Amy Matthews' Tips: Renovate Like a Pro

Whether you're on a time crunch or planning out your next big project, the Renovation Raiders host shares her best been-there-done-that tips.

Advantages of Floating Floors

Amy gives the plus side of using floating floors as an affordable upgrade.

Before-and-After Transformations

Reno Raiders Video Highlights 7 Videos

Watch the crew beat the clock in these best-ever makeovers.

Reno Raiders Photos

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Dusty Blue Dining Room

As seen on HGTV's "Renovation Raiders," this dining room was transformed with a contemporary look. Dusty blue walls dominate, but a black table, white upholstered chairs and a white pendant shade keep the style crisp.

Living Room With Blue Wallpaper and Yellow Accents

This eclectic leaving room features blue vintage-style wallpaper and open wood shelving. The fireplace boasts a cottage-style white paneled surround with a gray mantel. Pops of yellow add fun, bright color to the space.

Photo By: Stephanie Rau / Getty Images ©2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Rustic Chic Living Room Renovation

As seen on HGTV's Renovation Raiders, this new space features retro-fitted window trim and all-new window treatments. The fireplace is restored so that it is once again wood-burning and is upgraded with a free-hanging mantel and cleaner look.

Renovation Raiders Kitchen

Rich dark cabinets stand out against a white countertop and backsplash. Stainless appliances and light fixtures that hint at industrial add a modern touch to this beautiful open kitchen.

Hiring the Wrong Contractor

"You need to make sure that the contractor is right for you, because he's going to be in your home, and you want to make sure it's the right contractor," Jeff says. Stephen Drucker, former editor in chief of House Beautiful adds, "When you interview contractors and check references, the thing you want to find out is, how fast do they return phone calls? A contractor who returns phone calls fast has nothing to hide, and it's going to reduce your anxiety level."

Mint Green Kitchen With Dark Brown Cabinets

This modern kitchen features dark wood cabinetry paired with mint green walls and a white subway tile backpslash. An industrial pendant light hangs over the stove area, while two additional ceiling fixtures also keep the space well-lit and cheery.

Country Chic Kitchen

This chic country kitchen has beautiful dark cabinetry that offsets the crisp white paneling and sea foam green walls. Modern meets Southern Victorian style with mismatched overhead lighting, a subway tile backsplash, stainless steel appliances, and a marble countertop.

Blue Living Room With Wood Accent Wall

As seen on HGTV's Renovation Raiders, this stunning living room has been transformed into a media-free oasis, which is contemporary with a rustic feel. The deep blue walls evoke relaxation, yet there are plenty of cozy elements, including several throw pillows and a pretty blue and white area rug.

HGTV's Renovation Raiders Kitchen Makeover

Replacing and relocating the appliances freed up this wall, adding to the new kitchen's more open and airy feel, as seen on HGTV's Renovation Raiders.

Industrial Light Fixture in Mint Green Kitchen

A crisp white subway tile backsplash offsets dark cabinetry in this kitchen featured on HGTV's Renovation Raiders. Large, metal pendant lighting adds an industrial look to the traditional room.

About the Host   

Amy Matthews

Beyond this licensed contractor's enviable set of do-it-yourself skills, she's also a certified personal trainer and actress.
All About Amy

About the Show

Imagine the crew from Ocean's Eleven are contractors, and instead of a heist they are pulling off a major remodel — all while the homeowners are out to dinner. Just like in every caper film, our crew will need intel, a warehouse to mock up and practice the job, and time at the site without getting caught. Those homeowners better eat slow and order dessert!
Season 1, Episode 1

Kitchen with a View

The Renovation Raiders team takes on a cramped, dated kitchen. The 5-hour renovation includes a complete wall demolition and a brand new center island. The shocked homeowners are doubly thrilled now that they have a view from their lakeside home.

Tuesday
Jun 21
6:30am | 5:30c
Season 2, Episode 8

Creating a Speakeasy Pub in an Unused Basement

Amy and her team turn an unused and unfinished duplex basement into a hip Speakeasy pub, complete a bar, lager on tap and lounge area. The team is surprising John, whose sibling and roommate, Annie, wants to thank John for being such the rock of the family when their father suddenly passed away. John and Annie bought the duplex together so they could remain close. But John loves to entertain and the duplex had no room big enough to host their family and friends. So Amy and her team insulated the basement, added custom bookcases and sitting area on one side of the room, and a full-equipped bar on the other. But the crew faces one problem after another, as a sandblaster malfunctions, custom cabinets don't fit and the giant beer refrigerator seems to be bigger than the stairwell. Before the night is over everyone wonders whether the makeover will be finished before John returns home.

Tuesday
Jun 28
6:30am | 5:30c
Season 1, Episode 4

Zen Living Room

This time the Renovation Raiders have to tear down a load-bearing wall to redo a living room. But the crew comes through for the homeowners, and by the time the night is over there's a brand new staircase where there used to be a wall.

Tuesday
Jul 19
6:30am | 5:30c
Season 2, Episode 10

A Kitchen Proposal

Amy and her team raid a cramped kitchen, dining and living room, hoping to turn a bachelor pad into a family home. Travis is surprising his girlfriend Lun, with a kitchen renovation made even more special with a surprise marriage proposal! Amy plans a massive new space, worthy of the propoals. The teams starts by demo'ing the entire space, including taking out the claustrophobic kitchen walls and well-worn cabinets. In their place, new horizontal grain custom cabinets go in, along with stainless appliances, a solid surface resin countertop and a unique, eco-friendly backsplash made of coconut shells. All-new furniture gives the space the comfy yet modern vibe the couple likes. But will Lun love the kitchen and the marriage proposal?

Tuesday
Jul 26
6:30am | 5:30c
Season 2, Episode 1

Problem Kitchen

Amy and her team tackle a kitchen and dining disaster that hasn't been renovated since the 1960s, and is in desperate need of an overhaul. Newlywed Seth wants to surprise his wife Rose with a kitchen makeover since the room is such an eyesore and the couple won't be able to afford to reno the space for many years. With help from their friend, Ian, who acts as a spy, Seth keeps Rose away while Amy and her team reno the kitchen, dining room and living room. They create a retro-Scandinavian kitchen and living area that will match Seth and Rose's design style. The plan is for the crew to demo the entire kitchen, take down walls, add a new floating floor, cabinets, appliances, an island and all new furniture to create a dramatic and beautiful new space. But once installation begins, problems with the cabinet layout and oven installation slow them down and the team needs more than 6 hours to complete the build. Spy Ian runs out of ways to stall the couple and is forced to improvise in a way that leaves the crew wondering if they can finish the job.

Tuesday
Aug 9
6:30am | 5:30c
Season 2, Episode 2

Mediterranean Surprise

Amy and her team are asked to create a Mediterranean-inspired kitchen makeover in a home with builder-grade, boring design details. Homeowner Kevin wants to surprise his wife, Cathy, who sacrificed her career to be a stay at home mom to their two young children. Kevin has tried to updated the space on his own, but lacks the skills to give Cathy the kitchen of her dreams. With help from Cathy's best friend, Stephanie, who acts as a spy, Kevin takes Cathy and the kids away to the state fair for six hours while Amy and her team reno the space. The plan is to demo the entire kitchen, install all new cabinets with a Tuscan-styled island, new countertops, stone backsplash, new appliances and Mediterranean-inspired ceiling beams. But when demo reveals problems with the floor that delays the project, spy Stephanie must help Kevin get lost at the fair, to give the crew more time for the build. The extensive reno is in jeopardy if Cathy catches on to the plan, but the team trouble-shoots the problems in efforts to beat the clock, and the family's return home.

Tuesday
Aug 23
6:30am | 5:30c
Season 2, Episode 4

Kitchen Makeover Race

Amy and her team tackle a dull, dated kitchen for a family of four who crave more space to hang out together and entertain. Homeowner Greg, is surprising his wife Patty, who thought they were moving into a basic starter home 20 years ago, but after children arrived, they ended up staying. Patty's teenage daughter, Casey, got her dad on board for the makeover, and she will act as the spy while Greg takes his wife to dinner and a night at the horse track while Amy renos the space. The team will demo the entire kitchen and take down walls to create an open flow between the kitchen and living room. They will bring in new cabinets, fridge and dishwasher in the kitchen. In the living room, they will add a fireplace focal point, new flooring, paint and new furniture with the country chic decor Patty loves. But the fireplace and flooring have unexpected delays and spy Casey must come up with creative ways to delay her mother's return home at the end of the night. With a dramatic change in store, Patty has no idea her delays will be well worth it when she returns home.

Tuesday
Aug 30
6:30am | 5:30c
Season 2, Episode 6

Basement Media Room Reno

Homeowner Sara wants to surprise her husband, Michael, with a basement reno because he has sacrificed so much due to her health needs. After breaking her back, Sara needed to find a home without upstairs bedrooms, and moved into a ranch home that fit her needs. But her husband lost his beloved media room and office in the new house, and now has a peach-colored man cave and office area in the basement. With help from Michael's best friend, Jon, Sara gets her husband out of the house for six hours while Amy and her team renovate the basement. They're giving Michael an authentic theater space where he can watch movies and hang out with friends. The team demos the basement, installs a new header to create a bigger basement opening, adds stadium theater seating, soundproofing, decorative columns, carpet, and a new 70 inch TV. In addition, they create a new concession stand/ bar area with a working sink so to make the space perfect for entertaining. But the team runs into trouble right away as they attempt to install the steel header to expand the basement opening, and must consult with a structural engineer. A busy electrical inspector and an uneven ceiling further delay the reno. Spy Michael is able to stall the couple, who are away on a lunch time boating adventure, but when the boat captain becomes angry, the stall must end, leaving Amy wondering whether they'll finish the makeover before the couple comes home.

Tuesday
Sep 6
6:30am | 5:30c
Season 2, Episode 5

Eclectic Kitchen Reno

Amy and her team reno a dated kitchen for a couple forced to buy a house in a hurry when their current house sold and an out-of-state job offer fell through. Homeowner Tracy wants to surprise her husband Russano with the makeover because the kitchen is dated and doesn't fit the couple's eclectic chic style, but a reno isn't in their budget. Amy and her team demo the entire space, take down some structural walls to open up the space, install all new custom cabinetry, countertops, backsplash, appliances and a new gas stove. They save the couple's beloved granite tabletop and repurpose in a clever way in the new kitchen design. The dining area gets a funky new update with graphic wallpaper and banquette seating, and the entire space gets new flooring and paint. The seven- hour timeline is put to the test when the aggressive reno hits snags with an injury and unexpected problems inside a wall. The troubles will be worth it when Russano sees his incredible new kitchen and realizes how hard Amy, the crew and his wife worked to surprise him.

Tuesday
Sep 13
6:30am | 5:30c
Season 2, Episode 11

Homeowners Hit the Roof When They See a Vaulted Ceiling and New Bath in Their Attic Renovation

Amy and the team tackle a project they've never attempted before when they open up a cramped attic master bedroom, turning it into an awe-inspiring master suite, complete with an all-new bathroom. Homeowner Dan wants his wife Ashley to have a master bedroom retreat, but after the couple tackled renovations on their first floor, they have no energy or imagination to continue the updates upstairs. Amy and her team gut the attic bedroom and leaky bathroom, which haven't been updated in decades. They create a vaulted ceiling with faux wood beams and a chandelier for visual interest in the bedroom and new his-and-hers walk-in closets on the other side of the room. But work almost grinds to a stop when they discover problem after problem in the bathroom, which had been installed without permits by previous owners. When the couple's friend, acting as a spy, loses track of the homeowners during the raid, she tries to warn Amy. But Amy's phone has died and she doesn't get the message that no one knows when the couple will arrive home. With renovations hours behind, the team is in serious danger of getting busted.

Tuesday
Sep 20
6:30am | 5:30c
Season 2, Episode 7

Open Concept Kitchen Reno

Amy's team tackles a poorly designed kitchen and family room add-on for a family who loves the house, but hates the layout. Homeowner Jen, convinced her husband to buy a 1960's house because the size and neighborhood were perfect for their family. But once they settled in, the couple realized the kitchen needed more than the cosmetic makeover they had anticipated. It was trapped in the 60's with a poor layout, rundown appliances and an attached, dated, sunken family room. Jen asked Amy and her team to step in to surprise her husband, Kevin with a renovation. With help from Kevin's best Friend, Erik, acting as a spy, Jen gets her husband and two kids out of the house for the six-hour makeover. The team guts the entire space, refaces the fireplace, adds built-ins, levels the floor, creates a new kitchen floor plan with cozy kitchen nook and gives the family all-new contemporary furniture and decor. The finished room leaves the homeowners speechless and the children literally jumping for joy.

Tuesday
Oct 4
6:30am | 5:30c
Season 2, Episode 12

A Mid Century Modern Home Gets a Beautiful Family Room Renovation

When a couple buy a foreclosed Mid Century Modern home, they're thrilled with the renovation potential—until they get to the plain family room add-on that lacks the character of the rest of the home. Homeowner Ashley asks Amy and her team to tackle the project so her husband Adam can be finished with the 2-year renovation of their house and spend more time with her and the kids. The team decides to bring Mid Century character to the completely plain family room, by opening up some walls and adding windows, adding a retro fireplace and numerous built-ins that were common in the 1950s. With only five hours to complete the renovation and install the design elements, the team is hard-pressed when they run into unexpected complications with the floor-to-ceiling windows they plan to install. Amy calls for a stall to keep the family away from home, but will they buy enough time to get the design finished?

Tuesday
Nov 1
6:30am | 5:30c
Season 2, Episode 13

Holistic Kitchen Update with Juice Bar, Homework Station and Dining Room

A poor floor plan, beat-up appliances and countertops, and no room for homework are the problems Amy and her team solve as they renovate a kitchen and family room. The homeowner asks Amy for help renovating the kitchen to surprise his wife, who overcame health issues with good nutrition. But her kitchen was hardly inspiring and is in desperate need of updating. Amy and the team demolish the old kitchen, and open up the space to allow for a more contemporary use of the area. On one end of the kitchen, they create a tech-friendly homework station for the couple's children, and on the other end, the family gets a new dining room. But the center piece of the reno is a brand new kitchen, with earthy colors and a unique juicing station to fuel the family's healthy habits. Everyone is moved by the homeowner's heart-felt thanks when she sees the surprise.

Tuesday
Nov 8
6:30am | 5:30c

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