One of Instagram's most charming home accounts is making the leap to HGTV. Cheap Old Houses, based on the social media phenomenon of the same name, may have started as a "little labor of love" by married couple Ethan and Elizabeth Finkelstein, but it's turned into something so much more for the community that has formed around it.
Ahead of Cheap Old Houses' Monday, Aug. 9 premiere, Ethan and Elizabeth Finkelstein opened up to PopCulture about how their shared love of old homes has taken them all over the country searching for surprising hidden gems for under $150,000 and changed the lives of so many people.
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"I mean, this just started as a little labor of love and to some extent, it is still just a little labor of love," Elizabeth explains. The couple "almost can't conceptualize" that their Instagram account is now followed by almost 1.7 million people and helped more than 100 people buy homes of the feed. Now, with the HGTV show, the two "just got to take a road trip around the country finding [their] favorite people," teaching viewers about what kind of inexpensive houses are out there and what the architecture means for properties that need a little extra attention.
With Elizabeth's background as a historic preservationist and 3D graphic renderings, the Finkelsteins are able to imagine what restorations would look like on some of the less polished homes, and they'll be able to see the end product of several restored houses that they previously featured on their Instagram account.
Elizabeth recalls receiving a note from someone who had purchased a home they featured on their account thanking her and her husband for changing their life. "We just had no idea the impact that we could have," she said. "And it's been extremely fulfilling to wake up every day and know that we're having this kind of impact for a cause we care very deeply about."
Showing real-life renovations on HGTV, Elizabeth and Ethan want to be "very authentic" with viewers about how this kind of process works out. "You know, we're not doing really any staging or ... we're not making anything up," Elizabeth explains. "I mean, these are real people who have done this, and we hope it inspires other people to do it too because it's not as scary as it may seem."
Cheap Old Houses premieres Monday, Aug. 9, with back-to-back episodes at 9 and 9:30 p.m. ET on HGTV. In addition to airing on HGTV, the first four episodes of Cheap Old Houses are available to stream on discovery+ now. Two new episodes of the show will drop early Monday on the streamer through Aug. 30.