Saturday, November 24, 2018

...helping hands and bulging biceps: a hot and handy round-up.

In the midst of most home makeover shows, there’s that break in the design action, and in lumbers the carpenter, builder, landscaper, General Contractor, or mason. And then like that famous Diet Coke commercial, as they get down to business, we get an eyeful of some slow-motion table-sawin,' ax-swingin,’ lawn-tillin,' and dove-tailin,’ all in a pair of Cargill pants secured by a nicely equipped toolbelt. (Did I mention this post is rated PG-13?)

It’s a concept that started on the telly across the pond (and maybe in a few, um, “art films”): the Hunky Handy Man (HHM). The more upstanding TV version is the handsome supporting player who saws, miters and dowels designers out of binds and impossible TV deadlines, and in the process, often manages to upstage the main plotline with just a few minutes of saw-dusted airtime.
The roots might be traced back to “Handy Andy” Kane, the humble but handsome carpenter on Changing Rooms, the earlier and super-charming UK counterpart to our very own and recently rebooted Trading Spaces. But it was Trading Spaces that cemented the HHM as the ultimate American TV renovation fixture, a trend that catapulted more than a fair share of builders and renovators to their own spotlights, fanbases, and stand-alone shows.

So in honor of the return of Trading Spaces, and to celebrate the taping of its newest season, I’m rounding up my list of guys (and two gals!), any of whom could totally raise my barn. It’s a totally random, totally unscientific, totally NOT definitive list.

And while I’m not at all sure how some of these men (and two ladies!) would take to a Gay man in Manhattan objectifying them, rounding them up based not on the precision of their work, but on other attributes far less technical, it’s all meant as compliment, and all in cheeky good fun.

But to make my list, it’s not just looks: it’s demeanor. Because on top of 3% body fat and perfect bedhead (or bald head), my roster shares sincerity, sweetness, an easygoing nature, all without overselling their sex appeal.
Mark Bowe – Barnwood Builders  
Is it the drawl, or is it hot all up in this dogtrot? Mark Bowe, of DIY Network’s Barnwood Builders, is the epitome of country cool, with a downhome manner, a penchant for puns, and the aforementioned Cargills that make him easy to watch, whether he’s leading his team of southern mountain men as they take down an historic log home, or, well, as they take down an historic log home. Mr. Bowe could chink my logs any day. And speaking of logs...
"Jedi" Baker– Maine Cabin Masters  
On those summer jobs when things heat up in Maine Cabin Masters territory, the crew heads to the lake to cool off... and if you’re lucky, it’s an episode where Jedi gets a special slow-motion hair flip in late summer light, the water droplets showering the bearded Maine man as time stands still and... wait, what were we talking about? Ah yes, Jedi the carpenter who shies away from the very camera that seems to love him. The force is strong with this one... and there’s nothing sexier than someone, man or woman, who doesn’t seem to know how sexy they actually are.
Anthony Carrino – Kitchen Cousins 
Not that there’s anything wrong with the Other Cousin AT ALL, but Anthony Carrino is the  half of Kitchen Cousins who makes my list, if I had to pick one cousin for my desert or kitchen island. From the buzz-cut to the manicured scruff, inked arms and perfect philtrum (no, that’s NOT dirty), he puts the Man in McMansion. Anthony is that confusing kind of sweet/hot: he’s the guy who’d pick you up for your date on a motorcycle, and your parents would give him gas money. Curfew extension, please!!
Carter Oosterhouse – Trading Spaces
Sure, Ty Pennington was the first to lose his shirt (fairly often) on the original run of Trading Spaces, but I always crushed on Carter. Soft-spoken, genuine, even-keeled, and raven-maned, Carter might not have stolen the spotlight, but I’m pretty sure he stole more than a few of the TV viewers’ hearts, present company most thoroughly included.
Jason Cameron – Man Caves/Desperate Landscapes  
Are those tree trunks in your front yard, or is Desperate Landscapes host Jason Cameron just wearing shorts? Inside and out, Jason Cameron brings an almost Tom-of-Finland aesthetic to his projects, and ups that curb appeal just by showing up on the job site.
Ahmed Hassan – Yard Crashers  
The original host of Yard Crashers, he’s everything you’d want in a landscaper, host or eminently watchable-through-the-blinds hunky neighbor: handsome, jovial, talented. When’s Ahmed coming back to TV, DIY? I need my hedges clipped.
Jeff Devlin – Stone House Revival  
The quintessential Guy Next Door, Jeff Devlin is quick to laugh, always joyful about what he does, with a kind of retro Wholesome Handsome that makes you wish you had a stone farmhouse in need of some revivin.’ There’s also an “exposing your stone” joke here, but even at this point, I’m too much a gentleman to make it.
Mark and Theresa Clement – MyFixitUpLife  
Aside from being a total hottie, Mark’s a total laugh riot... which makes him even hottie-r. The only gent on the list I’ve had the good fortune to meet in person, the handsome half of MyFixItUpLife is passionate, hilarious, and an industry advocate for the Design and Builder communities.
Then there’s Theresa, the no-nonsense (well, maybe a little nonsense... she’s hilarious, too) hard-working Katy Perry look-alike and second half of this do-it-all duo, who’s become a lovely friend to me and many more on social media. Their combined looks make it seem improbable that any real work is getting done, but these two are seriously hands-on... and their social media streams are full of great tips and useful information, all with that wink, nod and sparkle I’ve come to love these two for.
Chip Wade – Curb Appeal  
Bald is Beautiful, Part 1. Chip Wade has now moved to the pages of HGTV’s magazine, giving great advice about when to DIY and when to DI-don’t, but he started on the airwaves, upping the curb appeal down south on HGTV.
Eric Eremita – Love it or List It
Bald is Beautiful, Part 2, Daddy Edition. He’s the best way to get bad news: bald and burly, Eric is the one who brings Love It Or List It's Hilary Farr’s designs to life... or sends her back to beg the client for more money when decidedly unsexy things like gas pipes and septic tanks take a bite out of the budget. He's part Pitbull, part Mr. Clean. Annnd, now I’m picturing Eric in a tight white T-shirt, and tight white pants. So as Hillary says, “Let’s move on, shall we?” But as for Eric, we’ll definitely Love It.
Marnie Oursler – Big Beach Builds  
OBVIOUSLY not a dude, but she makes my list for her natural, beachy style... and that’s as much her as it is her gorgeous renovations of classic beachfront properties up and down the Chesapeake Bay. Building is in her decidedly great DNA, and she knows her stuff, this genuine beauty who makes it all look good, sun-kissed and seemingly eternally happy, even when projects take a pre-commercial break turn for the worse. Spoiler alert: everything gets sorted after the commercial. 
Chase and Brock Jurgenson – Rustic Reno  
Oh brother, whereart thou? Another duo to both make the list, because we Gays like both our Bears and our Otters. These boys are perhaps the most sincere of all the list, but what would you expect from the land of ice-fishing, potlucks, hot dish and lute fisk? But like all things interiors, it’s the mix that makes it good: Minnesota sincerity, and Brooklyn-ready haircuts. PLEASE, Dove for Men, get Chase a contract. Preferably for body wash. And not because he needs it. Because I'm pretty sure he already smells like pine trees and sandalwood. Hot dish, indeed.

Well, THAT was fun. Which hot and handy person tops your list? Who did I miss? I'm MORE than happy to continue to ogle... er, GOOGLE, more of these gents and ladies.


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