summer home with samantha pynn

photo: tim leyes

Hello friends, I know what I'll be doing this evening at 8pm - will def be tuning in to HGTV here in Toronto. Mercifully I'm assured there won't be any deck wars or parties being planned by bored rich housewives or melodramatic confessionals by homeowners who got duped by some evil substandard tradesperson. Instead it'll be my old pal Samantha Pynn and her merry band of cottage makeover experts bringing the pretty to the wilds of cottage country for season 2 of Summer Home. The commercials have me hooked already (as did season 1, which was hosted by Karen Sealy). And so clever of HGTV to air this show just as we are brushing off the winter cobwebs and dreaming of warm day vacay spots.

Sam and I first worked together years ago as we schlepped and styled our hearts out to make pretty pictures. Things I know about Sam include: She will break into song or dance at any moment - but especially the particularly stressful ones. She throws an excellent surprise birthday pancake party with portable burners in an office boardroom with a sprinkler system. She likes pink. She is a juice fanatic. She is a mixologist who can psychoanalyse you by your drink order.

I caught up with Sam recently and hit her with a few Qs to get to the soul of her cottaging self (partly because I know Sam as a city girl through and through, so I wanted some insight into this new side of Sam).

Margot: What is your Tim Hortons order?

Samantha: Peppermint Tea. You know that back in the day on location shoots I would eat all those donut balls otherwise known as Timbits, but I am cursed with gluten-intolerance.

M: Name your Top 5 road tripping tunes (I'm hoping for some Gloria Gaynor)

S: Well maybe not Gloria Gaynor, but you know that I love Laura Branigan's
"Gloria", as well as Kenny Rogers "Coward of the Country", Olivia Newton-John
"If You Love Me", Billy Idol "Dancing with Myself" and Neil Diamond "Forever in
Blue Jeans" Those are the big repeat offenders - but I have thousands of songs on my iPod.

I do have new music too. My brother is cool so he fills my iPod with Lana del
Ray, Little Dragon and Lykke Li.

M: Which one are you most likely to belt out in the car while driving north?

S: I honestly sing all of them. I mean all of them by myself like a big nerd.

M: Favourite Card game?

S: Go Fish!

M: Best Board game?

S: Scrabble - but I never play seriously.

M: Jet ski, canoe, or high speed power boat?

S: Dock

M: Favourite dockside beverage?

S: Green vegetable juice.

M: Sunrise or sunset?

S: Sunset. I'm not a morning person!

M: How does the whole process work for doing a makeover for the show?

S: I always ask the homeowners to pull together an inspiration file so I can determine their style. Next, I visit the space with my team and just start blurting out everything that's in my head. I can usually stand in a space and know where it's going within the first five minutes. We pull together a floor plan. Next, my team of talented design and construction experts starts working on the space. Seriously, it's an army of people working at warp speed. We have thousands of meetings, and emails and texts. It's so much work, but the reveal "the moment of truth" is always worth it.

M: What's a behind the scenes secret you can share?

S: Behind the scenes it's hard work and pure silliness! Colin Hunter our
contractor is an absolute crazy pants.

I've never met Colin but I do know some of the other amazing team members Sam worked with, including Malcolm Patterson, Joel Bray, Lauren Flanagan, Laura Fowler and the team at RTR Media. All the best in the biz. For a video peek behind the scenes, check out the You Tube channel (and don't miss the restaurant takeover episode):

So, check out to find out what time Summer Home will be on in your area. Or join me for the Twitter play by play in the Eastern time zone - 8pm!