Meet Kirsten Meehan and Lindsey Uselding, the Heroes and Hosts of ‘Renovation 911’
The sisters share their emergency restoration expertise in the all-new HGTV series.
Sisters and business partners, Kirsten Meehan and Lindsey Uselding, are no strangers to emergency situations. The duo owns an emergency restoration business in Minneapolis and are some of the first people to respond after homeowners report damages caused by an unexpected disaster.
“Whenever you call your insurance company because something bad happens, that’s when we come into play,” says Kirsten.
Come March 28 at 9|8c, these two are bringing their restoration expertise to HGTV in a new series, Renovation 911 (available to stream on discovery+ same day). Ahead, learn more about the sisters. Learn how they got into the industry, what it’s like working with family, their craziest renovation stories and more.
Emergency Restoration Is In a League of Its Own
Unlike average home restoration projects that involve months of planning and saving, emergency restoration is a fast, unexpected and emotional experience. Kirsten and Lindsey deal with not only rebuilding homes but rebuilding their clients’ lives.
“Normally a remodel is something you build yourself and your family up for and you have an idea of what’s going to take place,” says Lindsey. “With an emergency, it's something you didn't expect. Our clients weren’t planning for their kitchen to be completely ruined or to not have a working bathroom. These are clients who are really vulnerable because they experienced a challenging event.”
“Our clients really need our help. It's not an instance of wanting a new beautiful home. It's a necessity,” says Kirsten.
Rescue Renovations Are a Family Affair
Kirsten and Lindsey’s dad, Ted Brinkman, is the reason the sisters got into emergency restoration. He was the partial owner of Ungerman, a company specializing in emergency restoration, and ended up passing a portion of the business down to his daughters.
“Our dad was the first employee with Ungerman in 1977. He really has been in the business his whole career, and we’ve been going to job sites with him since we were little,” says Lindsey. “Emergencies happen any time of the day or night, and he'd be like, ‘All right girls, we gotta go.’ We’ve seen it for a long time.”
Kirsten is the Construction Wiz and Lindsey is All About Business
After watching her dad, Kirsten knew she was destined to join him in emergency restoration, but it took a little convincing for Lindsey.
“I worked in the field during high school and college summers doing demos and painting, however I never thought I'd own a construction company until Lindsey came on board,” says Kirsten. “She’s all things business, and I’m more on the job site and in the weeds.”
“My dad said [the business] had a leadership role [open] and asked me if I ever had an interest in coming into a small business,” says Lindsey. “So I made a pros and cons list and decided to leave my job in corporate America. I told my dad I’d give it three years, and three years later Kirsten and I were confident we could run the business ourselves.”
You Won’t See One Design Style in Every House
Unlike other HGTV shows — where touches of the designer’s own style can be seen in every reveal — these hosts have to stick to a strict guide. After damages to a home due to an emergency situation, insurance only pays to match what the room looked like before and nothing more.
“Because we are doing insurance repairs, we have to design back to how it was or how the homeowners want to pay extra for it to be,” says Kirsten.
“It makes the reveals all so different,” adds Lindsey. “You won't see one style incorporated into every home. We have to emulate each home’s style.”
They Want to Stop Emergencies Before They Happen
Which is why they recently created their new business, Practical Home, an online guide that provides “savvy solutions for your home.” Kirsten and Lindsey post quick tips on Instagram (via @practicalhomeofficial) for both new and seasoned homeowners about things like fire prevention, plumbing problems and winter storm cleanup.
“One of the first things clients ask us is if there is anything they could’ve done to prevent this, and that’s where Practical Home comes in,” says Lindsey.
“It’s cool for us because we’ve always reacted to disasters and emergencies, but it’s awesome to create this new company to prevent these disasters,” says Kirsten. “Not all of them, of course, because accidents still happen, but it gave us this eye-opening experience.”
Their Dad Is Their Ultimate Expert
Since he’s the reason the sisters got into emergency restoration, Ted’s a main character on the show and the first resort when Kirsten and Lindsey need some advice. “He’s our go-to expert,” says Kirsten. “He’s a ball of energy, and we all get along so well — so to bring him in and be part of this has been pretty awesome. He handed down this business to us and taught us everything we know.”
They’ve Seen Some Crazy Stuff
There are regular damages from storms, fires and flooding, then there are the incidents that Kirsten and Lindsey don’t see everyday — like a car sitting in the middle of a client’s living room after it crashed during a high speed chase. When the sisters arrived at the scene shortly after the crash, they found a giant hole in the middle of the house and oil and gas everywhere.
“We got there and the car had just been pulled out, but the homeowner was so wonderful for having this terrible thing happen in the middle of the night. He was so happy to see us and was like, ‘OK, I needed some action in my life!’” says Kirsten. “He just wanted his home back to normal and his fireplace back because that’s the reason he bought his home.”
Roles Reverse Later In the Season
After a hail storm and tornadoes sweep through the twin cities, Lindsey goes from being a business owner to a client after damages to her own family’s home.
“It’s very different being on the other side,” says Lindsey. “I had to file a claim with my insurance agent, and normally I'm walking the clients through that. Having Kirsten, though, was so nice because she guided me through the next steps and gave me ideas on what I had the opportunity to change in my own house.”
Kirsten and Lindsey Have Experience With the Spotlight
They grew up as dancers who spent most of their childhood performing on stage and have naturally energetic and funny rapport. “I never realized that we could do this at the level we’re doing it now. The positive feedback that we have been getting is so nice and so amazing,” says Lindsey. “We’ve just been energetic our whole lives,’” says Kirsten.
In the End, It’s All About Helping Families In Need
“We love getting to show people that even though a really bad situation happened, there is a silver lining and you get something better in the end,” says Kirsten. “We get to help our clients overcome this hurdle of heartache and, in the end, are able to surprise them with a beautiful home they never thought they could have.”
Renovation 911 premieres on HGTV March 28 at 9|8c and will be available to stream on discovery+ same day.Keep up with Kirsten and Lindsey on Instagram at @kirstmeehan and @lindsey.uselding. Follow their business, @practicalhomeofficial, for even more disaster prevention tips.