With so much excitement going on in the All-Star Renovation Challenge it’s almost like the fans have lived through the renovation process for all of our eight amazing DIYers. Now, it’s time to take a behind-the-scenes look with our first-ever All-Star winners Kelsey + Ryan of Newbuild Newlyweds.
They’re giving us an inside look into their design choices, challenges and even some great tips along the way. Grab your favorite cup of joe and find out how a simple DM turned into a win for their dream vacation.
Q: Let’s go back to the beginning in your first renovation from Season 4 of the Renovation Challenge. What made you decide to apply for the Challenge.
Kelsey: We actually slid into Jeffrey Court’s DMs hoping to collaborate on a smaller project in our bathroom and found out about the Renovation Challenge, so we applied and were accepted. While we didn’t have any experience with tile, we decided to expand the project more from our original plan into a full renovation. We’re glad that it happened this way because now we are two renovations in and are so glad we did it.
Q: How was your first experience with the Renovation Challenge?
Ryan: I was hesitant at first since we hadn’t worked with tile before and Kelsey decided to go big or go home with tiling the floors and in a herringbone pattern no less. The whole thing was a learning experience. It was our biggest project to date, even that it was smaller in comparison to the others we competed with, we were happy with how it turned out and of ourselves for trying something we had never done.
Q: What made you accept the invite into the All-Star Renovation Challenge?
Kelsey: We were so happy with the outcome of our smaller guest bath and knew we wanted to redo our master bath and go even bigger on this to do something great. The opportunity to work with Behr paint and FrogTape was exciting for us too and knew that would help us add even more great features.
Ryan: We also wanted to test ourselves and see how far we could push it. You really find out how much you’re capable of when you try new things.
Q: Was the All-Star Challenge more intimidating given all the other designers involved?
Kelsey: Yes! We knew we had to step up our game. We were entering the big leagues now and needed to do something over the top from what we did last time.
Ryan: While Kelsey wanted to go big, I didn’t want to redo the shower. It seemed like more than I wanted to take on with the skills we had, but Kelsey managed to convince me otherwise and I’m glad she did. It looks great.
Q: Let’s talk design. Where did you start in the process?
Kelsey: We liked the wood-looking tile Jeffrey Court has and used the Ashwood in our guest bath, so we knew we wanted to use another similar tile. We wanted neutral colors with wood tones and decided on Teakwood as the main feature and kept the shower brighter on the walls with a white subway tile and brought some subtle grey with the Carrara Constellation. For the vanity, I really wanted to tie everything together with a grey and white pattern for a little pop. As soon as I saw Emblem, I knew it was the perfect accent to our bathroom.
Once we had the tile picked out the rest of the design easily took shape. The paint colors we picked from Behr we pulled the grey from the tile and matched it perfectly to our paint. To round out the design I wanted to use green décor accents using plants and our wallpaper.
Q: What were some of your biggest challenges in the six-week renovation?
Ryan: Demo was worse than installing the tile. We kept finding things that were done poorly in the original build that took a lot of work to remedy. There was mold in the shower, the shower bench was constructed all wrong and had random supplies thrown in, it was a mess.
Kelsey: We really wanted to have everything done right this time since we were already removing everything and starting from scratch. We also had to take all that demoed material down our stairs and out to the dumpster, so we definitely got our steps in lol.
Q: What’s the #1 thing you learned through this process?
Kelsey: Whatever skill level you have, as long as you try and do it with confidence and stay positive you can accomplish a lot more that you think. We found that we were more capable of doing things than we thought.
Q: What is your best advice for a new tiler or first-time Renovation Challenge participant?
Ryan: Take your time, evaluate, measure often, watch YouTube How-to’s, and really all of the directions before beginning, and plan ahead. And, get some fun socks to rock.
Kelsey: Don’t underestimate yourself. Stop dreaming of it and just start doing it. Don’t let tiling scare you, it’s always easier than you think. You never know where you’ll end up. You might like it.
Thanks to Kelsey + Ryan for giving us a behind-the-scenes look at their winning renovation. We asked them now that they’ve won where are they going on their dream vacation, and while most people say Disney World, they already work there so they opted for a trip to Italy next year.
With another season in the books, we are so thankful to all our participants for allowing us to be part of their homes and for offering insight and encouragement for those thinking about taking on their first or next tile project.
Join the next season of the Renovation Challenge, apply here. Space is limited.