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Home show makeover pro
Home show makeover pro

You want to remodel an unused formal living room or enlarge a patio, but you're not quite sure how to go about it.

You have questions. Kristin Wells '97 has the answers. And fortunately, viewers of HGTV need only tune in to her show, Smart Fix, which debuted in October, to tap into her vast knowledge of construction.

In each episode of the Thursday morning, half-hour series, Wells, an expert contractor, steps in to help home-owners who think their home improvement projects are too tough to tackle by showing them that, with the right approach and materials, it's easier than they think.

Wells, who lives in and films her program in Charlotte, N.C., was born and raised in Greensboro, N.C., in a "do-it-yourself family," she says. At 21, she followed a boyfriend to Portland, where she completed her degree in marketing and advertising at PSU, with an eye toward going into sports marketing.

While waiting tables, Wells was offered a job as a sales representative for West Coast Paper Co., which she ended up loving and did for five years. After spending a decade in Portland, she moved back to North Carolina to be closer to family after 9/11.

She worked in sales for a design and home-remodeling company, shadowed contractors for no pay during her off hours, and then started her own remodeling company. Then an acquaintance heard that a TV producer was looking to cast a show featuring women in construction, and told him about Wells.

She landed on the cable show Homemakers, where she helped restore a century-old house. After that network folded, the National Association of Home Builders "picked me up, and we took the idea to HGTV," she says.

Wells, who is married with a 2-year-old daughter, hopes Smart Fix will draw viewers and that HGTV will renew it for a second season. But she's not taking anything for granted and is shopping the show to other networks. "You always have to look for something and be proactive."

By Cliff Collins