely a lot more happy-go-lucky as an adult. I am all about the 20's -it's my favorite era in architecture.

What are the most common things first-time DIY'ers don't think of before starting a home remodel project?

I can't believe how much people waste on home improvements. A lot of times on things they will never get back! A house is an appreciating asset (most of the time), but when you don't keep that and the correct range of your house value in check, you're creating a sinking ship. Start small, stay in-budget, and if it isn't going to bring you money back in equity, don't do it. Spend your money traveling the world with your family instead!

What's your favorite part of the renovation process? The discovery? The demo?... The smell of fresh paint?

I'm all about the hunt, After demo, I'm pretty much over it.

You're clearly a pioneer by nature and sometimes that comes in the form of making waves. What are the biggest challenges you've faced when standing up for what you believe and what did you take away from it?

Because I am the anti-HGTV model, I take a lot of heat. People come at me from all directions and while most would let a publicist handle their social media and PR and play nice, that's never been me. If someone attacks my family or my friends, they best be confident enough to stand up and say it to my face. I get told to ignore the haters, but some of these people need to be shut down before they attack someone who is having a weak moment. The attacks against me as a mother... I take very personally. We lose an extraordinary amount of mothers to postpartum because they feel alone and a lack support. What if the person attacking me says something to one of those poor women? That's what has empowered me through these past few years.

What are your secrets for all us working moms out there?

As far as motherhood, my rule is take your children outside, outside, outside - I have mom groups in every city and I love it. When I'm at "home" I lead groups hiking, boating, you name it. I love it. I've also learned to meal prep; we eat all organic and I make use of farmers markets in each city. I love to have people over for dinner. We have large fabulous old dining rooms in every house and we make use of them.

What's a day in-the-life-of? How are your kids? Your little guy is just adorable and you seem to thrive and flourish in young motherhood again.

My life is finally at the place I had always hoped for it to be. The business runs like a well-oiled machine. The show is thriving still even after almost nine years on television and I'm able to really enjoy the true gifts in life - my friends, my family, my children. I play all day and after bedtime, my workday begins. I answer emails, work on building plans, and make phone calls. I do whatever it takes to be the stay at home mom that I always dreamed of being with my first son. Does that always happen? Of course not. But when you have the right people in place there's a trust that develops and everyone knows our standards are high and anything that comes into question becomes a quick FaceTime or conference call to find a resolution, or I trade babysitting with one of my amazing mom friends and head to a site.

How has television affected you and how you do business? Is the show a good portrayal of your real professional life?

Ha! Yes and No. I'm very cautious about who comes into the inner circle, but with that being said, my fav quote is "Strangers are friends waiting to happen." The show is only 22 min... it shows about .0000000257 percent of my professional life. I did a day-in-the-life for my Instagram story the other day - running from property to property, fixing a garbage disposal, a run to TJ Maxx, joining my team to prep a house for an Airbnb guest because they were running behind... I get my hands dirty every day. But it doesn't need to be the highlight (in my opinion) anymore because I'd rather focus on the people that make it all possible for me - my crew, my friends. And I think our lives are better when I delegate instead of trying to be the star.

Can you attest to this by the people you work with or spend/spent time with? How so?

I struggled for a lot of years to put the right people next to me. A lot of people I trusted just didn't stay the same and it was shocking, but I just had to learn to accept people for who they were and some people just don't have good intentions. The cameras, the TV... it really makes a profound effect on some and sadly, you soon realize who your real friends are. Going back to Detroit a few years ago was a very necessary switch. On any given day, you will find me hanging with my friends that I've had since elementary school and my crew and their families. We've been through so much together and I'm so grateful to have sorted out the bad apples and finally be where we are.

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