Master home renovator Nicole Curtis first graced the TV screens in 2010, with the premiere of “Rehab Addict” on HGTV. She quickly won the viewers over with her passion for conserving old houses and her knack for giving salvageable items a new lease of life and usefulness.
In addition to the original series, Curtis also appeared in the spin-offs entitled “Rehab Addict Detroit” and “Rehab Addict Lake House Rescue.” However, her primary focus remained on the original “Rehab Addict” until the fall of 2018, when she decided to step back from the limelight for a while.
Just seen #OnHGTV…this gorgeous lake house renovation by Nicole Curtis and crew! Here's hoping we score an invite next summer…What was your favorite part?
Posted by HGTV on Thursday, November 17, 2022
Nicole’s unique approach to restorative architecture, coupled with an overly positive and gregarious demeanor made her a one-of-a-kind celebrity, especially in the field of construction work. Not only is she one of the very few women who are considered leaders of the industry in her line of work, but her achievements, immortalized by the series, continue to echo among architects and master builders, setting a new standard for experience and professionalism in their area of expertise.
Naturally, she picked up millions of admirers over the years, some fascinated, some enamored, and many both of those things. As Curtis’ co-operation with HGTV became uncertain eight years since her rise to fame, the masses expressed great interest in what would happen to her further down the line. They would ultimately end up pleasantly surprised at how things turned out for the unequaled reality TV star.
Who really is Nicole Curtis?
Nicole Lynn Curtis was born on 20 August 1976, in Lake Orion, Michigan USA. Her parents, Joan and Rod Curtis, owned a garbage business, and it was following them around town doing various jobs that Nicole began to slowly pick up her do-it-yourself skills over a long period of time. She has a brother, Ryan Curtis, who is an actor.
Nicole matriculated from Lake Orion High School in 1994 and went on to attend university in Georgia, Florida, and later in Michigan. She had aspirations to become an attorney but decided otherwise later on, as she realized that the study of law is a very particular pursuit only for those most dedicated to it.
Curtis worked many jobs to support herself throughout the early years, including waitressing at IHOP and Hooters. She apparently knew very well what to do with her hard-earned cash, as she purchased her first home at only 18 years of age. Her parents weren’t known to have had significant financial issues, so their daughter’s dedication to creating her own place in the sun stemmed entirely from personal dreams and aspirations instead of necessity.
Nicole’s passion for old homes and their preservation was also evident in the early stages of her life. She abhorred demolition and modernization, feeling that it’s a waste of effort and materials. Instead, Curtis preferred to restore any dysfunctional structure to its former glory, giving it the same functionality and beauty that it sported in its prime.
Her philosophy in this approach makes great sense to many, which is that most owners don’t necessarily want their structure turned into its half-robotic copy with all of the advantages of having been built in the modern age. In place of that, Curtis believes that a beautiful and seemingly brand new old house, for example, is actually more inviting than an AI-powered-looking metal box.
This passion led her to become an outspoken advocate for fixing and restoring buildings and homes, whenever that is financially viable and physically possible, instead of simply demolishing parts or in entirety. She also puts an immense emphasis on the cultural value of structures representing their distinct era or local community, espousing their obvious emotional significance as opposed to their brand-new and soulless replacements.
Tumultuous college years
Nicole’s life took an unexpected turn when she found herself in a romantic relationship that resulted in her becoming pregnant before even obtaining higher education. The father of her child was a certain Steve Cimini, a man with whom she shared a deep connection in spite of his irresponsible behavior.
Their relationship ended up crashing down when he was imprisoned for taking a person’s life while being drunk behind the wheel. He served an unspecified amount of time for DUI manslaughter, and Curtis obviously wanted nothing to do with that, causing her to eventually part ways with the man she once planned on marrying. Despite the end of pretty much all their future plans, Nicole chose to embrace motherhood as a completely separate entity, which was a decision that would significantly impact her life.
Nicole was studying law at the University of Michigan while carrying the child, which created difficulties in almost every area of endeavor. Aside from being greatly challenged by the prospect of early motherhood throughout the difficult years of higher education, she also realized that attending courtrooms wasn’t her calling.
Turning another page
Nicole then switched institutions and started pursuing a degree in elementary education, which she had, according to her own words, achieved ’87.5%’ of prior to abandoning that as well, upon realizing that the job didn’t really pay much. Giving up on something due to the lack of a financial incentive led her to understand that education wasn’t what she truly lived for, which ended up being the last nudge she needed in the direction of where she is today.
Nicole’s passion for design and architecture actually had her work for free at the outset, building her portfolio while simultaneously obtaining her real estate license. She began buying and investing in houses, and to make ends meet, she took up various odd jobs such as cleaning houses. Unfortunately for the newly rediscovered Curtis, a recession loomed right around the corner of her big decision, which meant it would be a while before she could fully dedicate herself to her desired craft.
The future reality TV star’s breakthrough came when HGTV discovered her online, and invited her to be a real estate agent in a series. However, Nicole, refused to conform to the script, and instead spoke what she truly believed about home restoration.
While it’s generally considered a horrible business move to turn down a lucrative offer from a world-class company, it worked the other way around in Curtis’ case, as this honesty caught the attention of curious and intrigued producers. She was then given her own series instead, and thus “Rehab Addict” was born, focused on restoring homes while preserving their original charm,.
Nicole shared some of her struggles in the aforementioned talk held at Indiana University Southeast, hoping to inspire the students to take on all of their hardships and succeed, regardless of what it takes, just as she did.
Curtis recalled nights when she cried herself to sleep, feeling dejected after being turned down for her dream job. However, she later realized that the rejection was a blessing in disguise, as it effectively saved her career. Had she landed that job, she would have been designing houses for someone else in an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which is far from what would’ve made her happy and fulfilled.
She thus emphasized to the students that the only person they must always believe in is their own self, and that no one’s words should be given the power to trample their passion. Had she listened to those who had less faith in her abilities, Curtis herself wouldn’t have been giving the very speech at the time.
Her success has also enabled her to return wealth to the community, and she thus created The Nicole Curtis Foundation, which centers on hosting open houses to collect donations for those battling cancer. One of its notable achievements includes raising enough funds for a family to stay home and care for their sick child, who was battling advanced cancer, for two years without needing to work.
A mother and businesswoman
Nicole’s first son, Ethan, was born in December 1997; she and his father were subsequently embroiled in a lengthy legal battle over custody and child support that spanned more than a decade. Curtis still somehow managed to raise the child while working relentlessly on her projects, often having him by her side on the many job sites she attended.
As an adult, Ethan acknowledges his mother’s hard work and dedication, and they appear to be on very good terms. Many fans also expect him to follow in her footsteps later in life, since he was, after all, raised in that environment. Whether he likes it or not, his childhood interests were greatly influenced by what his mother became famous for.
Nicole’s second son, Harper, was born in July 2015. His father is Shane Maguire, whom Curtis also eventually broke up from, this time not due to any crime having been committed. Much like her previous relationship, however, the second one also had a contentious and public legal battle over custody that only set both of the parents back in their other endeavors.
As for Nicole’s current love life, the last known relationship she publicly spoke about was with a certain Ryan Sawtelle in 2019. She seemed to ooze happiness and contentment in the relationship, displaying a distinct sense of calm that she had apparently never known before. However, as of 2022 it’s unclear whether they are still together, as the reality TV star hasn’t shared any recent pictures with Sawtelle.
Through the years, Nicole’s romantic involvements have proved to be complicated and briefly beneficial at best, not counting the children she produced with her exes. Most fans believe she is either too good for whomever earns her company, or that her interests and daily obligations simply don’t leave enough time for deep, meaningful dedication to a partner.
Nicole’s journey through the limelight
Curtis spent eight years taking on the role of a hardworking preservationist in “Rehab Addict,” breathing new life into old, dilapidated homes. She is known for her hands-on approach, often doing the demolition and renovation work by herself. The star’s incessant dedication to preserving the historical integrity of the houses she renovates has been a defining aspect of her career, making her stand out among the competition even after going off screen.
Nicole made a triumphant return to HGTV in 2021 after a three-year hiatus from television, with a new show entitled “Rehab Addict Rescue,” in which she helps homeowners who have taken on restoration projects of historic homes but eventually found themselves in over their heads. The series reflects Curtis’ commitment to preserving historical homes, and her desire to help others do the same, most of whom were inspired by her previous endeavors in the public domain.
Following her path
The star’s comeback was also publicized by People magazine, whose employees inquired about multiple aspects of her life up to that point. Regarding her work in the series, she insists that the families she helps must be fully committed to the process, adding that the experience of teaching them was enjoyable.
Curtis also confessed that she was utterly exhausted when she decided to step back from her show in 2018. The stress of constant filming, coupled with the responsibilities of being a single mother to her two sons, took a significant toll in the long run. Distancing herself from a rigorous work environment, and allowing time to deal with other issues, ended up being the only right thing for Nicole to do.
At the same time, while being embroiled in a contentious, years-long custody battle over Harper with her ex-boyfriend Shane Maguire, she also became an outspoken advocate for the rights of breastfeeding mothers. Her decision to continue breastfeeding Harper at age 3 drew criticism from some quarters, and became a contentious point even in her court proceedings.
This is due to the fact that leading health experts have determined that the healthiest way of raising a baby is to breastfeed them intensely for six months, after which they should slowly switch to regular food. It’s most beneficial for the child if they had long stopped drinking their mother’s milk by age three, but Nicole seems to also have her feelings involved in the matter.
She admitted to being nervous about having a show out there again, as well as simply landing back in the public eye. What helped at the time was the fact that she was doing everything on her own terms, determined not to repeat the chaotic ten years she previously had.
Curtis returned with a focus on remembering what truly matters in her life and what her real priorities should be. She expressed a strong desire to live life to the fullest, and gratitude that her fans appreciated and understood that. “Rehab Addict Rescue” premiered on January 28 2021 on HGTV and the Discovery+ streaming service, skyrocketing her into the media once again.
Find you someone that talks about you the way @nicolecurtis talks about historic homes ❤️🏡
— HGTV (@hgtv) November 4, 2022
She subsequently also appeared in “Rehab Addict Lake House Rescue” in 2022, which was focused on a very particular structure that was previously saved in its entirety by her efforts in the original show. Its three episodes displayed the entire process of fully restoring what used to be a scenic getaway surrounded by nature.
In addition to her television career, Curtis has also authored a book entitled “Better Than New: Lessons I’ve Learned from Saving Old Homes (and How They Saved Me).” Published in 2016, it offers a deeper look into her life and career, sharing personal stories and insights from her experiences in home renovation.
Seeing her string of returns for “Rehab Addict” spin-offs, most fans have concluded that 2023 or 2024 will also see her featured on television in yet another one, meaning that her career as a reality star is far from over. It remains to be seen what kind of title Curtis chooses to grace next, while she remains a committed mother to her sons.