Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Rob Evans and Mia Parres, the hosts of our new series The Expandables. In this series, Rob and Mia must literally find spaces in impossible places, helping homeowners bursting at the saems in their existing homes.
For this interview, I was expecting we’d chat about the show and some reno tips, but I had no idea we’d spend a large portion of it laughing. These two are a dynamic pair, and although they bet against each other’s designs in the show, they couldn’t be more in sync. They are truly enjoyable to be with, and that resonates on camera. The Expandables, which premiered Thursday, January 8, is a must-watch if you have yet to see it! Tune in, Thursday nights at 9 & 9:30e/p and catch up on full episodes online.
From their most embarrassing moments on set, to how they keep their own home organized and clutter-free, here’s our exclusive interview with Rob and Mia:
Tina: What makes this series stand out from other home reno shows?
Rob: “I think it’s got a lot to do with that we’re not just going in and making someone’s kitchen prettier…It’s changing the way people are living in their houses. So it’s a night-and-day change for them. First of all, they go away for four weeks. We’re in there. They left when it wasn’t working for them. They come back, and it is fantastic.”
“So you are getting a punch of design, there are DIY tips, there’s some build, there’s some banter, there’s some betting going on in there, but it really is changing a homeowner’s life from, ‘I don’t just want a pretty kitchen, I need you to change my life.’”
Mia: “Exactly. Functionality, layout, storage I would say are the top three things. And then, really it’s about finding spaces in impossible places.”
“You want to tell your house how to live, you don’t want your house to tell you how to live.”
T: Did you ever enter a home and think, ‘This can’t be expanded’?
Mia: “Nope.” (All laugh.)
Mia: “It’s always a surprise. I think that mostly I feel that the homeowners are a little bit embarrassed, which they shouldn’t be, because a lot of people do live like this. And then I feel we are there to present them with options and ideas on how they can sort of move forward, and take a step back really and look at their lives: ‘How can you live a better life as a family.’
Rob: “You can tell, because the first thing out of a person’s mouth isn’t, ‘Oh, don’t you love my new tiled backsplash.’ It’s ‘Oh, I hate this, and I hate that.’ And you can key off of that to find out how their house isn’t working. And there’s always a solution for it.”
Rob: (Laughs) “I’m that confident.”
Tina: What’s often the most cluttered area in a home?
Mia: “I would say the bathrooms some of the time.”
Mia: “Or the kitchen, or the living room, or the bedroom.” (All laugh.)
Rob: “No, she’s right, because some the episodes we’ve done, some of those bathrooms are just crazy. Couples in powder rooms, trying to get ready in the morning. To be honest, the big one I think, is the dining room. Because I think that’s where everything catches. You want to eat there, that becomes the home office, the kids playroom as well. ”
Mia: “Yeah, the arts and crafts room.”
Rob: “Yeah, so it’s kind of where everybody centralizes too, and that’s where all the clutter and stuff gets to.”
“Step back. Tidy your place up. I know that sounds ridiculous, but tidy up, put the toys away. And then, take a realistic look at your house and say, ‘What is not working for us?’ ”
Tina: So where should a homeowner start who wants to find more space in their home?
Rob: ” Well I don’t think it’s a specific room. I think honestly, homeowners get caught up in the layers, upon layers, of ‘I don’t like the looks of my kitchen, we have no space here and it’s just too much for them. So, step back. Tidy your place up. I know that sounds ridiculous, but tidy up, put the toys away. And then, take a realistic look at your house and say, ‘What is not working for us?’ It’s not just, you add two-feet to my house. How do we make this work, and then get a professional. Get someone like us in there to say, this is what you need to do.
Mia: “I totally agree with you. We’ve seen a lot of entryways that are really cluttered. Lots of coats, and shoes and boots, it’s all about the kids. Start there. Start as soon as you walk in the house. If it’s a mess, clean it up a little bit. Put away the coats, put away the shoes, and then you kind of get a new perspective on your living space. Take it one step at a time.”
Tina: Do you think the problem is that these homes’ layouts are outdated, or because we’re accumulating too much stuff?
Rob: “I think it’s a lot of those things. Definitely outdated layouts. As well, people aren’t willing to tell their home what to do. It’s like, the walls are there, that room is there, that’s what we have to do to it. No, it’s your home. You own it. There are ways to fix this. They’re not all expensive.
Mia: (Looking to Rob) “I always like what you say, and I’m going to steal what you say.” (Rob laughs.) “You want to tell your house how to live, you don’t want your house to tell you how to live. And I think that’s so important.”
Tina: What is the most rewarding and fun part about doing this show?
Mia: “Oh for sure the homeowners, but also all being together. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not in stitches laughing, having the best time ever, being like, ‘Is this work?’ ”
Rob: “Imaging going to work, you got to work, you have fun doing it. And then the homeowner reveals, that genuine reaction of the homeowners, it’s pretty cool. They are over the moon.”
Tina: Have you learned anything about yourselves doing this show that you didn’t know before?
Mia: “That I’m always right?”
Tina: But did you know that before?
Mia: “Now I just really know it. (laughs), no I’m kidding. I’m kidding!”
Watch The Expandables Thursday nights at 9 and 9:30e/p, and catch up on full episodes online.