What You Never Knew About HGTV's Keith Bynum

Keith Bynum, one of the hosts of HGTV's "Bargain Block," is not just a TV personality but a design-builder. In addition to constructing homes, he completely revamps houses in the worst conditions and transforms them into beautiful living spaces. His design aesthetic is creative, intriguing, and completely unlike any other designer you've seen on HGTV. Additionally, he is a talented, multifaceted artist who can create a stunning 3-D sculptural wall hanging just as easily as he can make an abstract portrait. "I love the creative. ... I like all of the artistic side of things," Keith told The List in an exclusive interview.

Watching Keith show off all his talents on "Bargain Block" leads us to wonder — just who is this guy, and how did he become one of HGTV's most creative stars? If you're anything like us, you're probably wondering the same thing. Below, we'll fill you in on some things you never knew about the star.

He started his own business at just 14 years old

It shouldn't be surprising that Keith Bynum became an entrepreneur before he could legally drive a car. Anyone who watches his show, "Bargain Block," can see clearly that he has an easy confidence and a lot of great ideas. But, still, owning a business at just 14 is impressive, even for someone like Keith. According to his company website, Nine Homes & Design, he founded a "nationally recognized retail and manufacturing chain" when he was just a teen.

Keith eventually sold the business, and it was then that he found his passion for home renovation. And although these days he's mostly known for his work rehabbing downtrodden homes in Detroit, he's still a businessman. On top of having a successful real estate flipping business, Keith also sells home goods, vintage wares, and art at Nine Homes & Design, which he co-owns with Evan Thomas.

He wasn't always sure flipping houses in Detroit was right for him

Keith Bynum and his business and romantic partner Evan Thomas flip houses on "Bargain Block," creating charm, function, and intriguing design that is affordable and accessible for the communities they work within. "Bargain Block is all about us taking multiple homes on a single block in Detroit and they're all abandoned homes," Evan explained to Out. "We renovate them, style them up and make them perfect for first-time home buyers."

Because the duo is so good at what they do, you'd imagine that this decision to flip houses in Michigan was a no-brainer. But as it turns out, there have been times when they've questioned their decision. In May 2022, Keith told Pride Source, "I think there were a lot of times in the last five years in Detroit we questioned if we were on the right path."

It seems like they were indeed on the right path, as viewers of the show and locals both love the way Keith and Evan focus on renovating homes while still keeping them affordable for first-time homebuyers. Rehabbing rundown homes hasn't always been easy, but the couple are proud of what they've accomplished. "Sometimes, it's finding the ability to take a step back and see how far you've come," Keith acknowledged.

His parents were not accepting of his sexuality

Keith Bynum doesn't talk much about his family on "Bargain Block," and there may be a good reason for that. "It did not go well when I came out," Keith told HGTV. "So they have essentially disowned me." Keith went on to share that as he's from the South, "being gay isn't the easiest thing." However, seeing David Bromstad, who is openly gay, have such a flourishing career on HGTV inspired Keith to embrace his own identity and follow his dreams. "Seeing [David Bromstad] on HGTV and Discovery Plus was really that moment for me. I was like 'I really can get this dream. I can do this. I can be on HGTV just like David did.'"

Additionally, Keith finds comfort in his partner Evan's family, who are supportive. "I would look at Evan's family to kind of find some normalcy, some calmness, and just some love," he said. Keith explained that he's also come to realize that his family's disapproval is their loss, not his. "It's not gonna hold me back from having a fabulous life and being who I am," he revealed.

He's creating job opportunities for LGBTQ+ people

When Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas started renovating homes in Detroit, they didn't imagine they'd also be paving the way for others to become involved in construction. But that's exactly what they did. They provided jobs and opportunities to LGBTQ+ carpenters and construction workers who are just beginning their careers. "It wasn't our intention in the beginning," Keith told Pride Source. "But it certainly became that we were doing that, too, and it was interesting to see the people who flocked to us because of that."

In an industry that tends to be associated with straight cis men, it's not always easy for LGBTQ+ folks to get their foot in the door. As Evan told Out, "We always try and be as inclusive as we can in our company. But Keith actually has a lot of experiences in the construction industry and a lot of homophobia and not super great employment opportunities for people like us." While some places gave Keith a hard time, Detroit was never one of those places. "We've always felt very welcomed and very at home there [in Detroit]," Keith revealed. But even if that weren't the case, though, Keith said they wouldn't have given up. "I don't ever let anybody dictate how I'm going to live my life," he said. "I don't think that that's something anybody should do."

Creating art helps him through hard times

One of the most interesting and unique parts of "Bargain Block" is seeing Keith Bynum's unique artistic creations. In every house, he creates a custom piece of artwork — a mural, painted portrait, 3-D art installation, or sometimes all three. It's no secret that he's one of HGTV's most creative home renovators. But his artistic flair isn't just useful for adding pizazz to the houses he works on — creating art is also therapeutic for Keith.

In more recent years, Keith reconnected with his mom, LaQuita Bynum, from whom he had been estranged. Sadly, just a month after Keith posted on Instagram about the two reconnecting, LaQuita died from cancer. Although his mother's death was surely difficult on Keith, he used art as an outlet for his grief. "The day I found out my mama had brain cancer I just couldn't do anything that day but paint," Keith revealed in an Instagram post.

Keith is 'overwhelmed' at the success of Bargain Block

HGTV has a lot of heavy-hitting shows and a lot of established hosts that viewers have grown to love. And with Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas as relatively new faces on HGTV, having released their first season of "Bargain Block" in 2021, there's always the possibility that the newbies just can't measure up to viewers' longtime favorites.

However, this was definitely not the case with "Bargain Block." In fact, according to WBD, "Bargain Block" was one of HGTV's top shows of 2022, alongside other hits like "Unsellable Houses" and "Rock the Block."

"It is really crazy to think about," Keith said of their viewership when speaking with Out. "We were at Pride and you see like a million people at once and that is really overwhelming. The fact that 20 times that have seen our show is kind of overwhelming." But in this case, it seems like the success of the show is the good sort of overwhelming. Near the end of Season 2, Keith teased a return to the network. And in late 2022, HGTV officially announced that "Bargain Block" was renewed for a third season.

He wants to have a 'memorable and special' wedding with his partner

One of the best parts of "Bargain Block" is the relationship between Keith Bynum and his partner, Evan Thomas. The two met in 2013 via Match.com and dated for a few years in Colorado, where they were living at the time, before they decided to move to Detroit together, according to Pride Source. On top of how successfully the couple works together professionally, it's clear that they have a sweet and supportive romantic relationship as well. Whereas Keith appears impulsive and spontaneous, Evan is logical and steady; when Keith gets excited about all the art and design possibilities, Evan is ready to provide the voice of reason and keep all the practicalities on track. These two seem to balance each other out in the most adorable way, and it's only natural that viewers have begun to wonder why they haven't they tied the knot.

Well, they want to wait until they have the time and energy to really plan out the wedding. "We are really, really swamped," Keith told Out. "I don't want it to be an afterthought. I want to have the time to put it together like we want. I don't want it to be big or crazy, but I want it to be memorable and special."

Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas were competitors on another HGTV show

"Rock the Block" is a show that features teams of established HGTV hosts competing against each other to add the most value to newly built homes. In its third season, it became the highest-rated show on HGTV. In the 2022 season, Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas competed against Mike Jackson and Egypt Sherrod of "Married to Real Estate"; Leslie Davis and Lyndsay Lamb of "Unsellable Houses"; and stars of "Fixer to Fabulous," Dave and Jenny Marrs.

The innovative duo did what they do best and decked out their home in unique finishes and designs, including oversized chandeliers, stucco-finished walls, and an artsy headboard made from sails — their house was no doubt the most artistic of all the competitors'. However, the duo failed to win the weekly challenges, since judges considered Keith's trademark creative designs to be a bit too custom for the average homebuyer. Nevertheless, the 5-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom house in North Carolina hit the market for a whopping $1.25 million.

He's a dog lover

If you've ever seen "Bargain Block" there's a good chance you've also seen (or at least heard about) Keith Bynum's dog, Belle. And if you happen to follow Keith on Instagram, there's a very good chance you've seen Belle, whether it's photos of her sprawled out on Keith and Evan Thomas' couch or curled up on Keith's lap.

Belle is undeniably part of the family. In photos, Belle can often be spotted snuggled up between Keith and Evan. She's even the star of their Christmas 2020 photo. And in April 2022, Keith shared a carousel of Bells photos on Instagram in honor of National Pet Day, captioning the photo collection, "In honor of National Pets Day, here are a few pictures of our furball! Love Belle so much." We're looking forward to seeing more glimpses of this precious pup in future seasons of "Bargain Block."

Keith was a guest judge on Battle of the Bling

"Battle of the Bling" is an HGTV special hosted by Todrick Hall and Kim Myles that aired in 2022. HGTV billed the concept as featuring "eccentric homeowners who've gone to great lengths to create the flashiest and most ostentatious houses in the country" — and that's just what it was. The hosts judge various houses based on just how out-there their designs are, as well as how difficult the designs were to install and pull off.

And for the finale of the show, hosts Todrick and Kim call in some extra help in the form of Jackie Seigal of "Queen of Versailles," Alison Victoria of "Windy City Rehab," and Keith Bynum. Together, the five HGTV hosts decide who wins the Battle of the Bling. Keith was perfectly suited to help make the choice, decked out in hot pink bedazzled blazer — a perfect fit for the show, if you ask us.

He's best friends with co-star Shea Whitfield

There's a lot to love about Keith Bynum's show, "Bargain Block" — from the unique, affordable designs to the very real chemistry between Keith and his partner, Evan Thomas. But one thing viewers can't get enough of is Evan and Keith's business partner and realtor, Shea Whitfield. Shea has a contagious positivity and a friendly, laidback vibe that's impossible not to fall in love with. And while it appears that Evan, Keith, and Shea are all friends on the show, you may be wondering if they're actually that friendly offscreen.

You'll be relieved to know that their friendship isn't just for the cameras. Shea captioned an Instagram video of the trio: "I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for the handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let's face it, friends make life a lot more fun!" Shea further revealed, "Friends are the family you choose" 

That love is equally shared by Keith, who posts frequent photos of himself alongside Shea. He even made a post to congratulate Shea on her own HGTV special, "Bargain Block: Bargain Buys," writing, "It's not every day that your BFF gets an [HGTV] special!!! ... What an amazing show it is too!"