HGTV Stars Share Stories About Their Childhood Homes

Their childhood homes were their original influences. HGTV Magazine gets the HGTV pros to spill all their best design memories.

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Mina Starsiak Hawk, Good Bones

“My room in our home in Indianapolis, Indiana, had bunny and flower wallpaper and was covered in show ribbons from horseback riding competitions. When I moved out, my little brother Stephen repainted the room blue and red. I didn’t help with that decision! But I did redo the first floor during season one of my show.”

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Steve & Leanne Ford, Restored by the Fords

“When we were growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, our family room was my favorite,” Steve says, “with its cathedral ceiling and an Oriental rug that had been passed down. Now I have it.” As for Leanne, her design passions date back to an appliance makeover at age 10: “I wanted to paint our avocado green fridge white,” she says. “Dad worried I’d ruin a perfectly good appliance, but when he went on a ski trip, Mom and I painted that ugly thing. Dad never said a word!”

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Luke Caldwell, Boise Boys

“My childhood home in Boise, Idaho, was very classic inside. All the original trim and wood features were intact, including the hardwood floors. I’m so thankful my parents kept its charm. I try to do the same in my designs.”

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Brian Kleinschmidt, 100 Day Dream Home

“My earliest decorating memory is begging my mom and dad to let me have wallpaper in my bedroom in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. I chose abstract animals in primary colors. In hindsight, it was hideous. I’m surprised they were able to sell the house with that wallpaper!”

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Lyndsay Lamb & Leslie Davis, Unsellable Houses

“During elementary school, our family lived in our grandparents’ place in Everett, Washington,” Lyndsay says. “It was a ranch-style home and it had a great secret room under the basement stairs with a dirt floor, once used for canning.” Adds identical twin sister Leslie, “We kept blankets there and journals to write our big plans in. We were total dorks!”

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Orlando Soria, Unspouse My House

“The house I grew up in is in Yosemite National Park, where my parents worked. When I was around 9, they let me paint the upstairs bathroom pink with teal trim. I immediately regretted it, but I learned that mistakes can be fixed, and I repainted it beige. I love that my parents let me play around — it’s the reason I got so good at making design decisions.”

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Tiffany Brooks, HGTV Smart Home 2020

“I created a pink palace in our family’s North Chicago, Illinois, home as a teen. I’d always been obsessed with the Brady Bunch girls’ bedroom, so I picked a pink wallpaper for mine — and pink bedding, carpet and drapes.”

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Erin Napier, Home Town

“My parents’ house is eight minutes away from mine in Laurel, Mississippi. Mama has always had a wall of ancestry, the first gallery wall I’d ever seen. It inspired me in a huge way because it’s interesting and truly meaningful. A hallmark of my designs is to include a wall of family history.”

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