In 2018, social media star Jenn Todryk got an out-of-the-blue email asking if she wanted to host an HGTV show. She thought it was a scam.
“I was like, ‘this isn’t how people get on TV. This is silly,’” the Burleson native says. She deleted the email.
But HGTV kept calling, and eventually Todryk agreed to chat. That led to No Demo Reno, where Todryk renovates North Texas homes without major demolitions to the floorplan. It premiered in 2021. The first episode of season three airs September 14.
When the network reached out, Todryk had built a sizable Instagram following. She’d always been a blogger, sharing her life and family with her readers. But in 2016, she began posting more about her family’s custom home building and renovation process. She realized she liked the home design and décor niche. Her followers did, too.
At first, she only posted perfectly posed, magazine-style shots of her home to her Instagram, @theramblingredhead, which now has 1.3 million followers. But that was exhausting, Todryk says.
“If someone’s finger was in the photo, I would have to redo it, because there could be no life in this home.” So, she decided to show the mess. She posted “unfiltered” videos of her life, without makeup, goofing around with her family. Todryk says her followers were drawn to her unusual feed and her playful personality.
She carries that same mentality to No Demo Reno, where she is now an executive producer. In the show, she cracks jokes and messes around with her building crew, Manta Construction, while also creating beautiful spaces for her clients.
Todryk says she plans all the designs and makes the final decisions on how each space looks. Filming takes about six months. But pre-production and casting starts several months ahead of time. Casting is “quite the process.” Todryk says the show gets hundreds of applicants through social media and word of mouth. But she only takes clients within a certain distance from her home in Allen.
While that ensures Todryk can still be present for her three kids, she says the proximity of her projects is a priority. “I love being able to help the community that I live in,” she says.
We chatted with Todryk about the upcoming season, what “no demo” really means, work-life balance, her thoughts on popcorn ceilings, and more.
How did you develop the concept of No Demo Reno back in 2018?
It evolved. It was in the peak of Fixer Upper gaining its popularity, right? And [Fixer Upper] was the opposite, where it was changing all the floor plans spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. And so [No Demo Reno] was just doing the opposite. And it fit in with what I was doing in my own personal life, which is having an older home and working within the walls.
So what does “no demo” actually mean?
I’m not doing any structural demo. So, anything that has to do with the walls and the support and the original floor plan, I’m not touching it. We’re not adding on, we’re not moving walls over. Is there one per season that we acknowledge and break a rule for a specific need? Yes, there is one usually every season, like taking out a half wall or whatnot. But, again, we’re not changing the initial floor plan. That’s the biggest thing. It’s working with the rooms that we have, the way that they are, and then just changing the stuff on the inside.
You’ve been doing the show for three seasons now. What are some challenges?
What’s hard is just what’s hard in any job and being a mom and a parent: it’s that work-life balance. And sticking to boundaries, even if it makes people unhappy that day because I have one more thing that I’m supposed to shoot, and I can’t because I need to get home to put dinner on the table and get my kids off to their extracurricular activities.
Considering that work-life balance, you do feature your kids on No Demo Reno. How do you balance how much you show your kids versus how much you keep private?
The kids love the camera. I want that to be noted. My littlest is a little shy. She’s not in it as much this season because she doesn’t love it. I have a very strict rule: I don’t care what we had planned for filming, if my kids don’t want to film, they don’t film. And I will never ask them to do that if they don’t want to film.
This is my thing, not their thing. And I’d love for them to be a part of it. But they get a choice. And so, my four-year-old is not in it much anymore. But my older two love it. I’m glad they love it, because I get to share it and enjoy it with them. They think it’s fun to watch it on TV. There’s no negative for them. It’s just fun and happy. And so, I’m just careful. I see everything that goes into the episodes being an executive producer, and so I can gauge if I like something or how they’re portrayed or whatnot with views.
In the new season’s trailer, you tackle popcorn ceilings. Should people be getting rid of them?
Unfortunately, popcorn ceilings are one of those things that just age your home the minute you walk into it. It is the sad truth. Because it’s done with texture, paint can help it, but it’s still gonna be there and it’s still noticeable. It’s actually not hard to take off. I’ve done it many times now myself. It’s just really messy. You can rent a water sprayer—you literally spray warm water on it, and it makes it wet, and then you scrape it off, but it gets everywhere. And then you have to have someone come in and retexture. So, it is simple. It’s a simple thing to do. It’s annoying to spend money on it, but I would say it’s worth it.
What are other small changes that you think really pack a punch?
Lighting is a big one. Having a good light fixture not only instantly modernizes your space, but also adds value to your home. Hardware is a big one, which I know is popular. But not just cabinet hardware. Something that gets overlooked is door hardware: your doorknobs. All the hardware that you’re using every single day to walk into a bathroom or open the pantry. When that’s worn down, [it can] really age a space. And you can really set a design tone by switching those out. And then, of course, your furnishings—new furnishings, new furniture, even down to throw pillows—make a huge difference.
Speaking of throw pillows—they’ve sparked some controversy online recently, with some calling them wasteful. Thoughts?
One, I’m offended. No, I’m just kidding. I love throw pillows. I think we can’t knock things like that, because now you’re knocking a group of people that maybe they don’t have the budget right now to do all the tile and the countertops and all the lighting. And so, what can they do? They can buy $15 throw pillows and covers to really vamp up a space. I would never knock something that’s attainable to majority. I think it makes a lot of impact for a really small amount.
Can you address another controversy: You don’t show book spines in displays, which has annoyed some viewers. Why?
I really liked the clean aesthetic of it. And then on TV, it works, because up until now we’ve had to for copyright issues. Different networks do different things, but I’m always told to turn because [it’s] the author’s property, that title and their name. We don’t have clearance to air that, and so it’s a copyright issue.
Is there anything else about season three that you can tease for our readers?
I was really lucky, and I had clients that weren’t afraid of a little bit more bold design this year. We’ve got hunter-green tiles, emerald-green tiles, we’ve got black tiles on a backsplash. We’ve got really moody countertops, that dark stained wood, we’ve got really cool light fixtures. And that’s all because my clients trusted me and were open to anything.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.