Local couple with real estate firm lands HGTV pilot

Updated: Jan. 5, 2016 at 3:21 p.m.

A local couple will show the country one episode at a time that D.C. is more than just monuments and Brutalist-era federal buildings.

The pilot episode of D.C. Flippers premieres on HGTV Sunday at 2 p.m. and will show off the District’s Victorian homes’ architecture in up-and-coming neighborhoods.

The show’s stars, Ati Williams and her husband Rob Williams, are both long-time District residents who own real estate brokerage D.C. Home Buzz and development company Honeycomb. On the show, the couple will flip houses in D.C.’s most charming neighborhoods.

Ati Williams said that the District is the perfect location for a show about home renovation because the city houses many centuries-old properties with “quirks and surprises.”

“There’s a pulse to this city that most people don’t know about,” Williams said. “It’s great because we can showcase D.C. in different ways other than politics.”

D.C. houses are different than houses in other cities that are often featured on HGTV shows because the District’s properties are smaller and more expensive, Williams added.

The pilot episode was filmed last summer and follows the couple as they renovate a rowhouse in the Petworth neighborhood that was formerly Rob Williams’ “bachelor pad.”

As they patch up the outdated space, Rob Williams works on the “guts” of the house – construction, HVAC and electric – while Ati Williams “puts on the lipstick” by designing the interior, she said.

Camera crews visited the house a few times each week for three months over the summer as the couple continued to revamp the space. Williams said she estimates that the crews had over 100 hours of film to boil down into a 30-minute episode.

Although the Williamses always noticed the camera crew’s presence, they were “never intrusive” and made sure the couple could continue their work authentically, Williams said.

Williams said she and her husband have been approached in the past by representatives from production companies who wanted to film the couple as they worked with their brokerage firm’s clients. But that work wouldn’t make for entertaining TV, she said.

“We weren’t interested in doing anything like that,” Williams said. “We kept telling them that we live a pretty boring life.”

When Half Yard Productions, a Bethesda-based production company, approached the couple last year about a renovation show, they were interested because representatives from the production company “asked the right questions” and wanted to feature their unique style, Williams said.

“I think my aesthetic is whatever feels like home,” she said. “I’m big on spaces that feel livable, especially because we have a dog and a kid, so I always want a space that is both beautiful and practical.”

 

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