For many, television stardom is a lifelong journey that rarely comes into fruition. For others, a complete home renovation is an expensive dream that never fully takes shape.
After Leif Sogaard, a resident of Langley’s Poppy neighborhood, responded to a survey on Facebook – both become a reality overnight for he and his wife, Penny.
“That was my fault,” Leif admitted. “Penny went to bed early one night. I was board and started playing around on Facebook. I saw that the show was looking for houses to fix up in Langley, so I just happened to apply.”
HGTV’s Worst to First (W2F) came calling to completely change the couple’s home last September for an episode of their second season.
“I didn’t know he had submitted an application,” Penny said. “Producers were coming over to take pictures and he [Leif] mentioned it just right before, and I’m thinking “what are you talking about?”.”
Hosted by contractors Sebastian Sevallo and Mickey Fabbiano, W2F features the duo assisting homeowners in purchasing and renovating houses around the Lower Mainland.
The Sogaards were looking to do some fixing-up already, but worried the inclusion of cameras, not to mention, a three month re-location, would completely disrupt their entire life.
“The crew came out, took pictures and short meetings,” Penny explained. “We went through a casting session which they sent off to L.A. to see if we were TV people. We don’t go on TV. Other people do that! So we figured they’re not going to pick us. That part was just way out of my comfort zone.”
It was Leif and Penny’s daughter that insisted this was going to be “an experience.” After weighing the options, the Sogaards jumped on board.
“Ours was already the worst house on the block,” Leif said, “so why not go for it? It was a full gut reno. They really helped us along because we had a vision already. The show refined it and made it a lot better.”
The Sogaards are not the first Langley family to appear of W2F so far on the show’s run. Couple Jazz Mahi and Eesa Insan went through renos in 2017 for the first season, and instantly wanted to be involved a second time.
Brother’s Dave and Dan Smith were the subject of last week’s episode, in which the team searched for a rancher house near their childhood home.
With the experience finalized, the Sogaards moved in with their son while the W2F crew took over their home for three months – sawing and grinding away till the big reveal at the end of April.
Penny described the period when they weren’t allowed to even have a look at the construction site as “a long anxious wait spent envisioning what it was going to be.”
“We love it,” both agreed.
“Our kitchen is spectacular,” Leif said. “They opened up rooms, moved walls and put a new front entryway. New roof. The inside is complete different.”
Leif also added “people at the Langley Township helped a lot with the process – they made it easy by fast tracking permits so the reno could move along.”
The couple are still doing some minor work of their own to make their vision absolutely perfect, but now with nerves put aside and the “reality star life” behind them, the Sogaards tell anyone considering an W2F application to “go for it.”
The episode aired June 13th, which Penny said made them “cringe and laugh at the same time from seeing themselves on camera.”
New episodes of W2F air all month long, Thursday evenings, on HGTV.
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