Reality Bites…and Pays Bills

With cream pillars adorning a spacious front patio, the boxy brick house at 325 W. Hubbard St. appears cheerfully inviting. Inside, though, it’s a fixer-upper’s nightmare: decades of neglect, sagging wallpaper and asbestos problems.  House TV set

Viewers can follow the step-by-step renewal of the 103-year-old Victorian Village home as it receives up to $500,000 in cutting-edge updates on the new show Ohio Home & Garden, airing Saturdays on WSYX (Channel 6). The 24-episode season kicked off in early March, and archived episodes are available online.

 “It’s like watching HGTV, but with local people you know,” said Joshua Porter, the show’s executive producer. 

Ohio Home & Garden is the brainchild of 30-year-old Porter and his Columbus-based company, I’AMedia Productions. The goal is to inform homeowners — and future buyers — about local companies and products available for home improvement. 

More importantly, though, the show strives to entertain, Porter said. Each episode is packed with advice on topics like home buying, design or financing, and fun-loving host Bryce Jacob adds some comic relief to the mix. 

O.H.G. TV host Bryce JacobsWhile most home-improvement shows highlight separate projects in various locales, Ohio Home & Garden covers the entire process of buying, remodeling and selling a single house.

“What I like is that it’s one home over the whole season,” said Jacob, who’s also vice president of Dave Fox Remodeling.

With the goal of completely reinventing the Hubbard Street home and garden in three to four months, there’s much work to be done. The kitchen has been demolished and the windows replaced, but much of the inner workings, like plumbing and electricity, still need to be updated. The home’s exterior will be carefully restored, but retrofitting the interior for modern tastes has proven trickier.To overcome some of the problems associated with American Foursquare-style homes, the plan is to install a bathroom on the lower level, increase the size of the master bedroom and, most challenging, get heat and electricity to the third floor.

When the dust clears, the three-bedroom house will feature zoned temperature control, radiant tile floors, stylish concrete countertops and an array of high-end appliances. It will also boast a climate-controlled wine cellar in the rustic, exposed-stone basement. And Oakland Nursery will help revitalize the dreary backyard with a brick-bordered garden. TV producer and Videographer Joshua Porter

While Porter doesn’t consider himself a handyman, he jokingly predicts that by the end of the Ohio Home & Garden season, “I could probably build my own house.”

Story & Photos By Bryan Bullock