Couples that build homes together stay together!
Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas are husbands and stars of the HGTV series Bargain Block. In their latest season, which features new episodes throughout November, they take on remodeling projects in their adopted hometown, Detroit.
The couple moved to Michigan in 2017 when they learned about the widespread revitalization efforts taking place across the Motor City. It was a fitting metaphor.
Together for 10 years, Keith and Evan were looking for a new start in the Midwest. Keith, specifically, was in search of the loving community he couldn’t find in his native Texas.
“My family went sideways when I came out…I love the South, but family dynamic in the South is different,” he told People. “I was looking to rebuild and [Detroit] was the perfect place to come and do that…It’s the kindest place I’ve ever lived, contrary to its reputation.”
The co-founders of NINE Design + Homes, Keith and Evan also fight against LGBTQ+ discrimination in the construction community. That’s one of the reasons why their show is so important: it shows gay men thriving in a masculine industry that’s traditionally shunned them.
“I think anybody that takes a step into a world that maybe stereotypically doesn’t belong to them, there’s going to be some eyebrows raised. There’s going to be some attention,” said Keith. “But I think the key to what we’ve tried to do is make sure that it’s for all the right reasons. It’s all the positive elements that we can get across. We tried to do our best in making sure that what we are conveying on the show is as authentic as we can be.”
It doesn’t take many viewings of Bargain Block to capture Keith and Evan’s authenticity with each other. They have an easy chemistry, laughing and bonding their way through each project.
It’s easy to see why they work!
Queerty recently caught up with the handy husbands to talk about their perfect night together, the ticks that drive each other crazy and how their work brings them closer together. Here’s what they had to say…
QUEERTY: What’s your ideal date night?
KEITH BYNUM: Perfect date night would be what happened last night. We went to dinner at this really cozy place in Hell’s Kitchen. We grabbed a cannoli, and we went and watched Sister Act 2. It was like a dream night. Asleep by 10:00 p.m.
EVAN THOMAS: My dream date night is, I cook a fancy meal, and then we have mood lighting and watch a movie.
What drives you crazy in a good or bad way about each other?
Evan: The thing I like most about Keith is his joyousness, and his confidence in everything that he’s doing. He’s always so self-assured, whether it’s business, or whether it’s personal. He’s certain on what he’s doing, and I really like that. He also brings such a joy to whatever he’s doing.
Keith: Evan is incapable of telling a lie, and I think that’s my favorite part, and also sometimes the most annoying part. But that was what I think attracted me most, was I just knew I couldn’t pull one over him. Not that I was trying, but he was just too smart, and he was really, really honest. I loved that.
On the flip side, we’re talking to a client, and are like “the kitchen is going to be done tomorrow,” and Evan is like, “No it’s not.” And I’m like, “Just shut up!”
What’s the most romantic thing you’ve done for one another?
Evan: Back when we were long distance, I feel like we probably tried a lot harder on the romance side. Since I was living in Colorado, and he was living in Texas, we would meet up in Santa Fe and rent a cute Santa Fe place, and that was always fun. You had to journey to it, and that was a romantic vibe.
Keith: I don’t like gifts, typically. That’s not my love language. But I guess it was our second year together, Evan knitted me a scarf. It was like the worst scarf. It was so cute. Obviously he had learned how to make this scarf knitting with this particular scarf. I think it was just the fact he spent so much time learning something, and then making something with his own hands, I’ve never, ever let anything happen with that scarf. It’s in a special spot. I love that thing.
Was there ever a time when things got rocky, and how did you get through it?
Keith: My family, when I came out, disowned me, and that was a whole thing. But we had been dating for a year when I had came out to my family. When I came out, they disinherited me, I got cut out of my business. My mom, who I was extremely close with at that time, she was like “It’s him or us, and you make the decision today.” At the time, I had no idea what to do. I was long-distance dating, so we broke up for a little bit. I realized as soon as we broke up, that was the dumbest thing I had ever done, and I wound up leaving Texas at that point. Then after nine or 12 months or so, we got back together, and I realized all of the things he had said about my crazy family were true, and I had made the right decision to come back. It was really tricky for a couple of years.
How does remodeling homes bring you closer together?
Evan: I always feel like the way a relationship really grows is when you face adversity and get through it together. When you’re running a business, filming a television show and renovating abandoned houses all at the same time, there’s a lot of adversity that’s constantly happening. I feel like over the years of constantly facing all of those difficulties over and over and over again, and coming out on the other side, creates a certain strength to the relationship that I’m not sure we would’ve gotten any other way.
How do you guys like doing TV with each other?
Keith: It’s fun. There are days you want to have a conversation without a mic. There’s a lot of stuff that you have to think about when you’re always on. We also want to make sure we’re representing, we have to think about it in a bigger way than ourselves. You do have that position of representation on the network, and it’s important that we get that right. I think that’s important that we still authentic to ourselves. I think the show has allowed us to do that in a way that’s resonated with people.
Where do you see each other 25 years from now?
Keith: Mars! Building modular homes on Mars. I can see it.
Evan: I’m slightly more earth-bound on my view. I would say, 25 years, will we be retired at that point? If we are, some cottage somewhere with a lot of land. I would love to garden and farm my old age away.