Clint Robertson is a 40-something father from West Texas. He was an accountant before he got into construction. He moved the family sight-unseen to Coeur d’Alene several years ago, then fell in love with Boise and moved again.
Luke Caldwell is a 30-something father who grew up in Boise’s North End. He was a touring musician before he got into real estate. His goal was to make enough money to adopt children.
For business partners, they make an odd couple. So says the promo for the pilot episode of “Boise Boys,” an HGTV show airing Sunday that stars the men who own a local renovation company, Timber and Love.
“Otherwise known as the ‘Bert and Ernie’ of real estate, there’s not a house too dirty or damaged this hilarious and charming odd couple can’t fix together,” the network’s description says.
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“I’m wearing boots. He’s wearing skinny jeans,” Robertson said during an interview at a North End house they remodeled and now rent to Boise travelers through Airbnb.
Boise’s own Fixer Upper?
For HGTV fans, it’s a familiar dynamic: Two people team up to overhaul gross, ramshackle houses. One person is the hands-on talent, overseeing construction, finding creative workarounds, occasionally being the wet blanket when something just can’t be done. The other is the visionary, imagining a new floor plan, designing a kitchen that appeals to homebuyers, occasionally being the stickler for aesthetics.
Like other HGTV shows, “Boise Boys” will focus on the drama inherent in home renovations and the way their friendship keeps those challenging times fun and light-hearted, Robertson and Caldwell said.
The two Boise residents met a couple of years ago through a mutual friend. Caldwell had been investing in real estate but was feeling overwhelmed with the projects while trying to juggle his career as a musician. Robertson offered to help, no strings attached. Their partnership was so successful that they decided to go into business together, forming Timber and Love. (They say they work with “a lot of timber and a lot of love.”)
“We’re both Type A, really strong-willed,” Robertson said.
But their friendship and shared motivation — earning money to invest in their children’s future while improving Boise’s houses — make it easy to cooperate and lean on each other, they said.
So far, they’ve bought and sold between 20 and 30 houses. They consider it a big success if they make a 10 percent profit on each one. They sink most of those profits into the next project, buying each house with cash.
Just don’t call them flippers. Caldwell said they abhor the idea of just grabbing some laminate flooring from Home Depot, putting on a new coat of paint and calling it a renovation.
“We like to make the houses feel custom, and not like a builder-grade home that you buy out in Meridian that every person has in the neighborhood,” Caldwell said. “We like our houses to feel unique and special.”
They rewire and replumb homes that need it, and their goal is to be known for high-quality custom renovations.
“ ‘Flip’ is a dirty word to us,” Robertson said. “We’re kind of artistic renovators.”
They said each home takes 12 to 16 weeks to renovate. For the pilot episode, though, they crammed a renovation into eight weeks. They gutted and changed the floor plan of a 2,000-square-foot house on the far east end of the Boise Bench.
They filmed during Boise’s historic winter, which posed its own challenges. They couldn’t paint for a while because the temperature didn’t get above 10 degrees.
According to the HGTV.com episode description, Robertson and Caldwell choose between renovating “a dated farmhouse and a midcentury modern split-level. A surprise visit from a former resident of the home they pick and some of the worst inclement weather Boise has ever seen makes it a race against time to get the house on the market for a big payday.”
Robertson and Caldwell said they cannot say what they bought it for, spent on renovations or sold it for, because that is “part of the big reveal” and they cannot “spill the beans on the episode.”
Test run for a series
While they do have a long-term agreement with HGTV, they said the pilot’s performance will determine the fate of the series. If HGTV picks it up, it would be the cable network’s first series filmed in Boise, though some episodes of other shows have been filmed here.
If more episodes are ordered, their frenetic pace would continue through the first season. Timber and Love now owns about 15 houses, many of them on the Bench. That’s enough inventory to film between eight and 13 episodes for a season.
The pilot is “kind of like a format-type deal, see if the format works, if the draw is there,” Robertson said. “And we’re hopeful that we go through the contract.”
The production company they’re working with is High Noon Entertainment, which produced the hit series “Fixer Upper.” It follows the married couple Joanna and Chip Gaines through home renovations in Waco, Texas.
Robertson and Caldwell said the show will give the country a firsthand look at Boise and all its charm. “It’s ‘city’ first,” Robertson said.
And he sees Boise, right now, as a “Goldilocks zone” for home renovations.
The HGTV show’s pilot episode will air at 11 a.m. Sunday.