Eric Stromer: “My Kids Teach Me How To Be Better”

Named one of People magazine’s “Sexiest Men Alive,” TV host an father-of-three Eric Stromer has just launched A&E’s newest makeover show, Hideous Houses, airing Saturdays at 10 a.m. EST/PST. The hunky carpenter and his team scour the streets searching high and low to find the most “Hideous Houses” in the neighborhood and turn them into the town envy.

Also author of Do-It-Yourself Family, Eric opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about his new show, some of his easiest – and cheapest – DIY tips, and his family-of-five: “The best thing I ever did was get married and co-create the three greatest human beings on the planet.”

CBS: Tell us all about your new A&E show, Hideous Houses. We hear you turn local eyesores into the town envy. Tell us more.

ES: “My show Hideous Houses finds the ugliest, craziest, and worst looking houses in America. We have scoured towns across the country to find that one perfect home that is every neighbor’s worst nightmare! The best part for me is running up to the homeowner’s front door and screaming, ‘You won! Congratulations, you are the winner of a 4 day, $20,000.00 makeover!’ What they don’t immediately realize is that they won because they have broken every rule as it pertains to good aesthetics and balance!

Listen, I get it, I have three kids under fourteen. Houses and projects can become the last priority when two parents with crazy schedules are trying to work, do algebra, earth science, drive around like chauffeurs and try and find time for each other. But, there are some things that are just plain ridiculous and those are the issues we find, explore, and ultimately fix.”

CBS: Are you forever working on a makeover/DIY project at your own home? Does it drive your wife crazy?

ES: “I am forever starting new projects at home. I just completed the world’s greatest water feature using succulents and drought tolerant plants. Also an underground drip system that wastes no water through overspray. I am a huge fan of conserving water and thinking outside the box when it comes to traditional landscaping.

In southern California where I live, I’m seeing a trend in landscaping that speaks to water conservation that still looks beautiful and green but doesn’t require that you run your sprinklers 24/7.

What drives my wife crazy is that I am a great starter with all the best intentions but when she sees that crazy look in my eye she starts hyperventilating and preparing for more plastic tarps and everything covered in a thin layer of drywall dust for the next few months.”

CBS: We hear you are dad to three children. Please tell us their names and ages. What are they into? Do they all get along? 

ES: “The best thing I ever did was get married and co-create the three greatest human beings on the planet! My kids teach me how to be better. Wyatt is fourteen and a true artist in every sense of the word. He is a jazz drummer, actor and visual artist. He can hypnotize you with a drum groove, make you cry with a monologue, and take you to other worlds with his art.

Dusty is nine and has one of the tenderest hearts ever. Just when he breaks your heart with kindness, he drills a three point jump shot and you loose another game of horse. He is Abe Lincoln honest.

Willow is six and runs everything! She is so smart that I am actually a little afraid of her. If she puts her mind to something, s

he masters it then moves on. She hooked me with that father/ daughter deal and I just start doing stuff she wants before realizing that I’m getting worked again!

My kids all get along fairly well until someone actually has a point of view. Which is always! Kind of like the Middle East!”

CBS: Do you get the kids involved in your DIY projects at home? What are some of their favorite things to do?

ES: “My kids all understand home improvement. All of them have been checked out on power tools and are capable. I think it’s important to demystify power tools for kids so they understand the danger yet have a healthy respect for what they can do good and bad. Chances are if they know the dangers through supervised, hands on involvement they won’t mess around with them when they’re on their own.

The boys can build, paint, and do demo. Willow can paint and dig but her hammering is not quite there. I have a dream that someday Willow calls me from the line at the hardware store and says, ‘Dad, three of the girls in my dorm want me to remodel their rooms and I need some advice.’ Ah…heaven.”

CBS: Are you and your wife Amy excited about back-to-school? Did you have a great summer with the kids?

ES: “My wife and I got to the point where we needed summer to end or we were going to have to check into a psych ward! We travel to the Midwest every summer and water ski and sail until dark. We shift into turbo vacation mode.

We are active, try, have fun and are really there with the kids in the moment.

Now…once that ends and the kids are just sitting there in late August staring at us, expecting us to provide more entertainment, I’m done! Fun train left the station. Time for you kids to get jobs, earn some money and contribute or go to school!

My secret? The last week before school starts make your house the most boring place on earth. Chores, projects, work, toil, minutia. Guess what? School becomes like nirvana. I drop them off, wave lovingly and then fly home and have an actual date with my wife.”

CBS: What are some of the best tips to homeowners who don’t have a team of professionals sweeping in and remodelling their home? What are your best DIY tips on a budget?

ES: “If you are on a budget – and who isn’t – one of the best things to do is paint! An accent wall is about a two-hour project that can literally transform the feel of a room instantly. Well…not instantly, but like I said in about two hours. That one wall becomes like a virus and spreads good taste throughout the rest of the house over the next few months.

I think a project like painting an accent wall or even a whole room if you can make the time brings into focus not just how good the new color looks, but more importantly how bad everything else looks around it. Beware, that one small step breeds good taste and intention. Before you know it, you might even start to organize your garage!”

What’s up next for you?

ES: “I am syndicating my home and life improvement radio show HomeWizards. I also am about to start shooting my fifth season of GMC Trade Secrets on AOL. And I am trying to re learn ‘Algebra 1’ so I can actually help my kid with his homework.”

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