Get to Know Davina Thomasula and Kristin Leitheuser of 'Small Town Potential'

The Hudson Valley couple is renovating homes in the New York area. HGTV sat down with them to learn more.

In their new HGTV show, Small Town Potential, realtor and business owner Davina Thomasula and her life partner Kristin Leitheuser tackle renovation projects in the Hudson Valley — and when Davina shows would-be homeowners a house listing, she finds herself using the words, “It’s got great potential” over and over again.

“The Hudson Valley is filled with fabulous old homes, farmstands and mom-and-pop businesses, yet it’s also an easy train ride into New York City,” she says. “Even if you’ve lived here your whole life, you continue to discover new things you didn’t realize existed. Anyone with an imagination can restore some pretty amazing properties here.”

Ahead, get to know this affable couple who not only brings new life to old properties but puts a spotlight on the very special area they call home.

They're Engaged

“We’ve been engaged for four years and we’re still navigating a wedding date,” shares Davina. “Everyone is wondering when we’re going to get hitched, but we’re so busy with all of our projects!” Kristin confirms they get asked this question all the time. “But we have so much happening in our work life, we’re taking all the other stuff day by day,” she adds.

Their Dogs are Their Children

Davina and Kristin hope to one day have kids but for now they’ve got their hands full with their two dogs, Stephen (a rescue, aged 4) and Winston (a brussels griffon, aged 5). “We like giving our pets human names,” laughs Kristin. “We found Stephen, who was about 9 months old at the time, roaming a street in Poughkeepsie. He was skinny and eating out of trash cans, and we were like, ‘Whose dog is this?’ until we realized he was ours!”

They’re Both Air Signs

Davina is an Aquarius (February 8) and Kristin is a Gemini (June 15), which, according to horoscope experts, are compatible signs that make an exceptionally strong couple.

They Grew up in Different Parts of the Country

Kristin’s family is local to the Hudson Valley. She grew up in Pleasant Valley, New York, a town situated between New York City and the state capital of Albany. Davina was born in Buffalo, New York, and grew up in Coral Springs, Florida, about 20 miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale. They now live in Kingston, New York, a town at the base of the Catskill Mountains filled with history and a vibrant art community.

They Met in a Bar

“After college, I played on a New York City area recreational basketball team and once, after a game, we went to a bar because someone knew the bartender, who turned out to be Davina!” laughs Kristin. “I played it safe and ordered a Guinness and the rest is history.”

And Now They Own One!

“I was a bartender for over a decade and always dreamed of opening a neighborhood bar,” says Davina. “So, I did.” Located in the town of Poughkeepsie, New York, the bar’s name, (Goodnight Kenny), is a tribute to Davina’s father Kenny. “As a musician who plays at night, my dad loves to nap during the day. Goodnight Kenny is what we scream to him every time he goes for a nap,” laughs Davina, who signed a lease for the bar two weeks before the pandemic hit. “That was a crazy time but we’ve now been open for about six months and it’s been great, including the fact we get to hire locals and give back to the community, which was always one of our top goals,” adds Kristin. “It’s a little bar — only about 700 square feet . When you’re there you feel like you’re hanging out with people in your living room.”

They Found Real Estate In Different Ways

“I was a broadcast journalism major in college and wanted to be an on-air meteorologist,” says Davina. “Instead, I worked in hospitality for 20 years before becoming a real estate agent.” Kristin earned a business degree in college, but “I loved woodworking and knew I wanted to follow in my contractor dad’s footsteps after working with him during my college summers,” she says.

Kristin’s Dad is on the Show

Don is a master carpenter who's been renovating homes in the New York City area for 40 years and plays a prominent role on the show. “I discovered my love of holding a hammer working beside him,” shares Kristin. “This is a whole new world for him — he never thought he’d be part of this show!”

They Have Their Strengths When it Comes to Home Renos

“I’m told I have a knack for finding solutions,” says Kristin. “I believe there’s always a way to resolve something, and I’m always willing to help figure that out.” Davina is proud when clients share their gratitude for helping find their forever home. “It’s a huge compliment when someone, years later, reaches out to say they’re still happy in their space.”

Their Families Are Their Inspiration

“I will always look up to my family. They’re just so hardworking,” says Davina. “They’re in my heart when I wake up every morning.” Kristin seconds that sentiment. “It may sound cliché, but my mom and dad inspire me every day. As I get older, I realize I’ve inherited some great qualities from both of them, and they still influence how I do things. I’m so fortunate to have them in my life.”

There’s One Thing Nobody Knows About Kristin

“Most of my life I had long, blonde hair,” says Kristin. “I chopped it off almost five years ago.”

They Share the Same Favorite Color

Green. “I love that it’s a neutral shade and makes me feel peaceful and happy,” says Davina. Agrees Kristin, “Green is such a versatile color in nature, plus my mom always says when it comes to fashion, green looks good on me because it matches my eyes.”

They Can Define Themselves in Three Words

Davina: ambitious, silly, honest.

Kristin: driven, handy, regimented.

They Love This About Each Other

“Kristin is never afraid to tell the truth about anything,” says Davina. “I always know I’ll get an honest answer or opinion out of her.” As for Kristin, it’s the way Davina lights up a room. “People are just drawn to her spirit,” she says. “She can engage and find a commonality with anyone.”

They Can Do Without Open-Concept Design

"We often work in older homes where there’s no reason to knock down walls everywhere," says Davina. "A small room has such personality. I say embrace the low ceilings.” People seem to be gravitating towards the older layouts now, agrees Kristin. “My dad and I like to restore things to their original form — and that often means appreciating the past and keeping rooms separate.”

They Loved Filming Their Show

“At times it felt like adult summer camp,” says Davina. “We got to know the crew, made new friends, and shared some really cool experiences.” Kristin adds: "It can be stressful because you’re not just battling your typical construction issues — there’s an elephant in the room and that’s the camera waiting to film. Getting there was at times a grind, but in the end, we always delivered a great product to our clients."

They Have a Favorite Episode

“Making over my mom’s house, which is 600 feet away from our house in Kingston, New York, really hit home for both of us,” shares Davina. “There was a lot of pressure because she’s family and if she didn’t like it, she would have let us know.” Davina’s mom had one request — that her kitchen cabinets match her green eyes. “So, we used a custom color on the cabinets to do just that,” says Davina.

They're Proud of What Makes Their Show Stand Out

“We’re the only two queer identifying female hosts,” says Davina.

They Had This Reaction When HGTV Green-Lit Their Show

“We were so shocked that we’ve almost blocked out our reaction,” says Davina. “I believe I was in my car when I got the news, and I called Kristin asking, “What does green-lighted mean?” Kristin said she almost fell over. “I just didn’t believe it!”

Small Town Potential premieres Wednesday, June 14 at 9|8c. Keep up with the show via @HGTV and #SmallTownPotential on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. They also can follow Davina (@davinathomasula) and Kristin (@kristin2_1) on Instagram.

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