PLYMPTON (CBS) - A Plympton couple is set to star in a brand new HGTV series, Houses With History, premiering later this week.
At the time, they had saved and restored dozens of antique homes on the South Shore. Their ability to renovate and preserve historic spaces was eventually recognized by a fellow Massachusetts native and HGTV star, Jonathan Knight, a member of "New Kids On The Block."
"Jon Knight, we have to give him credit. He was down here looking at the building that we're standing in. It was a dirt floor, a complete wreck in here at the time, but Jon came through and saw some of our work. He was starting his Farmhouse Fixer show and he said, 'You guys should have your own show.' They came out and did a quick sizzle reel and we got green-lighted for an entire series," Macdonald explained.
The six-episode series was filmed during the pandemic and presented even more challenges than renovating a home usually entails.
"When you're talking about filming and renovating as many houses as we had to, managing sub-contractors, trying to stay COVID-safe, and then you run into the supply chain issues. The normal challenge of renovating a house is quadrupled. We had a very safe, strict plan for all our employees including testing 3 times a week. We stayed safe through the whole thing," said Lemieux.
The series follows designer Macdonald, history-buff Lemieux, and carpenter Rich Soares as they take on 6 dilapidated antique homes on the South Shore, some up to 300 years old (the oldest house featured was built in 1666.) Film crews traveled all over, shooting in Plymouth, Pembroke, Plympton, Kingston, Duxbury, Marshfield, Middleborough, Carver, West Barnstable, Sandwich and Bourne. Local craftsmen are also brought in to help during each episode.
"We take a lot of time digging into the story of the people that lived there. Everyone isn't George Washington, but everyone in their town or their locality could have been very significant, and you just didn't know anything about them. So, if we can expose some of that story and give people the opportunity to relate to it when they move in, they can say, 'Oh wow, this home was part of the industrial revolution of this town or the economy or this person played a very important role.' You just don't know or necessarily always hear about them," Lemieux told WBZ.
"A lot of these houses, we really are saving them. One of them we were bidding against another contractor that was going to demolish It. We really are pouring our hearts and souls into this and want to save every historic home. It's a piece of history you can never get back once its torn down," Macdonald added.
So what can viewers expect to see on season one?
"Mike is pretty funny. Rich and Mike really play off each other. I think you'll get a laugh out of it. You'll also learn something, and you will most definitely see me cry," said Macdonald.
"We want people to feel like history is actually extremely interesting. You are a vital part of it, you can help preserve it, and it's important to do so for the future. It's where we came from, it's who we are and it's who we're going to continue to be. There's no real separation between today and yesterday. We're all part of it, and you can be too," said Lemieux.
Houses With History premieres Wednesday, September 29th at 9 p.m. on HGTV and Discovery Plus.
Full Circle Homes is hosting a premiere watch party at the old hay field on Crescent Street in Plympton in an effort to keep everyone outside and socially distanced. Afterwards, there will be live music by Massachusetts-based folk band David Wax Museum. For tickets click here.
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