The Most Incredible Home Transformations In HGTV History

HGTV has been cranking out entertaining home renovation shows for almost 30 years (via HGTV). Viewers enjoy the design tips and tricks, home buying and remodeling advice, and the risky, high-stakes renovations and drama that accompany the real estate and home remodeling industries. By the time the network celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014, it was reaching 96 million households, and by 2022 HGTV had aired over 450 unique shows

Millennials account for 55% of the viewership, and HGTV likes to draw in the viewers who need to unplug and live life vicariously through the shows. "With all the news in the world right now, it feels like a really nice escape. The programming is aspirational, inspirational, and feels like a bit of a vacation," a viewer told Yahoo.

Viewers love the fantasy of working with hefty budgets to see jaw-dropping transformations made to homes. With design budgets ranging from a minimum of $50,000 on "Fixer Upper" (via Yahoo) to a whopping $500,000 on "House Hunters Renovation," the best HGTV designers have big budgets and the opportunity to make bold and exciting renovations. Let's take a look at some of the most incredible home transformations in HGTV history!

The Mancuso team transformed a fire-damaged home in a charming Cleveland neighborhood

The pilot episode of "Gut Job" with Kate and Darren Mancuso delivered a dramatic transformation of a fire-damaged house. The couple agreed that most investors wouldn't consider such a damaged home. "That's what makes us different. That's what separates us from the rest," Kate said. The builder and interior designer team also wanted to transform the 2,700 square foot house from a duplex layout back to a single family home, and demolish and rebuild a two-car garage.

The Mancusos chose this home for a combination of the extremely low $100,000 sale price, the location in charming Lakewood, and the square footage. The couple has sharp instincts from working together to flip houses for their company, Relief Properties, since 2012. They typically flip about 15-20 houses per year (via Cleveland Magazine).

The Lakewood home was completely reconfigured and the team profited $72,000 on the sale. More importantly, they removed an eyesore from a neighborhood with solid property values and won the favor of the community. Kate reflected, "In the end, people see what we've done, and how much time, effort, hard work, and heart has gone into it" (via HGTV).

This $5,000 city auction home was unrecognizable after the Bargain Block renovation

The premise of the show "Bargain Block" creates the potential for fabulous transformations. Designer Keith Bynum and carpenter Evan Thomas aim to find Detroit's abandoned properties in dire need of salvation (via HGTV). In Season 1, Episode 8, the team took on a $5,000 home that was purchased "sight unseen" through a city auction.

Thomas felt that prior to renovation the house had barely any value. "I would think this home is overpriced at $1,000, let alone $5,000," he quipped when first viewing the property (via HGTV). Some of the flooring inside the home had caved in, and the back of the home had no exterior wall. The designers had a rehab budget of $60,000 to bring the abandoned home back to life. "This is going to be my weird house," Bynum joked. "Anything you can think of that's weird in design, I'm going to try to bring into this house."

The renovation took about eight weeks, and the design team added countless unique accents. The most dramatic change was the addition of the large D-shaped window at the front of the home, which also vastly improved the home's curb appeal. According to show realtor Shea Hicks-Whitfield's Zillow profile, the house sold for $110,000 in November 2021, which is 22 times greater than the original price!

Mika and Brian rebuilt this home for a former pro basketball player and his family

On the show "100 Day Dream Home (Rewind)," husband and wife designers Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt must complete renovations in less than 100 days — and this team never misses a deadline (via LA Times).

The couple took on one of their biggest time crunch challenges in Season 1, when the Kleinschmidts chose to tackle a home that needed to be completely rebuilt to protect it from Florida floodwaters. "Safety is a concern," said the homeowner, retired basketball pro Adam Hess. He continued, "We want to go up as high as we can and have a better view" (via HGTV).

Brian and Mika redesigned the 2,500 square foot concept and moved the living areas above 14 feet, while the bottom floor became symmetrically designed garages and storage. The Kleinschmidts listened to the needs of the homeowners, and included a separate wing for their children's space and an additional wing for frequently visiting in-laws. Upon the reveal, Hess and his wife, Julia, were thrilled at the outcome. "I can say this looks exactly how I pictured it," said Hess.

Jenny and Dave Marrs turned this pest-ridden, historic mill into a cozy family cabin

"Fixer to Fabulous" highlights the design skills of couple Jenny and Dave Marrs. They love the community of Bentonville, where their design jobs take place. Jenny told the LA Times, "As cheesy and cliché as it sounds, it really is about the people. Everyone is very welcoming, very open — more so than anywhere I've lived." 

In Season 1 of "Fixer to Fabulous," local couple Adam and Vanessa Maris bought an uninhabitable old mill. Vanessa explained, "There is no running water, it's full of mice, there are snakes — pretty terrible living conditions." Despite the initial state of the home, the homeowners wanted to keep the original character of the mill because of its history and importance to the community.

After the Marrses delivered the finishing touches on the 1,320 square foot home, it was transformed from unlivable to truly entertainment-worthy. The mill transformation is still one of the design couple's favorite renovations ever. In February 2020, Jenny posted, "Remember this historic mill turned fairy-tale cabin in the woods? It's still one of my favorites from the first season of #fixertofab!" (via Facebook).

Jasmine completed a farmhouse-style renovation and brought back privacy for a couple

When homeowners try to take on major renovations, they can sometimes get stuck. Builder Jasmine Roth helps homeowners who are in over their heads on "Help! I Wrecked My House." As the owner of this home told HGTV, "We went about things completely wrong and in doing so wasted money, but also, more importantly, time."

Roth helped the couple focus on the strange layout of the home. The entire family had to go through the master bedroom to get to the laundry room, pantry, or back door to the house. The couple was struggling with the lack of privacy in their home, and even felt the strain on their marriage. The couple gave Roth a huge boost with a $200,000 budget, and she used the funds to complete a full transformation of the floor plan.

The reconfiguration added back two bathrooms instead of one, and the family room became the home's new center, while the couple was given a more private master bedroom space. The en suite bathroom upgrade had a $17,000 price tag, but Roth knew that the couple's private space would go a long way toward reclaiming the marriage. "I'm here to help you build your happy home," Roth said on her blog.

Good Bones' mother-daughter team took a Victorian from drab to fab

Mina Starsiak and her mother Karen Laine renovate Indianapolis homes on "Good Bones," and they aren't afraid of homes in bad condition. "When we buy an old house, we look for price and location, but we also typically look for the most decrepit one that no one else wants so we can make sure we get it," Starsiak told HGTV. In the third season, the design team found a Victorian that was in pretty bad shape with an $18,000 price tag and a lot of potential. "Oh, Mina. I'm a little overwhelmed with excitement here," said Karen at the first walk-through (via HGTV). 

The team planned a renovation budget of $230,000 that largely included money for the kitchen, but ended up going $40,000 over budget. Some of that budget-busting was caused by a foundation that needed more repair than originally anticipated.

Starsiak listed the Old Southside home in 2019, and it sold for $289,000, according to Zillow. In the listing, she highlighted the open design with original design features. She also mentioned the outdoor living spaces. In 2022, with the housing market surge, Zillow estimates the home to be worth over $350,000. 

One of the biggest budget-busters in HGTV history took 9 months to complete

When designers transform homes by building on the pre-existing footprint, it often creates jaw-dropping renovations. One of the most notable add-ons in HGTV history was featured in the first season of the fan-favorite "House Hunters Renovation." The homeowner wanted to gain square footage, so he made the decision to build the home up by adding a second story.

According to the experts at Reinbrecht Homes, it's typically cheapest to build up when you need to add more living space to a house. As long as you have the city's permission to add a second floor and the room to factor in a staircase, building up requires less material than expanding the footprint on the ground floor. But this renovation price tag climbed quickly throughout the course of the remodel. The homeowner started with a renovation budget of $370,000, but ended up spending about half a million in the end! As the homeowner noted, "In most places in the world, you can buy a really nice house for $500,000" (via HGTV).

HGTV featured this renovation as the biggest budget-busting renovation of the series and the biggest transformation of the series. Keep in mind, when homes are chosen to be a featured renovation, the homeowners are paying the bill, according to HGTV.

This seaside home was Tarek and Christina's best flip ever

The "Flip or Flop" team had one of their best flips ever in a one-of-a-kind renovation. The spectacular San Clemente, California, property was worth just about any remodeling issues, and the design team's instincts led them to purchase it. The home's stunning ocean view, its star feature, took the couple by surprise. Upon entering the front door for the first time, Tarek exclaimed, "Wow! No way! We have never bought a house like this. I'm in love" (via HGTV).

The couple had the foundation repaired, then made a few key changes to the roof, kitchen, open living space, and the master bedroom floor plan that transformed this home from an uninspired design hodgepodge to an ocean view property that sizzled. The sale price wasn't given at the time of the episode, but the home's listing history on Compass shows that it sold for $2.05 million, which makes this house Tarek and Christina's most successful flip in the show's history.

A bonus camper made this transformation even more unique for the Bargain Block team

Designer Keith Bynum got a head start on his initial ideas for the house in the "Farmhouse and Schoolhouse" episode. He and his carpenter partner Evan Thomas had previously flipped the house next door in the "Prairie House" episode in 2019, so they already knew the street by heart. "I have plans for literally every house on the block," confessed Bynum (via HGTV). The team purchased the home for $45,000 and it came with a pleasant surprise — a bonus camper that could also be renovated. But Bynum and Thomas knew this house was going to present its share of challenges. "It's a weird shape and I'm going to have to think about how to lay it out," said Bynum.

Bynum applied a warm and welcoming farmhouse design to the remodeled home and completely changed the home's curb appeal but kept the massive footprint of the kitchen. The bonus camper also got an incredible farmhouse face lift and the design team used the same butcher block and wood flooring from the house. Although the camper came with the house, Bynum and Thomas had it listed for sale separately in 2020. On Bynum's Instagram, he posted, "The fabulous camper is listed!!"

Chip and Joanna's infamous Shotgun House transformation is now a short-term rental

One of the most memorable Waco, Texas, renovations on the hit show "Fixer Upper" was known as the "Shotgun House." The once-dilapidated old home is now booked 90% of the time as a short-term rental because it's one of the most dramatic transformations in the history of the show (via Today).

Chip and Joanna Gaines kept the home feeling spacious by building a taller roof, which provided a vaulted ceiling. The renovated space includes an open kitchen concept with a redesigned master bedroom and loft space. The owner tried to put the house on the market for $950,000, but soon took it back off the market when it didn't sell. Matthew McLeod, a Waco real estate broker, told Realtor, "There seems to be an opinion that an affiliation with 'Fixer Upper' will manifest a buyer who's willing to pay a lot more money for that home. I've never seen that to be the case."

In the meantime, the owners are having no problems keeping the house booked through AirBnB at $325/night. The adorable house is walking distance to the Gaineses' store, Magnolia, and it even has an AirBnB user rating of 4.94 stars!

The cost of this Good Bones renovation was the team's most expensive project ever

The mother-daughter design team on "Good Bones" is familiar with the delicate budget dance, but they took a risk by paying their biggest price tag ever of $130,000 — for a bungalow that was only 1,375 square feet.

As with most Craftsman-style homes, the house had an excess of doors and walls, and the design team had to completely reconfigure the home layout. Builders Mina Starsiak and Karen Laine also had to improve the structural support of the home, and the exterior needed a full overhaul. The goal for the duo was to put $100,000 into the home and sell it for $300,000 to net a $70,000 profit. "This is our most expensive house to date," Starsiak confessed, "but we're trying to salvage a lot of things to offset the cost."

The former homeowners appreciated the charm that was left intact: "Just to come back and see the chandeliers that my mom used to clean and the same hardware on the cabinets, it's the little things like that." The salvaging wasn't enough to save the budget, though. According to Indianapolis Monthly, the builders went $50,000 over budget and sold the home for $310,000 for a $30,000 profit.

Erin and Ben transformed a $12,000 house to a perfect starter home

On the hit show "Home Town," couple Erin and Ben Napier renovate homes in their hometown of Laurel, Mississippi, which they've been doing since they graduated college. Ross Tucker, President of the county's Chamber of Commerce, told Realtor that the transformations have turned Laurel into a tourist stop: "Now people are coming through. They want to see where the show was filmed."

In Season 3, the couple was challenged to keep an extremely conservative budget on a starter home for a Alise Mathews, a young single woman. Mathews purchased the home for $12,500, but wanted to keep the cost of the renovation under $75,000, so the design team had a budget of $62,500. The low price point of the house came with a rotting wall, bad flooring, and no original design features to preserve. Erin said, "It was just a house. Just a place to make a meal, and sleep, and then go to work" (via HGTV).

It was a pretty extensive renovation, considering the budget was so small. Erin saved on the budget with little touches like a homemade glass backsplash in lieu of tile, and laminate countertops in the kitchen. "I think houses like this make my artistic background shine," she said.

Tarek and Christina spent their biggest budget on this Flip or Flop remodel

In the fourth season of "Flip or Flop," former real estate agents Tarek and Christina went up against their most expensive remodel up to that point when they purchased a home in upscale Yorba Linda, California, for a bargain price of $875,000. The initial renovation quote from the contractor was $150,000, but the savvy viewer knew the couple was heading for a much steeper renovation cost. Tarek raised the first red flag about the home's foundation at the initial inspection and said, "This whole entire house is moving. I've never seen anything like this" (via HGTV).

The renovation took about 14 weeks from start to Open House, and included updated curb appeal, a brighter kitchen design, new flooring, and transformed master and living spaces. Most importantly, the designers spent $40,000 and an extra six weeks on the extensive foundation repair. The contractor held all other renovation projects until the foundation work was complete. The final sale was a bit tense because the home market value had declined while the investors were working on this renovation. Ultimately, the investment risk they took paid off, and the couple profited $107,650!

The Fixer to Fabulous team modernized this home while bringing back some of its original charm

In the second season of "Fixer to Fabulous," the homeowners, Phillip and Elly Elliott, had to choose between function and original features. Jenny and Dave Marrs helped the Elliotts completely transform the historic 1902 home.

Some of the home's original features included a wraparound porch, Craftsman-style archways and nooks, and a lot of walls and doors. The original design was typical of the time period, but opposite of the modern open concept. With a renovation budget of $155,000 (via HGTV), the Marrses were able to strike a new balance. Jenny and Dave took out the archways, opened up the design, and added modern conveniences.  But most importantly, they improved the curb appeal of the home by going back in time. They restored the roof to its former, non-leaky glory, and rebuilt the original wrap-around porch.

Although Phillip wasn't originally a fan of the house, he bought it in support of his wife and her vision for the house to become a lifelong home — and it paid off. On the design team's blog, Jenny wrote, "Dave and I were determined to make him fall in love with this home."