While the notion of a married duo in real estate is not new to HGTV, Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt are truly something else. Brian is the developer and Mika is the realtor, and together they help clients design and build their dream homes on their show “100 Day Dream Home.” The Tampa, Florida-based couple use their respective skills in home designing and building to give their clients a brand new home in 100 days or less (via HGTV). Think it’s impossible? You’re going to have to watch the show to see it for yourself — after all, they’ve got two whole seasons of testimony (with a third on the way) to back them up (per Deadline).
The List sat down with Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt via Zoom to talk all about the upcoming season of their show, how life has changed since the start of “100 Day Dream Home,” and even the adorable way that they met. They even were kind enough to share some truly valuable house-owning and designing tips with us that you’re not going to want to miss.
Brian, Mika, and their young daughter have been busy this summer
What are you guys busy with when you’re not working? What do you usually spend your days doing?
Mika: Oh man, we both stay pretty active.
Mika: Basketball for Brian, paddling for me. We love to be outdoors, spend time with our daughter. Two more weeks of summer before school starts again, which is crazy. But we just built our house, so we’ve been in our new home for maybe five months so a lot of our time is spent just working on the house and trying to enjoy it.
Brian: And I don’t know if you saw the Season 2 finale, which was our episode, our house, but our daughter really wanted a pool and I was kind of fighting the pool. I’ve been enjoying the pool more than the girls have.
Brian: And then of course, Mika surprised us with that awesome boat, so we’ve been enjoying the lake. But yeah, I mean, we work hard, but we play harder.
That’s excellent. That’s really funny. I remember being a kid and begging my dad for a pool and then he used it more than we did as well. So I don’t know what it is about dads.
Well, that sounds like you guys are having a really nice summer.
This is the adorable way that Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt met
I read that you met in high school, but it wasn’t really until years later that you kind of came back to each other. What was your first impression of one another in high school? Can you remember?
Brian: They’re a little bit different.
Mika: That’s a deep one.
Brian: Do you want to hear my first impressions of Mika or her first impression of me?
Brian: Why don’t you go first?
Mika: What? You were a funny guy. Senior year high school was unique for me because I was a military brat, so I went to four different high schools. So senior year, I’m just like, I’m checked, I just want to finish school, whatever. And yeah, he was just kind of like Mr. Popular, making everybody laugh, look at me, look at me. And I was so the opposite. I sat by myself at lunch. I didn’t want, I literally —
Brian: I invited her to lunch every day and she said, “I’d rather sit alone.”
Mika: I literally was just there to get the grades and be done. I was done, right? And so, which is weird because I’m totally different now. So my first impression was just like, “Oh, this guy is so funny, everybody loves him.”
Brian: So it was love at first sight for me, but it took a little bit longer to convince her. But gosh, yeah. I was gaga over her. I could not even talk around her in high school. I was crazy for her.
And you had no idea that he was, that he felt that way about you?
Mika: I mean, honestly, I don’t think it was like really a thing. I just … Because he always jokes. The thing with Brian, and you’ll notice it in the show, everything is a joke. And so I kind of just didn’t really take it seriously.
Brian: So I was so shy to ask her to homecoming. I had my friend do it on my behalf and she very politely said, “If Brian can’t get the nerve up to ask me, it’s a no.”
Mika: That’s true. I can’t respect that.
How much about you would you say has changed and how much is the same? And do you kind of still see those high school versions of each other in one another?
Mika: Yeah, I think that what changes is you just grow together. Obviously we were friends in high school, we had some classes together, so it wasn’t like that there wasn’t a friendship that was developed. It’s just about timing. You got to go through your journeys in life and sometimes figure out who you are before you can actually have a substantial relationship.
Brian: And even in high school, she used to type my papers, because I didn’t know how to type. And to this day, she still does all the paperwork.
What makes their relationship unique?
That’s really cute, you guys. So I mean, married couples working together on HGTV isn’t necessarily new, but I feel like your dynamic is a really unique one. What do you think it is about your relationship that is unique and that fans really love?
Brian: I think it’s because we keep it real. We show the good, the bad, and the ugly of working with your spouse. Doing these stressful projects, it can get stressful. We were actually just talking the other day though, what’s kind of interesting about Mika and I and kind of how the way we film our show and the kind of way we work is, we don’t film all the time with each other. So, I mean, if I’m doing a construction scene, she’s doing inspiration tours or design meetings. The only time I actually see what she was doing is when we watched the show together. So that’s kind of fun because we’re watching the first time what each other was doing.
Oh, that’s fun. Yeah, I was going to ask, do you watch your episodes back?
Mika: One time.
Brian: We honestly, we watched them one time, and that’s it.
Mika: Well, the thing is too, we’re actually part producers in our show. So one thing that’s unique is we can see the rough cuts in the preliminary before it goes on the air.
Mika: So by the time it airs, I mean, we’ve made notes.
Mika: And it is so kind of strange, even though we’re on our third season, it is kind of weird hearing your voice on TV. So yeah, we’ll usually watch it that first night obviously to help the ratings. And then we’re like, okay, because we lived it. We lived it.
Brian: What’s really strange is when we walk into the dentist office or I go get my oil changed and our episode’s airing, and I hear my voice on …
Oh my God.
Brian: Do I really sound like that? Ouch.
Do Brian and Mika get recognized in public?
That’s so funny. Do people recognize you a lot? Or can you go to the CVS without someone bombarding you?
Mika: It’s always positive and it’s so cool because there are such different age ranges, I have a 7-year-old that was like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve been …” So you have a spectrum of people from elementary school to seniors, and I love that we’re able to kind of connect with such a wide variety of people.
Brian: I had somebody after “Rock the Block” was airing, they came up to me and they said, “Hey, I really thought you and Jeremiah should’ve won.”
Oh my God.
Mika: You’re absolutely taller than he is.
Brian: Yeah, so yeah we do get recognized.
Brian: Can I mention a quick funny story? Can I tell a quick funny story?
Mika: I guess. I’m going to step away for two seconds.
Brian: She’s going to step away. This is so funny and you can put this on or you don’t have to.
Brian: But anyways, we were on a cruise and I had this lady came up to me and she’s like, “Where do I know you from? You look so familiar.” And I was like, “My wife and I have, we have a show on HGTV.” She said, “No. I don’t watch HGTV.” She said, “Man, I don’t know where I know you from.” And then all of a sudden, a light bulb went off, she said, “You sang karaoke last night.”
Oh my God. That’s … You’re the karaoke guy now. That’s what you’re known for.
I love that she’s like, “No, not HGTV. It’s not that, something else.” That’s great.
Brian and Mika tease the new season of 100 Day Dream Home
So what are some of your favorite parts about working with the couples that you get to work with and are there any that stand out in your mind?
Brian: Yeah, we’ve got some great ones for Season 3. And that’s one thing we’re really proud of is, as the show has been progressing from year to year, we’re really telling those stories, families deeper and deeper.
Brian: So we’ve got 10 great ones this season. I think we make sure that we’re having fun, our contractors or our production team are having fun. Want the families to enjoy this experience because it can get stressful along the way, but this is actually their life savings. This is their bill, this is their dream home. So we want to make sure we have a great time and we usually do.
Awesome. For the season that’s coming up, is there anything you can tell us about it? What can we expect?
Mika: Man, I think it’s going to be, like Brian said, I think that we’re now diving in more into the journey that leads up to that reveal. Where it started and —
Brian: Why they needed [the houses].
Mika: Yeah. So I think the storytelling is going to be a little bit more enhanced than you’ve seen in previous seasons. Of course, we’re highlighting different parts of Florida, so there’s some areas like South Tampa that we’re doing a build in, that we haven’t done in the past.
Mika: And then just, I think the theme that we’re seeing now is a lot of multi-generational kind of living, so —
Brian: Working from home.
Mika: Yeah. You’re going to see more of that.
Brian: Live, work, play, right at home.
The Kleinschmidts share some important home-related advice
And for those who don’t get the chance to be on your show, is there any kind of simple advice or tips and tricks that you can share for people to use in their own homes? I mean, what’s something that you think homeowners in general should know?
Mika: I think, well, it depends if we’re talking about a design aesthetic or everybody right now is bringing up renovating or remodeling, because you’re figuring now your house has to function for more than what it used to, I think. In a lot of cases, an office now is a classroom. It’s an office, classroom, slash everything. So I think functionality and durability are really important when you’re going to pick things. You don’t want something that, in two years from now, it’s just not going to stand the test of time.
Mika: So I think for us, it’s just because we like to have functionality in everything we do, but we also like low maintenance for the homeowner.
Brian: Yeah. And the thing is, mechanicals, it’s almost like a car, you’ve got to get your oil changed, so.
Brian: I mean, obviously replacing your air filters, keeping that fresh air in the house, cleaning your duct work, getting a reliable AC system. That’s why we partner with American Standard. They’re the best around, so. Especially being in Florida with the heat and humidity that we have, the house has to function properly. Yes, it has to look good, but it has to feel good as well. So yeah. I mean, I think we make sure that we put the best in every single home we’re working with because that’s what our clients deserve.
Brian and Mika discuss the biggest challenges and their favorite parts of their show
What do you think is one of the biggest challenges of working on your show and getting a house renovated in the time that you have?
Mika: So, with us, we’re starting from a blank canvas, so it is different than renovating and that’s kind of what sets our show apart from the others on HGTV. The challenge is really just orchestrating all the things that have to happen and sometimes we have to have multiple things happening in a day.
Brian: Yeah. That’s the only way to make it work is to have the electricians, the plumbers, the HVAC guys all there working at the same time. And luckily we have a great team that loves working at the same time. In other builds that would maybe take three weeks to get that job done because they don’t like working at the same time, but our guys don’t mind it. So we’re able to accomplish all that in three days. Another thing is materials, getting our materials ordered on the front end and really having a strategy and a game plan, you have to have that. I mean, we’re getting our orders in, as soon as they went for permitting, we’re putting most of our orders in because you have to. If you wait, these houses can take a year to build.
And what’s your favorite part of the process?
Mika: I mean, I think, well obviously the reveal, I mean —
Brian: Oh, the reveal. Obvious choice.
Mika: That’s definitely the favorite, but outside of that, I like doing the inspiration tours with the families because that’s when I really get to walk them through some spaces. We have a lot of fun, but I also kind of get to dig into their style and kind of figure out what they really, really want. So that’s what —
Brian: Or what they don’t want, right?
Brian: When they see something they don’t like. It’s kind of a tie for me. I love doing the special projects, especially when my dad and our daughter Jade are involved, but landscaping, I love getting my hands dirty. Maybe I like landscaping because it means that we’re almost done with the project. But I mean, just transforming that barren, empty exterior into a beautiful, luscious oasis. I mean, landscaping can do so much and it’s a lot of, a lot of times, people, they don’t spend the money on landscaping like they should.
Mika: Yeah. Curb appeal.
Brian: Curb appeal is key. I would say, besides the mechanicals in the house, curb appeal is key for increasing your value and first impression. So, landscaping’s a lot of fun for me. I love doing it.
Have things changed for the couple since the start of 100 Day Dream Home?
How would you say that your lives have changed since Day One of shooting your show?
Brian: We’re very strange. It really hasn’t.
Brian: Yes, we get recognized, but sometimes we’ll, I’ll look behind you and they’re like, “Me?” But we’re still the same people. We work just as hard as we always have. I mean, I still get my clothes from Walmart. No, we just, I mean, I think we’re sustainable no matter what. So that’s kind of what keeps us working hard and the drive.
Mika: Yeah. The biggest thing that we appreciate and just we are who we are on camera and off camera. People that know us personally and say that and I’m like, “How else would I be? I only know how to be Mika.” And so, hopefully I think people appreciate that because we really do just genuinely we try to keep —
Brian: We try to keep it real on camera, no script to stage anything, so whatever happens in real life is just kind of what happens.
Mika: Good and bad sometimes.
Brian: Opportunities are coming, which are awesome. Like the partnership with American Standard, that’s a dream partnership for us. And we’re already using them in our builds anyways, so it just made sense. But yeah, we just, we’ll keep it real for as long as we have to, and if not, Mika will bring me back down to earth, knock on the head.
Do you get a lot of your friends asking for real estate advice or interior design advice, or do you go to your friend’s house and move things around?
Brian: I do it at my parents’ house.
Mika: Oh yes. Of course we have, yeah. It’s great because I think the show has created a platform of credibility for us now. And so it’s kind of flattering that people really will, even if it’s just something little, but like, “Mika, what do you think about this?” Or whatever. And I’m like, “Well, what do you like?” But yeah, our opinions now matter a little bit more to people.
Brian: And I think it’s because we’ve been doing this long enough now where we’ve already made all the mistakes, so now everyone is asking us, they’re learning from our mistakes, which we’re fine with it.
Brian: No problem there.
Episodes of “100 Day Dream House” are available to watch on discovery+.
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