Paige Poupart was already busy — between owning the building and design firm The Masters Dallas with her father, Doug Broadbent, and motherhood, her plate was pretty full. But her days just might get a little fuller now that HGTV has come calling.
Poupart and Broadbent will get a chance to make a case to HGTV viewers Saturday when the pilot for their show, Renovation Gap, airs at 1 p.m. Central.
To say she’s excited is probably an understatement. The father-daughter team working together in the contracting business attracted the home improvement channel, but Poupart says that she and her father have been doing this for years and that she learned the renovation business practically from birth.
“So my dad has been a general contractor for ’35 years,’” she said. “This is such a used phrase (usually when correcting someone who is doing something wrong on the job site) that we actually have an inside joke about it.”
“I grew up renovating our homes with him and then selling them and moving to the next one,” she explained. “Many of these were in New England and historic homes, so I’ve really grown to love the historic character and sensibilities.”
One might think that just living in a state of constant renovation would teach a child enough, but the pair began working together on the jobsites pretty early, too.
“I started working on his jobsites with him probably about around age 10, he offered to pay me to keep the job sites clean, and I was an ambitious girl so I worked after school on his jobsites until he realized I could do more than just pick up track and vacuum sawdust,” she explained.
“He started to offer me more important construction jobs and I told him I wouldn’t work by the hour any longer so he had to pay me by the job.”
And Poupart honed her negotiation skills while working for her dad, too. “One job he had for me was nailing straps to headers and framing,” she recalled. “I made a hard bargain and he paid me 10 cents a nail to that.”
“I must have made a couple thousand dollars that summer.”
“At some point, his clients and I became comfortable enough to talk design and when I gave my opinion about layout and design choices, they started to ask me to become a design consultant on the job,” Poupart said. “Daddy and I worked really well together doing this until college.”
By then, the love of design spurred her choice of majors, too. “I studied Architecture abroad in Paris with the University of Florida and Columbia University’s International Program.”
When Poupart’s husband got a job as a private chef in Dallas, her parents decided to relocate to be close to their grandchildren. It wasn’t long before they were business partners again.
So why does Poupart think HGTV became interested in them? In addition to the unusual father-daughter element, Poupart thinks the approach their company takes also attracted HGTV.
“The Masters Dallas is so much more than just a design/build company,” she said. “We firmly believe and are constantly working to be more of a lifestyle consulting company who happen to remodel homes.”
Poupart says it’s important that the layout of a home actually match the lifestyle of its inhabitants, “and we see so much of the opposite.”
“No matter how hard people try to purchase a home that checks off all the boxes for what they are looking for,” she added, “they usually end up purchasing a home over budget and underwhelming with mismatched add-ons that don’t fit their everyday life.”
That’s not the only shortcoming she runs into here in Dallas.
“We also, unfortunately, see the standards for contractors and designers really sub par for what we expect,” Poupart continued. “Firstly, many budget-friendly contractors constantly botch jobs or even just leave them half done because the homeowner doesn’t know better.”
Plus, designers and architects are so focused on the aesthetic that they don’t think about lifestyle, Poupart said, “and the homes don’t always function for how the homeowners actually need them to.”
“We come into a home and listen,” she said. “That’s really what Daddy and I do best, he listens to how the building isn’t working and I listen to how the design isn’t working and we restructure the layout from scratch based off the actual lifestyle and needs of the clients.”
Though Poupart and Broadbent are the core team of The Masters Dallas, other family members have found ways to contribute.
“My husband being a personal chef is also quite a nice plus for our clients,” she said. “He usually joins us on the later kitchen selection and design meetings to really talk to the homeowners about how they are cooking and what appliances and brands will work the best for their life.”
Poupart also credits her social media skills for attracting HGTV, too. The company’s Facebook page attests to this, with tons of pictures, videos, and personality. You can also find the company on Pinterest and Instagram, too.
“So, that’s how we got really started with HGTV,” Poupart explained. “I do A LOT of social media, and I share a lot of our experiences and our experience on our Instagram, Facebook and blog feeds. That’s how they found us.”
But you have to have more than social media skills to snag an HGTV pilot.
“They have told us that it’s fairly unique to have a father-daughter construction team who really feels like they know what they are talking about,” she continued. “They liked that we stood behind our work and that we were actually the ones on the ground doing it. We aren’t sitting in an office, we’re on the job sites day after day and making things happen.”
Skills, personality, and social media — how could a network resist?
“One of the most surprising things about the process was firstly that we didn’t pitch anything,” Poupart said. “We didn’t have to say any lines really or act anything out of character to be dramatic to make this happen. They just liked us for us.”
And like any family business, expect a little drama here and there.
“We are ourselves, with our quirks and all — although we do both have our dramatic moments, they are honest,” she added. “The producer saw that and did all the hard work essentially to show the network who we were and how people might like to watch us.”
But Broadbent and Poupart did find that construction on an HGTV show can be quite different from how they usually approach a job, too.
“Being mostly on the design and client relations end of the business, for me the most crazy busy part was the very beginning,” Poupart said. “Part of filming a TV show, apparently as we have learned, is that EVERYTHING is pre-planned, down to the minute — and it’s planned months in advance.”
“So usually the design phases and selections are talked about and talked about and talked about and worked out over an organic period of time,” she said. “In order to really do my job right I need to KNOW my client and their lifestyle, so functionally this was all condensed into a small amount of time for me.”
Poupart says she had about two weeks of learning and planning time, and then she also had to pick out all the finishes and selections. It was a bit “outside the box” for her.
“For Dad, the trickiest part of filming the show was the short construction timelines as well. Essentially, we did a three-month job in three weeks,” Poupart recalled. “So, there was so much less control over the construction than we are used to having.”
To meet the timeline, Poupart and Broadbent had to bring in another whole construction team to help keep things moving swiftly, which added to the kinks of the process and kept Broadbent on his toes. “He really requires that things are done right, to the extreme, so he really needed to be cloned for the project because often times while we were in one part of the home filming a scene, there was the crew working in the other side which Dad couldn’t keep his constant attention on,” Poupart said. “That was a struggle for him.”
If the show is picked up for a full season, Broadbent and Poupart will join other Texans on the network, including Ashley and Andy Williams of Flip or Flop Fort Worth and, of course, Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper. Fixer Upper regular Clint Harp has also landed a show, Wood Work, on the affiliated DIY Network. Poupart is champing at the bit to join them, too.
“Dad and I plan on giving Chip and Jo a run for their money,” she said, mischievously. “Although we are so proud of how they have revitalized Waco! We do pick on their construction techniques and design downfalls very often. #shiplapineveryroom #letsputthattreebranchonthewall.”
Did we mention that Poupart likes hashtags? She likes hashtags a lot, and they’re always hilarious.
But seriously, are they ready for that kind of attention? It’s been well documented how much attention a Chip and Jo house can attract from tourists, for instance, and if Chip and/or Joanna show up in your town, you better bet someone’s gonna Instagram it.
“But to really answer your question, we are both very excited and will embrace any kind of change that might happen,” Poupart said. “We have always talked about traveling together, working on homes across the US, or doing teaching seminars and starting a professional vocation school.”
“We are very much ‘relationship people’ so the thought of building new relations and widening our reach is also very exciting.”
Renovation Gap airs at 1 p.m. Saturday on HGTV.