Fans of Nicole Curtis and her restoration television show, “Rehab Addict,” eagerly tuned in to watch the season premiere of Season 8 on the DIY Network on October 4.

At the beginning of the show, Nicole read through the usual introduction, describing herself as “not your average flipper.” Then she took a few minutes to explain that this season would be different.

A post shared by Nicole Curtis (@detroitdesign) on Sep 11, 2017 at 1:13pm PDT

She turned to the camera and explained:

“There was a rumor that we were done, we were finished, and that I wasn’t rebuilding houses anymore. But the truth is that I’ve joined forces with Bobby, he’s now my lead builder and my partner […] and we’ve built a business just around our families’ schedules.”

In an email interview with Dearly a few weeks ago, Nicole explained her life has “changed dramatically” since she took a break from filming:

“I have always made family the priority and ran my own personal working hours around school schedules. In the past year, our lives have changed dramatically … I had a new baby and my grandmother grew ill and passed away … We added Bobby to our crew and his daughter is battling Stage IV Neuroblastoma. Just like that, it wasn’t business as usual. I was spending majority of my time in Florida and Bobby was, obviously, needed at home more.”

In the past year, Nicole has given birth to a baby, lost her grandmother, lost a family friend, and fought for custody of her baby. She’s also become an advocate for breastfeeding in public and for fighting childhood cancer.

A post shared by Nicole Curtis (@detroitdesign) on Sep 15, 2017 at 10:27pm PDT

Nicole wrote on her website last year that she wasn’t “made for TV,” and she wasn’t sure if she was going to return to filming after she had her baby. She told Dearly that she decided to start the show again, but she wanted to focus on her family and friends.

Since then, she’s made many changes to the way she runs her business:

1. Absolutely no regular hours. Whatever time works, works. From my office to the actual build. If someone is free at 5 a.m. instead of 5 p.m., that’s when they work. I know that I’m more productive when I am actually relaxed and not overextending myself — I’ve asked everyone who works with me to do the same.

2. ABSOLUTELY NO CONFERENCE CALLS. To put it bluntly, and honestly, they just suck. I’m a visual person and when I’m on a conference call, I guarantee I have the other parties on speaker and I’m muted.

3. I became reliant on simple things like Facetime and Skype. (We just did a whole house renovation where I may have stepped in the house a whole four times from beginning to end) I wanted to be by my grandparents’ side and that was in Florida. The projects could have stayed at a stand-still, but that wasn’t a great idea. Fortunately, I have some great people I have worked with for years who know our style and just get it done, but we also brought on some new crews and I only know them through Facetime, email, etc.

4. Lockboxes. Sounds silly, but for everyone. I say the key is there, go check it out or get in there and get it done. For too long, my sites ran from sun-up to sun-down. And it was a constant, “Okay, I’ll meet you there” type of thing. Again, technology is our friend. I say “send me a pic of what you see or need when you get there and call me” 🙂 Cause I ain’t leaving my house unless it’s an emergency.

5. We work when we work. My children come first. And it’s very rare to see me on a job site anymore, I’m literally home making play-doh. If I am working, it’s because my children are not with me that day due to circumstances beyond my control. This is when we film and I cram as much in as I can. Same thing with Bobby. When Tessa (his daughter) has a treatment, bad day, or just needs her daddy — he’s home. We have never been the show that produces projects like an assembly line and because I can’t guarantee the network episodes in that fashion-we get thrown into their lineup where they have space. So am I Prime time HGTV anymore, probably not, but the sacrifices we would have to make are not worth it.

6. Patience. I’m 40 now and a lot more patient than I was at 20. If something does get built wrong because I’m not there — it’s okay. We redo it. 🙂 And everyone knows that if they didn’t triple check with me, email, Facetime, camera pic, carrier pigeon, then it’s on them. If they did all that and I just screwed up the design, it’s on me.

A few weeks ago, her business partner, Bobby Prothero, lost his daughter, Tessa, to neuroblastoma. Nicole and Bobby had been campaigning for weeks to raise money and awareness of childhood cancer.

A post shared by Nicole Curtis (@detroitdesign) on Sep 24, 2017 at 9:20pm PDT

As previously reported by Dearly, Tessa’s loss was a huge blow for the team.

Nicole wrote on her website that the past few weeks “have been a blur,” but that she’s still focusing on sharing Tessa’s story to help other kids with cancer:

I’ve met a lot of children in my 40 years and of course, have two of my own, but this little one was such an old soul. Her smile, her laugh, it was completely captivating. To say that none of us expected this is an understatement. I can’t even add up how many procedures, surgeries, treatments, etc that she endured and came out swinging every time. If I had to put my money on someone beating the odds, it was our girl. I laid with her the Thursday before she passed and she said “nicole, come closer” I just remember thanking God for giving me the honor of loving her and held back my tears as I talked with her.

Bobby, Nicole, and other members of her team watched the new episode together.

Her fans wrote that the show simply wasn’t long enough.

Nicole explained in the episode that she was excited to be working with her team and to be returning to television, “Truth is, we love saving old houses.”

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