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  • Personal and professional partners Keith Bynum (left) and Evan Thomas buy boarded up and abandoned homes in neglected Detroit neighborhoods and bring them back to life on their very own HGTV show, "Bargain Block." Photo: HGTV

‘Bargain Block’ Recap: French Country and Chez Shea

By |2022-06-29T19:05:58-04:00June 16th, 2022|Entertainment, Michigan, News|

In what appears to be the new thematic style of HGTV’s brilliant “Bargain Block,” which airs on the network Wednesdays at 9 p.m., Episode 2 of the show’s second season starts off with a Detroit montage that also featured a peak at the gay haven of downtown Ferndale. Then the camera pans over the northwest Detroit neighborhood that flippers with heart Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas are helping to transform before zeroing on their latest project.

Bynum, Thomas and their real estate partner Shea Whitfield take a tour of another bungalow, this one white with bright red trim and a roof that Bynum described as giving “patchwork realness, like Dolly Parton’s ‘Coat of Many Colors’” with multiple antennas on it. “Where others see a disaster, we see a potential dream home,” he says.

Thomas is described by his mate as a “construction guru” while Bynum serves as the creative force of the pairing. Once again, it’s as if the house speaks to Bynum and somehow tells him what it wants to be. This one will be “an homage to the French country” with warm tones of green and crème set against crisp white linens and rustic wood accents with exposed ceiling beams and “maybe even a stone brick wall.”

Thomas, of course, has to reel Bynum in a bit. The stone brick wall becomes a faux limestone finish over clay-colored painted walls. When Bynum is finished with it, it looks as good as the stone he was attempting to emulate. 

Before any of this is done, however, the couple had to rehome the cat that was occupying the house. They’re successful enough now that they can bring in help to remove the mounds of fecal matter the cat left behind. With each episode featuring two renos, not a great deal of time is spent on the actual transformation, and we go pretty much from disgusting demo to designing the finishing details. 

In the end, the pair netted a significant profit versus their initial purchase price of $25,000. Even after putting in another $60,000 in renovations, a $115,000 selling price left a profit of around $30,000 before closing costs.

This week’s second house is a new partnership. Whitfield and her husband purchased a home in the area for $55K that had been partially renovated already. Then they hire Bynum and Thomas to finish the reno. Bynum decides this house will be modeled after a Parisian apartment and dubs the house Chez Shea. He fills the house with velvet, rich colors and jewel tones popped in for effect. Bynum also does a complete mural on the bathtub surround and hangs a portrait he did of Whitfield in the living room.

Whitfield, not surprisingly, loves what the couple has done. The French chateau, which cost the Whitfields $55,000 came with a $30,000 reno budget (increased from $25,000 thanks to some ancient piping problems in the basement) and sold quickly for $99,000.

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael has been with Pride Source since 1999 and is currently senior staff writer. He has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author for his authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," released on his own JAM Books imprint.
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