7 Things to Know About Kim Wolfe of HGTV’s ‘Why The Heck Did I Buy This House?’

She won season 24 of Survivor, and now she's host of the new HGTV show Why the Heck Did I Buy This House? We sat down with Kim Wolfe to learn more.

Designer Kim Wolfe at a home currently under construction for HGTV's Why the Heck Did I Buy This House?

Designer Kim Wolfe at a home currently under construction for HGTV's Why the Heck Did I Buy This House?

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer

Jennifer Boomer

Related To:

Kim Wolfe is a self-described “yes guy.”

Whether it’s competing on the 24th season of CBS’s Survivor (and winning!) or renovating seven houses in 24 weeks for HGTV's Why The Heck Did I Buy This House?, Kim doesn’t back down from a challenge. Which is why we can't wait for her new show, premiering on March 30, to hit HGTV. The seven-episode series follows Kim as she helps desperate homeowners renovate their headache-inducing houses in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas.

But besides being a Survivor champion and an HGTV host, who is Kim Wolfe? We spoke with her to get the inside scoop.

She's a Self-Taught Designer

Kim didn’t consider design as a professional career until after she competed on Survivor and won the million-dollar grand prize. “My husband and I bought our first house [with the money], which was a 1940s home in need of total restoration. It was the first real construction project I worked on,” she says.

After finishing the home, Kim became addicted to design. She and her husband bought four houses in eight years, all within five miles of each other — each of which they moved into and renovated.

Eventually, her husband persuaded her to try designing professionally. “He was like, ‘How about you do this professionally and stop making our family move every time you want to try a new tile?’” Kim says. “And so that was really kind of the birth of this as a career for me.”

And, She's Extremely Competitive

"Maybe even unpleasantly [so] at times," Kim jokes. As a winner of Survivor, her competitive edge comes as no surprise. Plus, her dad is a football coach, and she grew up playing sports, so a little healthy competition runs in her blood. But Kim uses this attribute to her advantage: to achieve excellence.

“Now I compete at estate sales and garage sales and auctions, and the occasional adult pickleball game,” Kim says. “I think I've allowed my career to kind of fill that void in my life.”

Kim’s Husband Stars Alongside Her

Of course, Kim was super excited to have her husband of nine years, Brian, co-host with her as they filmed Why the Heck Did I Buy This House? Unlike Kim, filming for HGTV was Brian’s first TV experience, so he was nervous — which Kim says she likes to tease him about.

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer

Jennifer Boomer

Her Survivor Skills Helped Her on HGTV

Although HGTV and Survivor might seem like polar opposites on the reality TV spectrum, Kim says she found a lot in common between the two.

"For both shows, I had to learn how to read people and figure out who they really are," she says. “I had to quickly kind of come in and assess the family, assess what their needs are and try to figure out what's going to absolutely blow them away.”

Nature Is Important in Kim's Life and Designs

She was a backpacking guide, lived in Thailand and worked at a rafting company in Colorado. Kim says she’s always had a special connection to the outdoors, therefore she likes to incorporate natural motifs into her designs.

For Kim, this means focusing on natural lighting, plants and botanicals, as well as drawing inspiration from animals. “You'll find some version of an animal in almost any room I've ever touched, whether it's the pattern of the hide or a brass monkey or whatever,” she says. “I just think animals are so cool.”

She's also drawn to organic textures and materials, like linen or alabaster stones. “I think they make us feel like we're from the Earth,” Kim says. “It’s kind of one of those unspoken things that makes us feel a better version of ourselves.”

Kim Renovated Seven Houses at Once

Though they staggered renovation start dates during the 24 weeks of filming, at one point Kim juggled all seven renos at one time.

“There's no words to describe it,” she says. “But it takes a village. I mean, there were so many good people that came alongside us that pitched in, people we didn't even know we needed that showed up. Honestly, it was humbling to need so many people.”

Kim says she would rank making Why the Heck Did I Buy This House? up there with Survivor when it comes to “getting gritty.”

It was an “Honor” to Renovate Other Families’ Homes

Many of the families on the show have major buyer’s remorse when it comes to their dysfunctional homes with overlooked potential. Kim says it was “an honor” to renovate these homes because she understands that it was a vulnerable place for people to let her in so she could understand what they wanted out of their space.

“That's the part I really enjoyed — getting to go in and kind of try to read people, read their mail, figure out what they love, figure out what makes them tick and then give them the best version of themselves with this house,” she says.

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer

Jennifer Boomer

Tune in to HGTV on Wednesday March 30 at 9/8c to catch Kim and Brian on Why the Heck Did I Buy This House?

Next Up

Mina Starsiak Gives Behind-the-Scene Details on 'Good Bones' Season 7

HGTV sat down with Mina to talk about the ups, the downs and everything in between — including an exciting Good Bones spinoff.

Season 4 Competitors Reveal What it's Really Like Filming 'Rock the Block'

We're getting up close and personal with newest Rock the Block stars. Ahead, they reveal what it was really like filming Season 4 — the good, the funny and the exhausting.

‘Rock the Block’ Season 3 Brings the Heat to Charleston

The home reno show returns to HGTV for a third season on February 28. Get ready for a whole new slew of HGTV experts and some good old-fashioned (competitive!) fun.

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.

Jasmine Roth Renovated a Condo For Her Mom, and It's Full of Fun Ideas to Steal

Catch all Jasmine’s cool storage hacks, affordable accessorizing ideas and a full tour of the condo she redesigned for her mom on HGTV’s first-ever TikTok series, premiering on Mother’s Day.

Why We Love Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis From 'Unsellable Houses'

The twins are some of the best real estate agents in the Pacific Northwest, but what else is there to know about Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis? We have all the details.

Social Media Influencer Carmeon Hamilton Will Star in New HGTV Reno Show

The Memphis-based series will premiere on HGTV in 2024. We have all the details.

6 Reasons to Be Excited About 'Home Again With the Fords'

You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll drool at Leanne and Steve's epic renovations.

Christina Hall Honors Late Friend in Heart-Wrenching Episode of 'Christina in the Country'

A family renovation becomes a personal project of love and inspiration in this very special episode.


House Hunters

6:30am | 5:30c

House Hunters

7:30am | 6:30c

House Hunters

8:30am | 7:30c

House Hunters

9:30am | 8:30c

House Hunters

10am | 9c

House Hunters

10:30am | 9:30c

Down Home Fab

12pm | 11c

Down Home Fab

1pm | 12c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Windy City Rehab

6pm | 5c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

10:31pm | 9:31c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

House Hunters

1:31am | 12:31c
What's Hot

Home Town

Season Premiere! Dec. 4 at 8|7c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.

Luxury Home Giveaways

HGTV Smart Home

A sophisticated Southwestern home in Santa Fe, New Mexico

HGTV Dream Home

A modern mountain getaway in Morrison, Colorado

HGTV Urban Oasis

A music-inspired escape in Nashville, Tennessee