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Minnesota sisters star in new HGTV series

"Renovation 911" stars a pair of Minnesota sisters who specialize in emergency renovations after fire, floods or other disasters.

MINNETONKA, Minn. — Minnesota was in the national spotlight Tuesday night as a brand new series premiered on HGTV starring two Twin Cities sisters. The duo is part owner of an emergency restoration company that specializes in fixing all things caused by disasters.

We caught up with Lindsey Uselding and Kirsten Meehan to talk about how they got into construction and how they ended up in showbiz.

“We are the kind of siblings that actually get along really well because our strengths are so different,” said Lindsey.

“She's so good at walking clients through this process, because it's a process, and it's emotional, and then I kind of take over when it gets a little bit more fun, and we get to start putting things back together, pick out the pretty stuff,” said Kirsten.

So how did this whole TV series come to be? Well, it started many, many years ago.

“Some of our earliest memories are driving around with our dad to emergencies. We have been literally doing this, it's in our DNA, since we were little,” said Lindsey.

Dad was the very first employee of Ungerman Inc, an emergency restoration company in the Twin Cities. At some point, he became part owner. Fast forward a couple of decades to when he sold his share of the company to his girls.

“They've taken it to a level that I'm just stunned at," said Ted Brinkman.

And while the women are the ones running the show, dad does make appearances on the television show.

“I show up once in a while if they want a laugh or something like that. I bring donuts to the show,” said Ted.

It was also some of his fancy phone work that helped the ladies land the gig. They think a cell phone video of a massive icicle on one of their jobs in St. Paul may have tipped the scales in their favor with producers.

“It was a three-story home, in the historic district, and it had a fire so the entire side of the home was open and an icicle had formed because it's winter in Minnesota,” says Lindsey.

Speaking of Minnesota, our state makes quite the impression in the series, too.

“Minnesota is a character in the show, there's just no way around it. Whether we are filming in the summer or winter we have so many elements to deal with just in terms of Mother Nature,” said Kirsten.

Our weather aside, there are other things that set this show apart. Emergencies, insurance claims, and navigating that process. Each episode features two emergencies — one big, one small — and two reveals from disaster to dazzling. 

But the thing that really makes this show different is the emotion.

"We see clients at their worst. Remodeling, you plan for it. You saved, you're mentally ready, but with an insurance claim, a lot of times you're not mentally ready, in most situations,” said Lindsey.

And that’s the key: It’s about more than pretty countertops and en suite bathrooms. It’s about making homes whole again.

“We're not just remodelers. We don't remodel houses, we restore homes, we restore families,” said Kirsten.

"Renovation 911" airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on HGTV.  Lindsey and Kirsten also started another company called Practical Home to help homeowners prevent some of the most common disasters.

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