Kathy Marinier has been trying to sell the house she grew up in on Marengo Avenue for almost two years. She’s on her third real estate agent and has been forced to drop her asking price several times.
Last week, Marinier met Jason and Gaetana Odom, a young Chicago couple looking for a home in the ‘burbs, but without much success. They too, have endured a lengthy process and have been through some 50 area houses.
The conduit in bringing these two together was, naturally, a local real estate agent. But in a most unusual fashion there was also a camera crew, director and television personalities attempting to broker a deal on the 1920s bungalow.
Cable television’s HGTV was in Forest Park last Wednesday shooting scenes for an episode of “Hidden Potential,” a program that pairs potential homebuyers with an architect whose job it is to reveal how three different properties could be remodeled into their dream home. Host Brandie Malay and architect Barry Wood said it’s nearly impossible to walk into the perfect house, so guests on the show are encouraged to consider less expensive homes and use the remainder of their budget to remodel.
“The more you do, immediately it is your house,” Wood said while taking a break from shooting.
Fans of “Hidden Potential” may recognize Wood from the hugely successful home remodeling show “Trading Spaces” on the TLC network. Unlike “Trading Spaces,” which Wood called the “mother ship for all these spin offs,” homes featured on “Hidden Potential” don’t actually undergo any renovations. Wood’s designs are all simulated on a computer and handed over to the buyer, should they decide to purchase one of the featured properties.
“The designs that Barry comes up with are spectacular,” Jason Odom said before touring the Marengo Avenue property.
Odom and his wife are looking for a three-bedroom house that will give them a little more space and a little more comfort than the typical three-flat found in the city. Gaetana Odom contacted HGTV several months ago on a whim, and didn’t believe it at first when a producer called her back.
“I was desperate,” she said.
The house at 1529 Marengo Ave. was the third to be featured in their episode of “Hidden Potential” and got the most favorable reviews from the couple.
Sharon Schwanderlik is the listing agent for the property and lives just a few doors down. According to Schwanderlik, the Odoms were impressed with Wood’s vision for the home. Whether the show results in a sale is yet to be seen, but Schwanderlik, a regular viewer, said the experience was a lot of fun.
“I’m always doing real estate and for somebody who’s always interested in real estate, I’m obsessed with these shows,” Schwanderlik said. “I almost wanted to ask (Wood) for an autograph.”
Marinier, who put the family’s house on the market following the death of her mother Alice Conway, said she’s looking forward to seeing the episode when it airs in about two months. In the meantime, she’s got her fingers crossed that a little TV magic will help her sell the house.
“We’ve tried everything else,” Marinier said.