- Speaking to Insider, “Home Work” hosts Andy and Candis Meredith refuted claims made against them.
- Magnolia Network pulled the show after some homeowners alleged the couple ruined their homes.
- The couple said the issues that arose were typical of construction projects and reality television.
Andy and Candis Meredith are sharing their side of the “Home Work” controversy.
On Friday, Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network pulled the couple’s show, “Home Work,” from its lineup and put it under review after some homeowners featured on the series alleged that the couple had gone over budget by tens of thousands of dollars and damaged their homes during the renovation process, as Insider previously reported.
On Wednesday, the Merediths addressed claims made by homeowners Aubry Bennion, Teisha and Jeff Hawley, and Vienna and Rob Goates about their “Home Work” experience in a statement to Insider.
The Merediths acknowledged some of their ‘Home Work’ renovations didn’t go according to plan
Andy and Candis said in their statement that the “Home Work” renovations took longer than anticipated in some cases. But the Merediths said the issues that arose were typical construction issues that were compounded by the nature of reality television.
As Andy told Insider, the Merediths worked as consultants on renovation projects on “Home Work,” while local, licensed general contractors did the actual work on the homes featured on the series. He said they acted as the go-between for clients and the contractors, which meant they took the brunt of people’s frustrations when issues came up — even if they couldn’t control things like contractors’ schedules.
“I think a lot of the anger and the hurt was focused on us personally because we were the ones in the middle trying to make everybody happy,” Andy said.
Andy went on to acknowledge that there was “a lot of truth” to Bennion’s allegation that they took on too many projects at once and that they did not manage the day-to-day operations of the renovation well because of their lack of experience. After sharing an 18-post tale on Instagram last week about working with the Merediths, Bennion told Insider the experience led to a slew of issues that she alleges lowered the value of her home and cost thousands to repair.
Candis said the timelines they set for the homeowners were unrealistic, adding that she takes “full responsibility” for that.
“I know that these people are hurt, and I know that renovation is hard,” Andy said. “We know how stressful it can be dealing with contractors in your house and budgets and timelines and things fluctuating. We’ll never minimize that pain.”
But he went on to say that the story that has been told about “Home Work” thus far has been one-sided. Candis added that they wanted to put out a statement now because the controversy has impacted the people who worked on “Home Work” and their children, who they say are being bullied at school.
Candis and Andy said they had no idea Aubry Bennion felt like her renovation ruined her home
Speaking to Insider on Friday, Bennion said she had issues with her kitchen renovation throughout the duration of the project.
But the Merediths told Insider while they knew she had some problems with the renovation, they didn’t understand the scope of her qualms.
Bennion previously told Insider that her kitchen renovation was supposed to take three weeks and cost $25,000.
The Merediths said the project ended up costing upwards of $45,000 and taking five months instead of weeks, but Bennion only paid them $13,000 directly. They said they then paid $32,000 out of their own pockets to complete the renovation on Bennion’s kitchen.
But Bennion said the renovation still cost her $39,000 in total, with a large chunk of that sum spent on fixing issues created during the renovation.
For instance, Bennion wrote in an Instagram post that the Merediths added a deck to the back of her kitchen but built it over a sprinkler system and created a drainage issue. Bennion went on to write that her home almost flooded because of the deck and that it lowered the value of her home. She told Insider she had to pay $18,000 to repair it.
Bennion also said Candis and Andy made a trip to Paris in the middle of her renovation in an Instagram post about her “Home Work” experience. In their statement, the Merediths said they went to France for a work trip for their Magnolia Network show, and that “production” paid for the visit. A source familiar with the situation said Magnolia Network was not aware the Merediths took a trip to Paris until nearly a year after it occurred.
Candis and Andy said they were surprised by Bennion’s public statements about her negative experience with them because of how excited she seemed about her new kitchen when they revealed it to her on February 20, 2020.
Bennion previously said on Instagram she would never show photos of her renovated kitchen on the internet “because it cleans up nice and, with the right filter, is worthy of every wow and word of praise for everyone who doesn’t have to live in it or had to live through what it took to get there.”
Bennion also said in her own statement on Instagram that she “feigned excitement” at the filmed reveal, though the Merediths think that excitement was genuine because Bennion continued to express happiness when she was seemingly unaware cameras were still filming.
The Merediths went on to say that there “were hard conversations and misunderstandings about this project and budget” with Bennion throughout the renovation, “but we were absolutely under the impression that we had resolved those issues together.”
The Merediths said they did not know Bennion had any lingering problems with her renovation until she texted Candis about her concerns about the project on April 28, 2020, more than two months after the reveal date. Bennion previously shared a screenshot of that conversation on her own Instagram. The Merediths said they have not heard from her directly since. Bennion did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment when asked about the Merediths’ claims.
The Merediths said they didn’t know Teisha and Jeff Hawley were dissatisfied with their renovation
They said their experience with the Hawleys was similar to the situation with Bennion.
Teisha wrote on Instagram that she and her husband, Jeff, gave the Merediths $45,000 to renovate their living space in four weeks. Ten weeks later, the Merediths told the Hawleys they would need an additional $40,000 to make the project work, Teisha said in a follow-up post. The couple ended up pulling out of the renovation.
“We had been living in our basement for months at this point including Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthdays,” Hawley wrote on Instagram. “We were exhausted, we had just been told all of our funds were used and our home was torn apart with bubbling floors laid.”
But, according to Candis, the project was nearly done when they told her not to come back, even if it didn’t look complete to the Hawleys.
“The first part — demo, rough electrical, rough plumbing, drywall, mud tape, texture — takes the bulk of your money,” she said.
Candis said she does think she could have communicated with the Hawleys better about what she could realistically do for their home, adding that she should have made clear to them that the materials they were able to use for the project wouldn’t be of the highest quality given their budget.
Candis also said that Teisha raised their budget to $64,698 herself after they had a “difficult conversation” about the project. She also shared screenshots of seemingly friendly conversations with Teisha and Jeff Hawley with Insider.
“We had no sense whatsoever that they were as dissatisfied as they claim,” the Merediths said. “We got within a week of completing the project when Jeff asked for a phone call.”
According to Candis, Jeff Hawley said on the phone call that he would sue her and Andy if their countertops could not be delivered by the coming Friday, which made her feel “threatened.” Candis said he pulled out of the renovation when she wouldn’t agree.
The Merediths said they have not heard from the Hawleys directly since February 20, 2020.
The Merediths also said that there were contracts set up with all of the “Home Work” homeowners that stated that mediation was supposed to be the first step if issues arose between the clients and the Merediths, but none of their clients turned to mediation.
The Merediths declined Insider’s request to provide the contract for review. The Hawleys did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The Merediths said they have not made money off these clients
One homeowner testimony that has come out in recent days that has raised eyes is that of Vienna and Robert Goates, who told Insider they gave the Merediths $50,000 from a loan for a renovation that never happened.
Candis and Andy have only paid back $14,000 of that sum to date.
But the Merediths told Insider they had given that money to their contractor.
They told Insider the contractor did not give the money back and eventually stopped responding to their messages, so they decided to pay the Goateses back themselves. The Merediths did not wish to share the contractors’ details with Insider for privacy reasons.
Andy and Candis went on to tell Insider that they agreed to pay the loan back, as well as the Goateses’ interest fees and legal fees.
They said they are still paying back the loan at the time of writing. Insider was able to review correspondence between Candis and the Goateses’ lawyer about the payments. The Merediths said that they have sometimes been late on those payments, but they are making them as they can.
The Goateses declined to comment when contacted by Insider for this story.
The Merediths don’t feel like the homeowners actually want to resolve their issues
Candis and Andy told Insider they are “frustrated” that the homeowners who have issues with them have not spoken to them directly.
“Although we acknowledge how difficult things have been for homeowners, we have always been available to discuss, and we would’ve been more than open to hearing how they were feeling to come to some kind of agreement,” Candis said. “We were always willing to try to make something better for them. And ultimately we genuinely just wanted them to love their homes.”
Andy said “it’s obvious” the statements made against them were “prepared and launched at us at a time to hurt us the most personally and not in a way to fix or to address the actual issues,” adding that they were intended “to take us down.”
“We’re not here to take away anything that they’re feeling,” Candis said of the homeowners’ experiences, adding that any renovation is tough, especially for a television show, and that the timelines “were too crazy.”
But “it is very hard for us to see the narrative being written on one side,” Candis added. “We’re just trying to say that we genuinely did everything we could in the moment.”
“We just wish they would have come to us before this two-year mark, when the network was launching,” Candis said. “And we really wish we could have worked it out.”
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