Tube Talk: Addicted to ‘Rehab Addict’

By Paula Hendrickson
Contributing Writer

It’s not that often my sister discovers a good TV show before I do, but that happened quite a while back when she asked, “Have you seen Rehab Addict?”

I hadn’t. But DIY just happened to be airing back-to-back (to back!) episodes of it that weekend, and I was hooked.

No, it’s not a reality show about a semi-celebrity who can’t seem to stop landing in rehab. The show follows the self-taught home rehabber (and flipper) Nicole Curtis as she saves and restores old, neglected — and often condemned — homes to their former glory. She doesn’t go the easy route by gutting the houses and making them all shiny and new inside. She restores as much original detail as possible. When something is too far gone to reuse, she replaces it with a salvaged item in a similar style.

Anyone who appreciates older homes and architecture would love this series because, unlike a lot of home repair shows, Rehab Addict isn’t about “upgrading” and modernizing old homes, it’s about saving them for future generations.

It’s inspiring to see someone so dedicated to preserving the beauty and integrity of century-old (and older) homes that she has literally taken houses thought to be beyond repair — even slated for demolition — and made them structurally sound enough to last another 100 years.

Did I mention she makes them beautiful, too? Curtis has an exquisite sense of design.

The first four seasons of Rehab Addict aired on DIY because Curtis is a hands-on rehabber who rips out unoriginal cabinets and has pulled pine planks up from an attic floor and reused them on the main level, and DIY is a hands-on kind of channel. But the show tested so well on DIY’s sister network, HGTV — which generally tends to focus more on ideas and inspiration than action — that starting this season, Rehab Addict is officially an HGTV series. After all, not only does Curtis inspire viewers that they can refurbish their own old house, but that even some of the most neglected structures can be saved.

Curtis works in and around Minneapolis and her hometown of Detroit, but some of the homes she’s saved are in the same type of condition as most of the Rockford-area homes currently earmarked for demolition. I know some of those are truly beyond repair, but I still wish the city would get creative and sell some of those abandoned or condemned properties for $1 each to rehabbers willing to put in the effort to bring them up to code, move in, and increase property values. It’s not a big risk, and sure beats paying thousands of dollars to rip everything down. Besides, if the rehabbers can’t make the home habitable, the city can always raze it later. If they do that, maybe the city can even entice Curtis to come to town and show Rockford rehabbers how it’s done.

If you haven’t already seen Rehab Addict, HGTV is running a mini-marathon of past episodes leading up to Thursday’s season five premiere. If you live in an older home, or just like watching people swing hammers, you’ll like it.

Programming note

Season five of Rehab Addict premieres at 8 p.m. Central, Thursday, Oct. 2, on HGTV.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Follow her on Twitter at P_Hendrickson and send your suggestions to

From the Oct. 1-7, 2014, issue

6 thoughts on “Tube Talk: Addicted to ‘Rehab Addict’

  • Oct 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    I love that show, Nicole Curtis is what I wish I was for my old house. She is the only rehabber I “know” who really can make a house sing of it’s past while being comfortable for the 21st century. I wish she could come by my house and start a new show about helping homeowners do rehabs of their houses they are going to keep! I think mine would greatly benefit. Thanks Paula and Nicole!

  • Oct 2, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Why does Nicole Curtis, HGTV Rehab Addict, feel the need to have body parts hanging out (i.e., her chest) and at a construction site, no less? She looks so cheap, tacky, desperate.

  • Oct 2, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Why does Nicole Curtis, HGTV Rehab Addict, feel the need to wear low-cut tops that expose cleavage at a construction site? She is obviously an intelligent woman, but dressing this way projects the wrong image.

  • Oct 2, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Why did Jeanie on I Dream of Jeanie show her belly button??!? Omg, Nicole Curtis is showing some skin… oh no… Where’s the FCC?

  • Oct 2, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    You’ve got me laughing, Jack. But I’m also wondering how/why two different people before you posted almost the exact same comments just a couple of minutes apart?

    And Lisa, if Nicole ever does an episode in someone’s home and chooses yours, I want a behind-the-scenes scoop.

  • Oct 13, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Even though i’m a male,it’s great seeing a female on the top of her game.Watching her show gives me new prospective on reno’s.I’ve done my first dumpster dive couple days ago where i got a dresser which i will refinish for a basement apartment.I’m your greatest fan and hope to meet you some day,Thank you Nicole.

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