‘Farmhouse Fixer’: Jonathan Knight Says Renovating Houses and Performing With NKOTB Have 1 Thing in Common

Farmhouse Fixer star Jonathan Knight is known worldwide as a member of the singing group New Kids on the Block. When he’s not on stage with his bandmates, Knight spends his time renovating old New England homes.

Knight recently gave fans an inside look at his “other” career on his HGTV show. According to the singer, renovating houses and performing with NKOTB have one thing in common.

Farmhouse Fixer host and former member of New Kids on the Block Jonathan Knight
‘Farmhouse Fixer’ host Jonathan Knight | HGTV

The ‘Farmhouse Fixer’ star had to ‘reinvent’ his life

Knight became super-famous in the late 1980s when he was just a teenager thanks to the success of New Kids. They recorded two platinum-selling albums — Hangin’ Tough and Step by Step — and toured around the world non-stop for about five years.

But by 1994, the band members were ready to go their separate ways. The group disbanded, and Knight thought his “career was over” at the age of 25. Then, he started thinking about how he could “reinvent” his life.

Jonathan Knight got into the ‘flipping craze’

In the mid-1990s, the house flipping craze was just beginning. Knight says a friend asked if he was interested in flipping a house with him, and things snowballed from there.

“It was so cool to be in Boston neighborhoods renovating houses that were falling down. We ended up going from house to house, then doing subdivisions and condos,” Knight told Architectural Digest. “It got too big. My heart wasn’t in new construction, so I ventured out with a business partner who does older houses with character and history, and I fell in love with it.”

The ‘Farmhouse Fixer’ star says his two careers have something in common

The 52-year-old singer says he’s always had a passion for design and architecture. He was actually planning to enroll in an architecture class when the New Kids suddenly hit the big time. It might not seem like performing on stage with a boy band would have anything in common with renovating homes. But, Knight says they absolutely do.

New Kids on the Block Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Joey McIntyre, Jonathan Knight (front) and Jordan Knight in 1989
New Kids on the Block: Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Joey McIntyre, Jonathan Knight (front) and Jordan Knight in 1989 | Michel Linssen/Redferns/Getty

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“Seeing the look of sheer joy on homeowners’ faces when they walk in is like walking out on stage to a crowd that’s just so happy to see you,” he says.

The New Kids on the Block singer renovated a property for himself

Throughout his real estate career, Knight has renovated over 200 homes. One of those is a Massachusetts farmhouse that he bought from his mother, who could no longer take care of the land. The singer and his partner, Harley Rodriguez, also restored the property’s 1700s barn.

After buying the two-bedroom farmhouse from his mom, Knight says he bought two more homes across the street. One was for his mother, the other for his sister.

“We have a little family compound!” Knight revealed. “My nephew got married in the garden shed and me and Harley planned an outdoor wedding last year, which got canceled. My sisters come help me plant vegetables and my nephews ride the lawnmowers. It’s a great hub for home and family.”

The ‘Farmhouse Fixer’ star reveals the biggest lesson he’s learned in home renovation

After renovating homes for nearly 30 years, Knight says he’s learned a lot. The biggest lesson, he says, is that the project is always going to be bigger than you expect. This is because there are so many things behind walls that people don’t think about. Knight calls it “the unsexy things.”

He says paint, cabinets, and doors are “sexy.” But the heating, roof, and electrical system are examples of the “unsexy things.” He says they once had a house where the whole back wall was eaten by termites.

Despite these obstacles, restoring old homes — especially the American farmhouse — is Knight’s “passion” and “obsession.”

“It’s so easy to just go knock down an old house. It’s way harder to renovate them so that families can enjoy them for years to come. That’s the reason this work is so worth it,” Knight said.

All six episodes of Farmhouse Fixer are available on Hulu and HGTV.com.