Local contractor featured on debut DIY TV show

  • Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Provided The Summerville house above will be featured on a new renovation TV show, “American Rehab,” on the DIY channel.

Photos

“American Rehab: Charleston,” a new television show featuring home renovations from across the country, with this edition focused on the Charleston area, debuts Thursday night on DIY Network at 11 p.m.

The show will feature local contractor and self-described freelance home renovator Trent Fasnacht and a 107-year-old house he has been restoring in Summerville.

The house, located on Simmons Avenue in the Germantown neighborhood, is a Victorian country cottage that has fallen into disrepair over the years.

Viewers will see, for the first time, the results of Fasnacht’s careful and loving renovation.

Fasnacht, who has been restoring old houses for many years, said he is excited about the show and especially pleased that the producers chose to showcase the Charleston area — and especially Summerville — for the first show.

“We’re very excited about it,” Fasnacht said. “It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been more fun than I even imagined, too. I’m having the time of my life!”

Fasnacht said he was first approached by the network in October 2013; they had several discussions and by April 2014 camera crews were in Summerville.

“I can’t really say exactly how it all started,” he said. “I have a blog about renovating old houses, Blood, Sweat and Pigs Ears (bloodsweatandpigsears.blogspot.com), that I’ve been writing for several years. I suppose the right people read it and decided to get in touch with me.”

Fasnacht said he has renovated houses that no one else wanted – abandoned, damaged, even burned. He has some 28 years in the construction business and says he is hands on when it comes to his projects.

“I’ll get outside help on some things, but for the most part I do everything,” he said. “The trick is not so much the work itself but choosing the right project for me. It’s much more a labor of love than a money maker.”

Fasnacht said he has run into many surprises over the years, from sleeping wildlife to interesting artifacts. He has more than 500 marbles he has found from all the old houses he has renovated over the years.

Once, he said, he found a set of military dog tags owned by a World War II veteran; he was able to contact the soldier’s widow, meet her, return the tags, and spend some time getting to know the family, and ultimately, the history of the house.

He said he is especially pleased to note that people in the neighborhoods in which he finds his “pigs ears” are happy that he is restoring the homes.

“The neighbors are happy that people are working on these houses – the houses are part of the character and the history of the place and the people don’t want to see them torn down or destroyed,” he said. “They were especially happy about this one – it was built in 1906 and they were worried it was going to be torn down.”

“American Rehab: Charleston” is similar to DIY’s popular “Rehab Addict” show starring Nicole Curtis, a Minnesota-based contractor who restores old houses. In fact, fans of that show will probably recognize some of the names in the credits of “American Rehab: Charleston,” Fasnacht said.

“I’ve actually been working with the same people who produce “Rehab Addict,” and “American Rehab: Charleston” will be airing the premiere right in the middle of ‘Rehab Addict,’” he said.

Fasnacht said he has never met Curtis, but said she once commented on his blog, which may have been the catalyst for other network people to read it.

Fasnacht said that while he will essentially be the host of this show, he does not know if any others will follow. He is pleased to have been chosen to do it and has had much fun doing it, but ultimately he is about his work, Fasnacht said.

“I’m just a guy who loves old houses,” he said. “I love what I’m doing, I didn’t need or want to work for other people anymore, so I went to do my thing and am happy for it,” he said.

“American Rehab: Charleston” airs at 11 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28 on DIY Network.

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