What It's Really Like Having Your Home Renovated on HGTV's Christina on the Coast

image
Matt Harbicht/Getty Images

When Christina Anstead decided to design people’s homes for her new HGTV show, Christina on the Coast, she probably didn’t expect one of her clients would be moving in with her. Her client, Cassie Zebisch, certainly didn’t.

Christina On The Coast
hulu.com
$5.99
But Cassie isn’t just any client—she’s Christina’s best friend since junior high, and her publicist. And when the remodel turned into a total gut job—if you caught the premiere last Thursday, those termites and that leaky water heater weren’t manufactured drama, people—Cassie had to live somewhere.

“I saw a meme today that said, ‘a friend knocks on your door, but a best friend walks in and eats your food,’ and that’s us,” Cassie says. “We’ve gone to junior high, high school and college together—we even lived together in college—and we’ve been through everything together. I consider her family, and [Christina's husband] Ant is one of my best friends.”

Christina Anstead and Cassie Zebisch
Courtesy of HGTV

Cassie stayed with Christina, Ant, and their kids for part of the 10-week-long renovation of her childhood home. “We started to call the guest room ‘my room.’ Sometimes, Brayden [Christina’s 3 1/2-year-old son] would wake up early and come into my room and tell me he’s hungry, so I’d get up and make him breakfast. We’re all so close that It was super easy, actually,” she says.

During the day, cameras followed their every move, which wasn’t as awkward as you might think...for the most part. “Christina and I have such good chemistry in real life, and we just did our thing, like we do every day together,” Cassie explains. “At this point, [filming with HGTV] is just part of my life, so the cameras are normal.”

Since the show aims to provide an unfiltered glimpse into Christina’s personal and professional life, it also meant that every high and low associated with renovating a home unfolded in real time, too. Cassie didn’t have a heads up on things like the termites in her floor before cameras were rolling.

“[The producers] love to share things as they happen—those reactions are real,” Cassie admits. “I’m not an actress. During any renovation, there are surprises, and that’s when it gets stressful. When it’s your money, you’re like, ‘oh my god, how much is that going to cost?’ It goes quickly, and that’s what blew my mind.”

image
HGTV/Alice Morgan

Which brings us to another truthbomb about the show: You might think that just because someone’s a close friend or their reno is on TV that they get everything for free. “I wish it was free,” Cassie laughs. “We’re spending real money here, but I would do it 10 times over, it was such a great experience. Over the years, I’ve heard Christina say that people regret not spending, so I tried to make smart choices.”

That meant avoiding a lot of custom and to-the-trade-only furniture in favor of more affordable options. Her sofa and dining table, for example, came from Living Spaces, and most of her other big pieces—like those gold bar stools in the kitchen—came from Wayfair or AllModern. “These are places Christina shops at too—she had a sofa from Living Spaces in her master bedroom—and I trust her, and I trust them,” she says.

Christina on the Coast home makeover
Courtesy of HGTV

Cassie’s trust in her friend was taken to the next level over the course of the reno. While she initially had her heart set on an all-white kitchen, Christina convinced her to mix things up. “This is my first time doing something like this, and a big part of it, for me, was trusting the process,” Cassie says. “Christina and I have very similar tastes, and I knew she wouldn’t do something she wouldn’t want in her own home in mine.”

Christina on the Coast premiere episode, season 1
Courtesy of HGTV

That level of trust, combined with living together and the stresses of a remodel, could put any friendship to the test, but if anything, it made them closer. “I’ve always been a huge champion of Christina, and I knew she’d be where she is today. I want everyone to see her the way I do,” she says.

As for the home itself, “I was blown away by it. I love to cook and host, so the new, opened-up kitchen is my dream kitchen, and I had no idea they were doing the patio renovation with the pergola. I was super shocked. It made me so happy and excited about the new space.”

You can catch up on Cassie’s episode on Hulu, and watch new episodes of Christina on the Coast on Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST on HGTV.

Shop Cassie's Home:

Follow House Beautiful on Instagram.


More From Home Makeovers