By LINDA CHION KENNEY
The newest show for HGTV stars a real estate duo who met as Riverview High School seniors and now, 20 years later, build dream homes in 100 days or less.
The “100 Day Dream Home” reality television series is a dream come true for Millennials Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt, who viewed the Feb. 16 premiere of their show at home with their dog Bear and their daughter Jade.
“This has been an overnight success three years in the making,” Brian Kleinschmidt said. “This is like winning the lottery times five.”
It’s a new concept for the Home and Garden cable-TV network, whose focus has been on renovation and makeovers, with a show lineup that includes Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, House Hunters Renovation, Flip or Flop, Love It or List It and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
As a fresh network offering, 100 Day Dream Home focuses on ground-up construction from a dirt lot to a dream home, with Brian, a developer skilled at construction details, and Mika, a realtor gifted at interior design.
The nine-show series features homes in the Tampa Bay area, starting with Riverview and including Apollo Beach, Pinellas Park, Plant City, Ruskin, St. Petersburg and Seminole Heights.
The clock starts ticking with permits in place.
Once a budget is determined, clients explore ‘inspiration houses in their price range to pick and choose things that they love, from size to layout to finishes,” Mika Kleinschmidt says in the show’s opening minutes. Next, “we look at lots to determine what would work best with the house they want; then we set the deadline where we promise we will get the custom home they dream of in their budget.”
The work is a natural evolution for Kleinschmidt, a communications major and realtor gifted in art, and her husband, a creative thinker whose 2015 Doritos Super Bowl commercial contest entry fell one spot short of a national game day broadcast, earning him $25,000 for an amateur production he said cost $500 to produce.
After studying radio and television programming at the University of Central Florida — and some post-graduation work in sports entertainment marketing — Brian Kleinschmidt said he moved to Nashville, where he flipped homes “and lost every penny I had” during the Great Recession.
“I always felt that piece of life up there defeated me,” Kleinschmidt said, noting he weathered a divorce as well. “I just feel like I had to go through that kind of breakdown to get to my breakthrough.”
As a college student, Kleinschmidt spent spring breaks volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit that works with families to build and improve homes, recognizing that affordable housing plays a critical role in strong and stable communities.
“I love how I felt working with the families,” Kleinschmidt said, “building something with my hands that made a difference in their lives.”
Now, instead of dealing with the uncertain variables of flipping houses, Kleinschmidt and his wife of three years have been building homes on spec, with controlled costs and timelines. The HGTV chapter opened, Brian Kleinschmidt said, after a former boss’s wife, who had risen through the ranks of production, heard of the couple’s work and encouraged them to give it a go.
As a Riverview shark, Brian Kleinschmidt played football, basketball and golf; anchored the morning show; and studied with Daron Hawkins, head of the high school’s musical theater department and founder of Little Riverview Theatre. His first community theater credit was The Sound of Music, starring his mother, Ellen Kleinschmidt, a retired music teacher who was named Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year in 2005.
“I got emotional this morning thinking of Daron,” Brian Kleinschmidt said, in his Feb. 16 interview. “I wish he was here to see it. The biggest thing Daron Hawkins and theater taught me is the art of confidence. I feel with confidence and creativity you can accomplish pretty much anything.”
Mika Kleinschmidt said as a military offspring she attended four high schools, an experience that enables her “to adapt to all kinds of people.” She studied communications at the University of South Florida, met her husband through high school chorus, turned him down for a homecoming dance and 10 years later reconnected with him at a local gym.
Brian, set to open his first Anytime Fitness as a franchisee, had been secret shopping his competition when he reconnected with Mika, general manager of a nearby gym. They eventually owned and sold four Anytime Fitness locations.
Brian Kleinschmidt said he is aware some people say he and his wife are lucky. They see the top of the mountain, Mika Kleinschmidt added, but not the base, “where all the work is.”
“My motto in life is if someone tells you no, just take that ‘no’ as a ‘not yet,’ ” Brian Kleinschmidt said.
As for luck, that’s what happens “when you go to the convenience store and scratch off a winning lottery ticket,” he added. If you have a goal, “go for it, go big, and work your tail off, and never burn any bridges in your life connections.”
To view and learn more, visit “100 Day Dream Home” at www.HGTV.com. The show airs 10 p.m. Sunday nights. Episodes are available as well on the HGTV Go app and on various streaming services, including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV and Sling TV. With bonus features and pop-ups, “Trade Secrets: 90 Day Dream Home” also airs on HGTV. Visit the Kleinschmidts on Instagram: Brian at @mrbreakinground, and Mika at @mikamakesmoves.