With cable and broadcast on the wane, even streaming services like Roku have been getting into the original programming world.
So far, Roku has released a successful Emmy-nominated film about “Weird Al” Yankovic, leftover Quibi shows like Kevin Hart’s comedy “Die Hart,” Chrissy Teigan “Chrissy’s Court” and Martha Stewart’s “Martha Cooks.”
Now Roku has commissioned a home renovation series dubbed “Honest Renovations” centered around two close friends: actresses Lizzy Mathis and Jessica Alba. The first six episodes are now available on Roku. The company had such confidence in the show, it’s already been greenlit for a second season.
Alba and Mathis met eight years ago as moms, both of whom now have three kids.
During the pandemic, they created a content production company and created video themselves renovating and updating a house Alba was renting into office and shooting space.
“I love home design, interior design and renovating,” Alba told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week during a press junket in Atlanta at the Starling Hotel in Midtown. They pitched a renovation show to various companies and Roku bit.
Mathis said she came up with the concept of incorporating their viewpoints as moms into the equation. They then solicited families with kids outgrowing their spaces.
“We’ve been in these situations so we take from our own real life experiences,” Mathis said. “We get to apply them to the families.”
Mathis and Alba work with their design and construction team in each episode to help maximize storage and make homes more functional for families.
One episode features not one, but two sets of twins, and the challenges of giving them each their own space. “We got to know each of the twins as individuals,” Mathis said, including a trip to the mall to buy them clothing.
“The challenge was helping the mom let go and allow her kids to grow into young adults,” said Alba, who has experienced similar challenges raising with her own children. “My 11-year-old has told me, ‘I don’t want my seven-year-old room anymore!’” she said.
Mathis and Alba also try to carve out spaces for the parents to work on their own hobbies and enhance their own relationship, Mathis said. “Thinking about yourself is often not a priority when you’re parenting,” she said. “But you need places to have adult conversations and even your own self-care moments.”
The camaraderie between Alba and Mathis is palpable during the show. They tease each other constantly over their use of power tools, including a battle over the safe use of a nail gun. A scene where they are putting up wallpaper feels like a sitcom.
“We show you what not to do on the show, not necessarily what to do right,” Alba said.
“We can ride on each other because it’s all love,” Mathis said.
And watching these two moms knocking down a wall with mallets is amusing. “It’s a lot cheaper than therapy!” Alba cracks during the episode.
During one episode, Alba enters the scene visibly exhausted, a morning cup of coffee in hand, and complains about not getting enough sleep because her dogs have diarrhea.
“We just wanted to have the realness of our lives incorporated into the show and not such a pretty bow,” Alba said.
IF YOU WATCH
“Honest Renovations,” all six episodes available for streaming on Roku
Rodney Ho writes about entertainment for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution including TV, radio, film, comedy and all things in between. A native New Yorker, he has covered education at The Virginian-Pilot, small business for The Wall Street Journal and a host of beats at the AJC over 20-plus years. He loves tennis, pop culture & seeing live events.