HGTV’s Cousins Talk AMDK Season 2 and Facebook Live
The first time I met the Cousins, John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino, it was for our March/April 2016 cover story. We met at Anthony’s apartment in Downtown Jersey City to discuss how the dynamic duo took their trade and personalities and translated them for TV. We also talked about HGTV’s America’s Most Desperate Kitchens (AMDK), which was set to begin filming season 2 just weeks after my visit.
Following months of anticipation, season 2 finally kicked off last night with a double episode premiere featuring two very different (but very desperate) kitchens. As usual, the guys transformed outdated, dim-lit spaces into something totally new, unique, and functional. This included a modern-industrial revamp at an Atlanta couple’s home, a design that focused on making the kitchen more functional while paying special attention to the family’s unique personality and needs.
One thing I learned from my first interview with Anthony and John is that they’re the same exact people you see on TV. And with so many shows now doing an ‘after show’ (Talking Dead comes to mind), the Cousins took it a step further, hosting their own Facebook Live chat following the show (something they will continue to do). During the session, the guys answered questions from fans and we even got a visit from John’s daughter, Lily. It was really a refreshing way to digress from the episodes and answer questions as opposed to having a host and/or guests.
In light of the premiere, we met with the Cousins a few days ago to chat about the upcoming season of AMDK. We visited Anthony and John at Talde in Jersey City, a creative Pan-Asian restaurant which they co-own. After indulging in a watermelon margarita and some Kung Pao chicken wings, we hung out with the guys as they answered questions about what we can expect from AMDK season 2.
Season 2 is here. Tell me about it, what can we expect?
JC: Everyone know us for our different designs, but I will say this, this season was fun. With a capital ‘F’. It’s hilarious, we made each other laugh constantly. Well, maybe I made Anthony laugh a little more.
AC: You did have some vocabulary issues. And you also got into an altercation with a window.
JC: An altercation, not an alteration. [Laughs.] We’re in our eighth season of TV now, we’re just so comfortable in what we’re doing. We don’t have our guard up. And as far as entertainment value, I think everyone is going to be laughing a lot.
What was your favorite city/location?
AC: A lot of people ask us what our favorite renovation was, which is difficult to answer because the landscape is so diverse. You go from Louisiana to Oregon, the architecture is so different. From a city perspective, the Pacific Northwest.
AC: There was a scheduling snafu and we ended up being there for a few extra days. We went hiking, saw waterfalls, got stuck in a snowstorm. The landscape out there is amazing.
JC: The climate is so diverse, you go 45 minutes outside of Portland towards the mountains and it’s a full-blown blizzard. You come down from the mountain and the sun’s out and it’s 55 degrees. It’s almost like, “What the heck world were we just in?’’
AC: The food scene there is unbelievable as well.
What made you guys do the Facebook Live thing?
JC: Leading up to this premiere, we’ve started to do this more. The interaction we get is just so much fun. It’s great because people really get to see and talk with us directly.
AC: It’s a rambling mess mostly, but we have a good time. Every week after the episodes we’re going to do a Facebook Live. It’s such a social media filled world we live in now, live-tweeting during the episode, Facebook Live after, etc. You have after shows like After the Thrones, well this is going to be like ‘After the Kitchens.’ [Laughs.]
JC: I like that, ‘After the Kitchens.’ But it’s fun because if you want a little more insight you can log on and chat.
That’s a fun way to do an after show, usually there’s a host and we don’t always get to hear from the cast.
AC: It’s fun when it’s the two of us. You never quite know what you’re gonna get. [Laughs.]
Do people ever question a design during the chat?
AC: Sometimes people don’t like a particular aspect and we’ve never been people to shy away from that conversation. Not everything we do is right, but you might not understand why we did something or what that particular family’s needs were. Design itself is always supposed to be a conversation, and it’s a very personal thing. To have that conversation, to us, it’s fun. It’s engaging and insightful, you know, like “Why didn’t you like that? Do you understand why we did it?” Some of the designs I wouldn’t do for myself but for someone who has kids, like John, it might make more sense. Each design is about them [the homeowners]. But we’re looking forward to it [Facebook Live]. It should be a fun little experiment.
JC: Yes. And I mean these kitchens, they’re not like kitchens where you can point out, “Oh they skipped this.” These are expensive kitchens. This season in particular is very high end. We do this custom wine rack, which is enclosed in glass. 350 and bottles! It’s insane, and it was very difficult to make.
AC: I may or may not have been cursing during that one.
JC: He was cursing. [Laughs.]
AC: This season, you’ll see these very over-the-top fun designs. But regardless, we always want to give people what they need, it’s not about imposing our aesthetic. It’s about the person or family. The only way to make a house a home is to listen to the people living there and then execute it with your level of skill so it doesn’t look like a hodgepodge. You take their likes and dislikes and decipher what will look best and make it all come together.
*New episodes of AMDK air every Wednesday at 8 p.m.