What Fans Might Not Know About Mika And Brian Kleinschmidt From 100 Day Dream Home

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It can be challenging to stand out in the sea of home-renovation series populating HGTV. That said, one of the network's most popular shows in recent years has been "100 Day Dream Home," starring the husband-and-wife team of Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt designing and building completely custom homes for clients in the Tampa, Florida, area. The third season, which aired in 2022, delivered a whopping 18.1 million viewers. The fourth, debuting in May 2023, kicked off with a two-part special featuring an extra-extreme challenge: renovating a rundown beachfront hotel within their usual 100-day time frame. "Faced with a tight three-month timeline, they will overcome structural issues and budget challenges to demo and redesign both the interior and exterior — including the guest rooms, lobby, and outdoor patio — and create a dreamy waterfront oasis," noted an HGTV news release.

Clearly, the Kleinschmidts' collective star is on the rise at the network; they're among the HGTV personalities enlisted for a special series set to air in July 2023, in which they contribute to the design and construction of a life-size Barbie house in "Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge," a TV tie-in to the anticipated "Barbie" movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as iconic Mattel dolls Barbie and Ken.

To find out more about this fascinating couple, read on to discover what fans might not know about Mika and Brian Kleinschmidt from "100 Day Dream Home."

Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt met in high school but didn't fall in love until years later

Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt have been married since 2015, but their journey to the altar is just as fascinating as how they became HGTV stars. In fact, the future spouses first encountered each other when they attended the same high school. "It was love at first sight for me, but it took a little bit longer to convince her," Brian explained in an interview with The List, noting that his teenage crush on his future bride went unrequited at the time.

After graduating, both went their separate ways, eventually partnering with other people — and then both subsequently separating from those partners. More than a decade had passed when they wound up meeting again, this time sparking the type of romance Brian had longed for as a teenager. 

The way Mika views it, this is the way that everything was supposed to unfold between them. "Obviously we were friends in high school, we had some classes together, so it wasn't like that there wasn't a friendship that developed," she said. "It's just about timing. You've to go through your journeys in life and sometimes figure out who you are before you can actually have a substantial relationship."

They don't just build dream homes on television

Not only do Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt design and build custom homes on HGTV's "100 Day Dream Home," it's also their business when the cameras are turned off. Their company, Dirt 2 Design, does pretty much the same thing that Brian and Mika do on the show; however, the company website pointed out, their off-camera projects aren't quite as speedy as the ones seen on television, with the entire design-and-building process typically taking between eight to 10 months. 

The experience they gained via Dirt 2 Design actually led them to HGTV. Given that most of the network's series involve renovating existing homes, the Kleinschmidts realized that what they were doing was no less interesting, but far less represented on the network. "So we were building homes and we happened to be doing it pretty quickly, and we noticed that on HGTV, they weren't focusing on new-construction homes," Brian told Realtor.com, "and we saw that it was a niche that nobody was doing, so we said we might as well do it!" 

That said, there is definitely some overlap between the TV show and the company. According to Dirt 2 Design's FAQ, they don't do any open casting calls for "100 Day Dream Home," instead preferring to select projects that Dirt 2 Design already has underway.

Before getting into home renovation, they owned a gym business

It's often been advised to never mix business with pleasure. That was a memo that Mika and Brian Kleinschmidt apparently never got. As Brian told Realtor.com, before they joined forces to launch Dirt 2 Design, they were involved together in a whole other venture. "We've been in business together even before we started doing real estate — we were actually in the gym business," Brian explained, revealing they eventually sold the fitness business before switching gears to their current vocation.

Back in 2013, Brian already owned a successful Anytime Fitness franchise, and was in the process of opening two more locations. Even back then, two years before marrying Mika, he credited her with the business' success while discussing his fitness empire during an interview with Osprey Observer. "Our gym is what it is, and I am who I am, because of Mika McGee," said Kleinschmidt, calling her by the surname she used before they wed. 

According to Brian, Mika had embraced fitness and had lost what he described as a "significant" number of pounds. "I don't know if Mika saved her own life by losing all that weight," he said, once again praising her (while also offering a sneak peek into how he wooed her), "but I do know that saved my life by giving me hope and encouragement when I needed it most."

Brian's side hustle is musical theater

Fitness and building houses in a ridiculously short time frame aren't the only interests that Brian Kleinschmidt has pursued — he's also been exercising his acting muscles in local theater productions in Florida. One of these was the Manatee Players' 2022 production of "Titanic: The Musical," in which he was singled out in a rave review from Broadway World. "Brian Kleinschmidt is outstanding as the stoker Frederick Barrett; you knew you were in good hands when he sings 'How Did They Build Titanic.' You feel his wonder at the sight of the massive ship," noted the review.

That wasn't the only musical theater production in which Kleinschmidt has been involved. Nearly a decade earlier, he played the title role in the same theater company's 2014 production of "Tarzan." Brian's passion for fitness certainly accentuated his performance, given that his costume in the show consisted entirely of a loincloth. In fact, he told Sarasota Herald-Tribune, years earlier he'd auditioned for the same role in a Broadway production of "Tarzan," "and made it pretty far in the process in New York, but unfortunately didn't make it."

Some of Brian's stage credits include roles in the company's productions of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" and "Boynton Beach Club" (in 2015 and 2017, respectively). He was also involved in a 2008 production of "Evita" in Nashville — not as an actor, however, but utilizing his HGTV-endorsed building skills to construct sets.

Brian competed in The Amazing Race alongside his former wife

If Brian Kleinschmidt appears natural and relaxed on camera during episodes of "100 Day Dream House," it's likely because he's had some prior television experience. As anyone who watched the 15th season of the CBS globe-trotting reality competition "The Amazing Race" can attest, Brian was a contestant on the show during that season, which aired in 2009. He competed alongside his first wife, Ericka Dunlap, a former pageant queen who was crowned Miss America in 2004. Those same viewers will also recall that the couple got into a few times, succumbing to the inherent stress of racing through foreign locales. "We had some spats," she admitted to People. "We're a real couple with real problems," Brian added.

They divorced not long after appearing on the show, although Brian insisted "The Amazing Race" didn't contribute to the end of their marriage. "Things work out the way they're supposed to," he told Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 

Appearing on the show, he explained, presented some opportunities — but he decided to return to the Tampa area and enter the fitness business. "There were doors that were opened, but I decided not to walk through them," he explained. And while he didn't pursue any showbiz paths (although, as HGTV viewers already know, that would come later), he conceded that his celebrity from "The Amazing Race" proved beneficial to his gym business. "I think we got a little more attention because of the show."

Brian once pitched a toilet seat on Shark Tank

"The Amazing Race" wasn't Brian Kleinschmidt's only experience with television before coming to HGTV with "100 Day Dream Home." In 2015, he appeared on ABC's "Shark Tank," where he pitched the show's panel of investors a product he invented: EZPeeZ, a normal-sized toilet seat that converts to a smaller seat geared toward a child's potty training. "The idea came to me when I was potty training my daughter, and I couldn't find a good solution on the market, outside of those disgusting foam doughnuts that my brother and I were potty trained on 30 years ago!" Kleinschmidt — who was described on the show as a "dad-trepreneur" — told Orlando Sentinel

Kleinschmidt's "Shark Tank" pitch did not go well (via YouTube). While all the Sharks declined to invest, Kevin O'Leary offered the bluntest assessment of the product, explaining that he didn't see what problem the product was actually solving. Declaring EZPeeZ to be "a bad idea," O'Leary concluded his comments by quipping, "Brian, let's close the lid on this."

Brian, however, is nothing if not persistent. Despite being snubbed by "Shark Tank," he managed to launch EZPeeZ without the show's help; in fact, the product can still be purchased on Amazon. "Man, hindsight being 20/20, that's probably one of the best things that ever happened to my product," he later said of being turned down by "Shark Tank," in a video he made for Inventors Dream Team (via YouTube).

They worked together on their own dream home — but it was no walk in the park

One of the most memorable episodes of "100 Day Dream Home" was the Season 2 finale. As the episode's synopsis explained on HGTV, it marked a bit of a departure for Mika and Brian Kleinschmidt, as the project they tackled was actually their own dream home. 

As viewers will recall, they got it done, but it was far from smooth sailing. "We're our own worst clients, but we borrowed all of our greatest ideas and made them work. Our house is definitely functional for us," Mika told HGTV. While they were ultimately thrilled by the finished home when it was finally completed, in retrospect they admitted there were a few aspects of the design that they may have reconsidered. "I might not have done white grout in the bathroom," Mika said. "And I might be re-grouting the bathroom this afternoon," added Brian with a laugh.

Whether it's their own home or an abode constructed for clients, the Kleinschmidts prefer to build a place from scratch rather than renovate an existing home. "That way you're getting exactly what you want," Brian told Realtor.com. "A lot of these renovated homes are hundreds of years old, they have a ton of problems. So we like starting from scratch with everything brand-new, and giving the customer exactly what they want."

They won Season 2 of HGTV's Rock the Block

As the ratings success of "100 Day Dream Home" propelled Mika and Brian Kleinschmidt to the upper echelons of HGTV, the network gave the couple a big vote of confidence by adding them to the second season of "Rock the Block." That show, for the uninitiated, pits various HGTV personalities against each other in a renovation competition to see which can add the most value to one of four existing homes situated on the same block, while staying within identical budgets. 

Not only were they standouts on the show, they won the entire season by conquering the three other teams competing: David Bromstad ("My Lottery Dream Home") and Tiffany Brooks ("$50K Three Ways"); Mike Holmes ("Holmes and Holmes") and Alison Victoria ("Windy City Rehab"); and Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent ("The Nate & Jeremiah Home Project").

"This is surreal — one of the best moments of my life," Brian told HGTV while celebrating the couple's victory. "We knew we weren't going to out-design these competitors," Mika added. "But the whole time we kept going for functionality, and what we know adds true value — and it paid off." What viewers may not have realized is that the couple were actually still in the midst of filming "100 Day Dream Home" at the same time they competed on "Rock the Block," making a fraught situation even more so. "We survived it," Mika told House Digest, "but it was definitely challenging."

They've come to know just what their clients want

In the course of running their Dirt 2 Design business and filming all those seasons of "100 Day Dream Home," Mika Kleinschmidt and her husband Brian have definitely come to have their fingers on the pulse of their clients' wants and needs. In doing so, they've also learned how to tell the stories of how each house built on the series came into being.

"We want the viewers to see the story of the homeowners and why they need to build quickly and what homes they're living in now," Mika told House Digest. 

A large component of the process is meeting with the homeowners to determine what they're looking for in their dream home, and then figure out how to transform that nebulous notion into reality. In order to do that effectively, the Kleinschmidts must put aside their own opinions when making design decisions. "It's based on what's going to function for a family that's going to live here," Mika told Realtor.com. 

Mika and Brian starred in a Doritos commercial that he directed

Anyone who's read this far has learned that Brian Kleinschmidt is a part-time actor, former gym owner, and toilet-seat entrepreneur who's appeared on TV reality shows. He's also an aspiring director of television commercials, something that emerged in response to a unique proposal issued by Frito-Lay, manufacturers of Doritos chips. In 2014, the company announced the return of its "Crash the Super Bowl" campaign, inviting amateurs to create their own Doritos commercials, with the winning entry to air during the 2015 Super Bowl. 

Brian was keen, producing not one commercial but six, including one about a spelling bee gone wrong, another about a larcenous, shoplifting grandma, and even one in which he and future wife Mika starred as, respectively, an artist painting a model.

While he didn't win, that spelling bee commercial progressed all the way up to becoming one of 29 finalists. "It was a real family affair," Brian told The Observer News of how he came up with the concept. "My mom and dad and I were sitting on their back porch having dinner, brainstorming ideas. When I hit on the idea for the one I made, they both cracked up. Then we were all laughing. I knew right away it was the right one."

Their secrets to building a dream home in just 100 days

It's no secret that building a home from the ground up within 100 days is an enormously challenging endeavor. For Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt, the key to making that work on "100 Day Dream Home" is extensive preparation before the project gets underway. "It's really preplanning and having the homeowners ready to make decisions in regard to those interior finishes, flooring, and cabinets," Mika told Realtor.com.

Of course, actually being able to pull it off is something that's never guaranteed, and they have certainly faced their fair share of dubious homeowners. "A lot of them don't think we can get it done; they're shocked that we hit the goal," Brian told The Los Angeles Times. "That's the only way we know how to do it — all in and juggling multiple things at a time."

That juggling involves having different tradespeople all working on various aspects simultaneously, with extra workers brought in to speed the process (where a typical project might require three people putting up drywall, a "100 Day Dream Home" build would use eight). However, Brian was adamant that just because they do it fast doesn't translate into slipshod construction. "We're not just slapping these up for a TV show," he explained. "These are people's dream homes that they're going to live in for the rest of their lives. We make sure they're perfect."