Jonathan Knight hopes he can help people find the beauty in houses with a little bit of history. The former New Kids on the Block boy bander is bringing his decades of renovation experience and a heart for centuries-old New England farmhouses to his new HGTV show, Farmhouse Fixer, premiering Wednesday, March 3 at 9 p.m. ET. Knight opened up to PopCulture ahead of the show's debut about his fight to save these houses and turn them into a home — a "delicate balance" that requires a little finesse and a whole lot of heart.
Knight says the art of home renovation "runs deep in [his] veins," having grown up with his grandfather, father and uncles always working on one project or another. Now, having renovated more than 200 houses in his career, the HGTV star told PopCulture he's developed a deep love for old homes. "When I first started my home renovation business, we were doing a lot of condos and subdivisions and it just, to me, it just didn't feel right," he recalled, looking back at all the character and "Zen" of his first old house out in the country.
In Farmhouse Fixer, Knight is tasked with breathing new life into homes dating back to the 1700s with the help of designer and friend, Kristina Crestin, preserving the integrity and spirit of the original design with things like the original woodwork while adding things like functional kitchens and bathrooms that bring it up to code and make it livable.
"It's a delicate balance to make it work and still feel cozy and old," he explained. "I just think there's ... quirky things in old houses [that are] always fun that you have to find a way to work that quirkiness into the design and keep it nice." It's not an easy process, but one that's "all creative," Knight said. "I think that's really why I love doing it. To me, it's an art."
In a world that leaps on the newest and hottest trends, Knight hopes Farmhouse Fixer will help people realize the beauty around them. "I know I drive up and down the roads around my house and I see these big farms that they're now subdivisions, and then ... the old house is just sitting there, still falling down while all these brand new houses are around it," he shared. "We really have to preserve the past in architecture. I think too many people just ... new is better in their mind, and 95% of the time that's not true."
He continued, "I say houses built today, in 200 years, they'll probably be falling down and caved in. Where, you know, my neighborhood up here, we have houses that were built in the 1600s and they're still standing strong." Don't miss Knight's Farmhouse Fixer debut on Wednesday, March 3 at 9 p.m. ET on HGTV. For more on your favorite HGTV stars from PopCulture, click here.