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First Home Stories From HGTV Stars

Even HGTV stars were once newbie homeowners, making design mistakes, blowing their budgets and facing down rodents. HGTV Magazine dives into exactly what they learned.

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Karrie Trowbridge: Bend, Oregon

"My husband, Patrick, and I got our first house back in 2002, in Bend, Oregon. It was a 1923 Craftsman in serious disrepair. Even though our budget was tight, we allocated funds to stay in a rental during the renovation, and I’m so glad we did. We had a major construction site—new windows, doors, wiring, roof, floors, the works—and two little boys on our hands.” Karrie Trowbridge, Mom & Me

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Photo: courtesy. From: HGTV Magazine.

Chenoa and David Rivera: Paradise, California

"We still live in the first house we bought together, in Paradise, California. It was a bank-owned property that was only 60% finished and rodent-infested. Our gut said the risk would be worth it, and it was.” —Chenoa and David Rivera, Rustic Rehab

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Alison Victoria: Chicago, Illinois

"By the time I became the owner of a historic home in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, it had been stripped of most of its original beauty, except for a walk-in vault, which I used as my shoe and handbag closet. Since it was a short sale, I bought quickly without considering everything that needed to be done. Lesson learned: Old houses have old problems." Alison Victoria, Windy City Rehab

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Photo: courtesy. From: HGTV Magazine.

Mina Starsiak: Indianapolis, Indiana

"I renovated my first place, in Indianapolis, top to bottom. I did a substantial chunk of it myself, including tiling the bathroom. Except I accidentally used both matte and glossy tiles and didn’t realize until after they were installed. Whoops! Unbox all your tile and check it first." —Mina Starsiak, Good Bones

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