‘Cheap Old Houses’ Host Reveals ‘Monster Midwest Mansions’ Is His Favorite Episode (Exclusive)

Cheap Old Houses has taken the nation by storm. This HGTV reality show is based on the popular Instagram feed by the same name and shows off some of the coolest historic properties in the nation. Ethan and Elizabeth Finkelstein tour the nation showing off these inexpensive finds and visiting ambitious homeowners who are working on remodels.

It’s clear that the Finkelsteins cherish old homes and want to help save them, one renovation at a time. But one particular project stole their hearts more than all the others.

‘Cheap Old Houses’ features different property types

Ethan and Elizabeth Finkelstein pose on the set of 'Cheap Old Houses'
Ethan and Elizabeth Finkelstein, hosts of ‘Cheap Old Houses’ | HGTV

Old houses come in all shapes and sizes, and the Finkelsteins want viewers to see them all. From grand old Victorians to mid-century modern dwellings, the show intentionally highlights properties from different time periods to appeal to all kinds of viewers.

As for how they chose the houses to feature on the HGTV show, these two home-loving hosts kept a few factors in mind. “I think we just wanted the most visual houses, the ones that would provide a variety of tidbits of information,” Elizabeth told Showbiz Cheatsheet. “So much of this show is about walking into different kinds of houses and educating each other about all the little nuances that make each house special and unique.”

She continued, “There are so many different kinds [of houses] and there are so many different ways to think about the particular style.”

One favorite ‘Cheap Old Houses’ project

Duncan Manor on 'Cheap Old Houses'
Duncan Manor, owned by Randi & Dave Howell, as seen on HGTV’s ‘Cheap Old Houses’ | HGTV

There are beautiful elements to every restoration featured on Cheap Old Houses. Ethan revealed that the pair does have a favorite property, which is being featured on the episode called “Monster Midwest Mansions.” Apparently, this project really lived up to that name.

“I think you can definitely quote me,” Ethan said. “[‘Monster Midwest Mansions’] is legit some of my favorite houses all season.”

“We’re showing this house called Duncan Manor,” Elizabeth continued. “They found their 6,000 square foot mansion in the middle of a field in Illinois; on our [Instagram] feed. They were living in a tiny apartment in Denver and went to a wedding… a month later, they were not living in the house, but were camping on the porch of the house while they fixed up the inside.”

The ‘Monster Midwest Mansions’ episode was emotional for everyone

The Finkelsteins had to fight a little to get the project put on TV. Then when they drove up to the house for the first time, they knew that effort was well worth it.

“There was a lot of crying that day,” Elizabeth recalls of meeting the Duncan Manor owners, Randi and Dave Howell.

“They were just like, you guys changed our lives and we’re like, you changed our lives,” Ethan agreed.

“It’s sort of like you meeting your sort of childhood idol, driving up the driveway to this house that looks like just rising out of the field like some sort of portal. We just drove into this magical place. It was pretty amazing,” Elizabeth said.

The episode all Cheap Old Houses fans must watch premieres Monday, Aug. 23 on HGTV and is available for streaming on discovery+.

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