By William Thornton Alabama Media Group, Birmingham
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Chelsea McKinney, her husband Ammon, and business partner Travis Boginski, a contractor, are gaining attention as the subjects of "Fixin' to Sell," a program they filmed last year as a pilot for HGTV.
Alabama Media Group, Birmingham
Chelsea McKinney says she's "all over the place." She works as an accountant and Realtor, manages apartments and flips houses.
Add "television personality" to the mix.
McKinney, her husband Ammon, and business partner Travis Boginski, a contractor, are gaining attention as the subjects of "Fixin' to Sell," a program they filmed last year as a pilot for HGTV.
The show is available through the HGTV app and online here.
McKinney started flipping houses in college. She said she enjoys seeing the transformation that a distressed home can undergo in the process.
"It's a creative outlet. Otherwise I would sit in front of a computer eight hours a day and, quite frankly, be really bored," she said. "I like to make things look beautiful that once did not. I really enjoy seeing everything come together."
Ammon's only experience before they met was painting walls in high school. He wasn't even sure what "flipping" meant or how to do it.
"Once she had a partner in crime, a.k.a. me, free labor, however you want to look at it," Ammon said, "she started asking me to do this, do that. Some things I was comfortable with, some I wasn't so comfortable with. I know the process now. We had to learn some things the hard way, get better at the order of operations. I'm really comfortable with how it goes now."
Boginski has owned GT Construction for 10 years. Chelsea and Ammon owned a company called Black Door Designs. More than a year ago, the two companies merged to tackle house projects as "Hammer & Sales."
One day, Chelsea checked the Facebook page for Black Door Designs, something she hadn't done in six months.
"I got a private message from a woman who works for a production company," Chelsea said. "She said, 'I was just wondering if you'd ever be interested in flipping houses on TV.'"
The trio were skeptical, sniffing a scam. But the production company was persistent, and after a Skype conversation and some photos from social media, the company was able to pitch the idea of a show for HGTV.
Last September, the company came to Madison to film a pilot over a tight, 16-day timeline. Work continued, even as crews asked them to occasionally pause the hammers to reposition the camera.
"Some of our guys were literally working 24-hour shifts," she said. "It was crazy. It was an interesting process, doing this for TV."
Ammon said the experience of filming was "a lot of fun."
"We got to be ourselves, and I think that's part of what the production crew enjoyed about us," he said. "We weren't really dull at all. We were constantly cracking jokes, laughing, having fun while we were doing it."
For awhile, it looked as though the pilot might never be aired. In March, Discovery Communications completed a $12 billion merger with Scripps Networks Interactive Inc., assuming control of the Scripps television channels Food Network, Travel Channel and HGTV. The group was told the project was dead.
That changed this month, when a visitor to the Facebook page of "Hammer & Sales" said she loved the pilot. That was when the three discovered the program was on the Internet. Even the production company doesn't know how long the pilot has been available, Chelsea said.
"If we get enough actual views of the show, maybe something will come of it," she said.
Ammon said he enjoyed the experience of filming with the crew enough that he'd be happy to see the show picked up. The pilot has also brought a lot of business to Hammer & Sales, Chelsea said, even as they continue to tell the world the program is available.
"We've gotten a whole lot more calls," she said. "I don't think a whole lot of people go through the HGTV app, so we're trying to organically homegrow (interest in the show)."