Suffolk builders on HGTV

Published 10:46 pm Thursday, November 20, 2014

Caleb Witten, Dan Toner and Trey Witten, who are from Suffolk, are from Tidewater Pro Build, which will feature in a HGTV show this month.

Caleb Witten, Dan Toner and Trey Witten, who are from Suffolk, are from Tidewater Pro Build, which will feature in a HGTV show this month.

Fans of HGTV can see a construction company owned by two Suffolk brothers transform a house in Virginia Beach later this month.

The producers of “Vacation House For Free” approached Tidewater Pro Build, owned by Trey and Caleb Witten, to be the contractor on the oceanfront duplex project.

During six weeks of filming, culminating in the second week of August, they essentially gutted the property and rebuilt it.

Email newsletter signup

“The crown jewel was a really expensive, nice master bathroom,” said Dan Toner, Pro Build’s chief marketing and sales director, also from Suffolk.

It was the company’s first reality TV program, Trey Witten said. When the producers approached them, “we just thought it would be a good opportunity to stretch ourselves a bit,” he added.

Getting the gig was “sort of a competition” between candidate contractors that were short-listed and then interviewed, Trey Witten said. “But the project was pre-bid, and they already had established a budget,” he said.

Being part of a TV show, it wasn’t such a straightforward project, according to Caleb Witten. A lot of it they had to pull apart and redo multiple times for the camera, he said.

“It really dragged the project out considerably longer.”

Pro Build subcontracted elements of the project, Trey Witten said, including the plumbing and electrical.

Show host Matt Blashaw “seemed like a pretty nice guy,” Trey Witten said.

“He was a surfer, and Caleb and Dan and I, and other guys we work with, are surfers. We kind of clicked with him straightaway.”

In true home makeover reality TV fashion, Blashaw would demolish a little of one section of the original interior, retreat behind the scenes for a shirt-change, then be sent for a little demolition to another area the producers were interested in filming, according to Trey Witten.

“When you watch the show, it looks like he did he whole thing,” he said. But Blashaw was “very knowledgeable and very capable,” he added.

“A lot of things had to be done in sequence, which was different,” Caleb Witten said. “We spent a lot of time waiting for the film crew to move cameras.”

Dan Toner said the emphasis was always on drama. “They created drama and stress that was not necessarily there in our other projects,” he said. “They make it a little bit over-dramatic; it’s just TV.”

The episode with the Suffolk builders airs Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. (Editor’s Note: This is an update from the originally printed date and time due to a programming change.)

Trey Witten added that — incidentally — a cameraman on the show, Brad Frizzell, is a fellow Nansemond River High School graduate.