Alumni Association

New HGTV series set in San Antonio has S.A. resident and UTSA Alumna, Kim Wolfe (Spradlin) as host

Kim Wolfe beat a bunch of island castaways to win $1 million on “Survivor: One World” in 2012. So when she and her husband Bryan brought a Monte Vista colonial with her winnings and wanted to fix it up, it should have been a stroll on the beach.

If only there was an immunity necklace for tackling green shag carpeting and wood paneling.

“It was a disaster,” Wolfe said with a laugh. “But eventually we got there. That was kind of the jumping-off point for me. I realized how much I love the transformation process of that, and I couldn’t wait to do it again.”


The couple then fixed up three more houses to live in and sell. Wolfe sold her bridal shop to focus full-time on interior design and home renovation, opening her own business, Kim Wolfe Home, in 2018.

That career switch landed her back on TV in the new HGTV series “Why the Heck Did I Buy This House?”, where she gets her hands dirty and proves her mettle, this time against home buyer’s remorse. The show premieres 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Set in San Antonio, the city Wolfe has called home for 15 years, the show follows the self-taught designer and renovator around San Antonio as she helps frustrated homeowners fall back in love with the homes they hate.

Wolfe noted home buyers can get swept away by a standout feature, such as lush backyard or updated kitchen, and then regret their purchase when they feel stuck with a wonky home layout, dated fixtures or other kinks they thought they could live with or didn’t see coming.

That’s when Wolfe swoops in like a fairy godmother with an iPad and a nail gun.

Wolfe helps the homeowners on the show pretty much the same way she does all her clients. First, she meets them in that favorite part of the house that hooked them in the first place. Then she tackles their post-purchase woes with makeovers that give them a new home at the old address.


Wolfe likes to make the most out of minimalism with a design style that leans Southern and sophisticated. Many of her makeovers feature airy rooms with white walls, wood accents and pops of bohemian character for what she calls a perfect mix of high and low.

“I think a lot of times we just inherit the house and the spaces we get, and we don’t feel the license and (courage) to reinvent it,” Wolfe said. “(You need to) take the best of what you have and make it work for you, maximizing every square inch of potential.”

In the first episode, Wolfe helps Ned and Laura Hodge, a San Antonio couple who bought their Alamo Heights-area home for its idyllic backyard with peach trees, only to find themselves buried in a jungle of clutter with their kids’ stuff strewn about the house and a pokey laundry room that doubles as Ned’s office.

So Wolfe whipped up a new addition for the Hodges’ home with a masculine office for Ned and a spalike owner’s suite for Laura. She also overhauled the Hodges’ existing space with an open-concept kitchen and living area, which now offers a bigger view of the backyard that first stole their hearts.

Future “Why the Heck” episodes will feature San Antonio homeowners’ second-guessing their purchases after being wooed by a five-car garage, an acre of live oak trees and what Wolfe calls “a house that feels like a 1960s time warp.”

That eye for design includes plenty of hands-on action. Wolfe usually pulls up to a job site in her trusty pickup truck, where she pitches in to knock out walls, nail roof beams and pour concrete.

“I’ve never been like a super-girly girl,” Wolfe said. “I’ve always enjoyed getting my hands dirty. So I’m not one to just walk away and come back and say, ‘Wow, that looks great.’ ”

As for how much their overhauls cost, Wolfe said budgets ranged from close to $100,000 to just more than $200,000. The average home price in San Antonio is $361,889 according to the San Antonio Board of Realtors.


“There’s so little on the market and the prices are so high that I feel more and more people are turning back (to) their own homes and saying, ‘Let’s do this thing together,’ and ‘What do you want to be that you’re not?’ ” Wolfe said.

Before launching her own business, Wolfe worked for about a year at Kate Kingman Interiors in San Antonio.

“She just is such a go-getter, eager to work and learn, and has such a great sense of style,” Kate Kingman said. “And she was just ready to spread her wings and go do it.”

Wolfe got her first big break as a design guru with an appearance on the Bravo reality TV series, “Southern Charm,” where she renovated the home of cast member and fellow “Survivor” contestant and close friend, Chelsea Meissner.

The first season of “Why the Heck Did I Buy This House?” was filmed last year, with Bryan quitting his data analyst job at USAA to help Kim with bookings, budgeting and just about anything else Wolfe Home related while they raise their three children.

Should the show return for a second season, Wolfe said she’d love to see more of San Antonio represented. Because after living in more than a dozen different cities, not to mention a couple of remote islands, Wolfe has never felt more at home than she does in the Alamo City.

And there’s nothing like falling in love with home all over again.

UTSA Alumni Association
Katz Alumni Center
Bauerle Road Garage 0.302
Phone: 210-458-4133 | Fax: 210-458-7227 |