Nicole Curtis Opens Up About Her 'Rehab Addict' Spinoff, 'Lake House Rescue'
Here's all the cool stuff you can expect to see in the spinoff.
Fans of home renovator and preservationist Nicole Curtis will be excited to hear she’s about to debut a new, three-episode series, Rehab Addict: Lake House Rescue, coming to HGTV on November 3, 2022, at 9/8c. Viewers get to follow Nicole as she renovates the Lake Orion, Michigan, vacation home she bought for her family eight years ago. Known for restoring old homes back to their former glory, Nicole applies her usual methodology when it comes to transforming the 1904 cottage. “I wanted to create a light, breezy lake house and thought it would be easy,” she said during an episode. “Yet this was the most challenging and expensive build of my career. In the end, it will be some of my most meaningful work because I now have a place to make happy memories with my family and friends.”
Ahead, Nicole shares her thoughts on what makes her home — and the show — so special. Here’s what you'll get to see during Rehab Addict: Lake House Rescue.
1. You’ll Get to See Nicole Purchase Her Cottage Without Ever Stepping Foot on the Property
“Everyone thinks I’m a moron for saving this little shack — especially because I purchased it in 2014, sight unseen,” she said. “The photos online looked intact. It was basically an eighties redo. There was drywall, beadboard and MDF — all the stuff I hate in an old house. So, I stripped it down and started the rebuild.”
2. You’ll Get to See How Long It Took Her to Complete the Reno
Eight years! Nicole felt there wasn’t any project she couldn’t tackle — until she got to this one. “When I purchased this little lake house, I thought renovating it would be a breeze,” she said. “Little did I know the house I saved from demolition would take eight years to complete. I was so afraid of making a mistake with this cottage because I knew I was going to keep it forever.”
Nicole and Bobby Prothero, her lead builder and partner, started working together the second summer after she purchased the house. Then life threw them both curveballs. “My grandparents’ health was declining, so I wanted to be with them," said Nicole. "Bobby’s daughter, Tessa, was going through cancer treatment, so he wanted to be with her. There was so much going on that building the lake house wasn’t a priority for us ... But with the help of my crew, the lake house has finally crossed the finish line.”
3. You’ll Get to See the Unusual Way Nicole Expanded Her House
The cottage was just 700 square feet when Nicole purchased it. To make more space, she lifted the house, excavated the soil, poured a new foundation, created a first floor and basement and — get ready for this — took the existing cottage and made it the second and third floors of the house. “I took the original house and jacked it up 15 feet in the air so I could build a brand-new basement and first-floor level before dropping the original cottage back onto the new first floor,” Nicole explained.
4. You’ll Get to See How Nicole Enters Her Bedroom (It’s Not Through a Door!)
“The thing that drew me to this house was all the original features,” Nicole said. “The hatch door to my main bedroom has to be the most magical part of the house. Most people would rip it out and put in a real door, but who needs a real door when you can have a hatch?” The room’s beautiful roof boards, which were discovered after ripping out the drywall, complement the ceiling’s collar ties and the 100+-year-old repurposed fir wall planks. New skylights and windows brighten up the space, and a porch off the bedroom creates a spot for Nicole to relax when the house is full of people. “My third-floor bedroom is now this beautiful sanctuary,” she said.
5. You’ll Get to Watch Nicole Complete Some Pretty Creative Projects
Nicole got extra creative while designing the cottage. Case in point: She took an old boat and recycled it into a bed for her boys’ room. “It was like building Noah’s ark in the tiniest room ever,” she said. Nicole also made use of a door her son Ethan painted as a child in their first home. She even built a dreamy treehouse outside, complete with skylights, a bright red door and a pulley-and-rope system (designed to bring items up from the ground in an old wooden bucket). All the materials were salvaged, from the hardwood flooring to the windows to an antler from Ethan’s grandfather.
6. You'll Get to See Nicole Use Antique Items She’s Been Collecting for Years
Nicole takes viewers to Eastern Market, one of her favorite spots to find cool and unique home items, but she also reveals she’s been stockpiling architectural pieces for the cottage specifically, including a stained-glass window she calls, “the shining piece in my bedroom.” Another cool touch: an antique gold-and-white fireplace mantel she had in storage, which needed to be stripped of layers of old paint before making its way into the living room. The front door, which had been waiting for a home for 11 years, makes Nicole emotional. “This is the house for that door; this is a decade of everything coming together,” she said.
7. You’ll Get to See Nicole Beautify the Home’s Exterior
It’s no surprise Nicole’s finished home features her signature white picket fence. “In all my houses, you’ll see white picket fencing,” she said. “It just makes me feel a little happier.” She also added a metal roof and an Amish-built wraparound veranda, transported to her cottage via horse and carriage. But it’s the veranda’s railings, with fretwork created by Jeff, the carpenter, that really make Nicole smile. “These little moments put me back on track,” she said. Add in a backyard fire pit, beautiful hydrangea plantings and vintage bricks (taken from the interior of the house), and you’ll agree with Nicole when she says the house “looks like a million bucks.”
8. You’ll Get to Watch Nicole Marry the Old Part of the House With the New
The biggest design challenge Nicole came up against was incorporating the new part of the house with the old cottage. “I didn’t want anyone walking into the first floor and being like, ‘This is a new house.’ I wanted them to think they’re in the original cottage,” she said. A large kitchen, living room, half bath and laundry room all live on the first floor, along with a staircase made to match the one in Nicole’s Detroit home. “The staircase had to look old or everyone would see where we chopped the house,” she said. “With its leaded-glass tulip windows and schoolhouse banister, it turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the house.”
9. You’ll Get to Watch Nicole Do Something She Swore She’d Never Do
“I’ve removed so much wallpaper that I’ve said I would never ever put wallpaper in a house,” noted Nicole, who hired someone to wrap the walls of her basement in a map of Lake Orion. “On the map, you can see the church where I was baptized.” Viewers will also get to see how Nicole wallpapered her main bathroom in a green tropical fan print.
10. You’ll Get to See the Cool Bar in Nicole’s New Basement
“For some people, a basement is just storage space — especially at a lake house — but I knew the romantic side of this cottage was going to be the basement bar,” Nicole said. “It was no small feat working the cabinets and the countertops into the basement’s hexagonal shape.”
11. You’ll Get to See Nicole’s Design and Construction Mistakes
Not everything was smooth sailing: The antique bed Nicole envisioned for the main bedroom was too large for the space. As well, she had to replumb freshly laid pipes in a bathroom to make space for a forgotten medicine cabinet. “I never know what works until I have something in place,” she said. “I’m a visual planner and sometimes you have to bring something in and take it out or move it around before making a final decision.”
12. You’ll Get to See Nicole Run in a Marathon and Water-Ski
For years, Nicole has been running with the Achilles Freedom Team, a group of wounded military members. While filming, she ran in the Detroit marathon with co-workers Larry and Bobby. “It was Bobby’s first run. He was nervous and excited at the same time,” Nicole said. Bobby admits on camera Nicole pushed him to enter the race. “While running, I was thinking about my daughter Tessa (who passed away in 2017) and what she went through. The pain I was in was nothing like the pain she was in.” Nicole and Bobby also spend time on the lake water-skiing, which highlighted Nicole’s athletic skills. “She did amazing,” said Bobby.
13. You’ll Get to See How Happy Nicole Is With Her Completed Home
“Everything I ever imagined when I first stepped foot in this home years ago is now here,” said Nicole. “I wanted to take my wildest design dreams and work with my team to build them. I’ve reached my goal of creating something very unique and memorable, reworking the original spaces of this 1904 cottage into the living spaces for my family.”
Rehab Addict: Lake House Rescue coming to HGTV on November 3, 2022, at 9/8c.