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April 21, 2019  |  

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Travis and Felicia Gulick will be starring in an HGTV pilot, Former Glory, on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 1 p.m. Photo courtesy of Travis and Felica Gulick

Travis and Felicia Gulick will be starring in an HGTV pilot, Former Glory, on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 1 p.m. (Photo courtesy of Travis and Felica Gulick )

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Travis and Felicia Gulick will be starring in an HGTV pilot, Former Glory, on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 1 p.m. Here Travis takes a turn behind the camera. Photo courtesy of Travis and Felica Gulick

Travis and Felicia Gulick will be starring in an HGTV pilot, Former Glory, on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 1 p.m. Here Travis takes a turn behind the camera. (Photo courtesy of Travis and Felica Gulick )

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Travis and Felicia Gulick will be starring in an HGTV pilot, Former Glory, on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 1 p.m. Photo courtesy of Travis and Felica Gulick

Travis and Felicia Gulick will be starring in an HGTV pilot, Former Glory, on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 1 p.m. (Photo courtesy of Travis and Felica Gulick )

Shoreline Couple Hits the Big Time on HGTV

Published Feb 06, 2019 • Last Updated 08:27 am, February 07, 2019

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Travis Gulick grew up on the Connecticut shoreline and loves his hometown of Madison. He’s been working on historic homes in the area since he was a kid and, after graduating from college with a degree in historic preservation, headed back home to work in the family business, Gulick & Co. Renovation Contractors. His love for his town extends to his work as a volunteer firefighter with the Madison Hose Company # 1 and he also served a stint on the board of directors of the Madison Historical Society.

When he got married he convinced his wife Felicia, a New Yorker, to move to his hometown, where she runs her interior design business, Smith & Madison, and does consulting for Gulick & Co. She has a masters degree in historic preservation.

So they were thrilled, but it came as no surprise, when a producer approached them about two years ago to do a pilot for a HGTV show called Former Glory. Restoring homes to their former glory is exactly what they love to do. The pilot will be airing on HGTV at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14 and likely will be rebroadcast thereafter. If it does well and attracts a following, it could be picked up as a series.

They say the renovation, of an American Craftsman style home in Guilford, and filming was both exciting and exhausting, all the more so because they started the work when Felicia was six months pregnant, and finished filming when she was eight months pregnant. In September, they welcomed their son Jackson into the world.

“You can see me get bigger and bigger each time they filmed,” says Felicia.”It was an added challenge.”

A Passion for History, Renovation

Felicia is generally pretty hands on during all aspects of a project, even during the demolition, which a time when a historic home reveals some of its secrets. Travis took her outside, sat her in a chair, and made sure she stayed there. They’d find something, he’d go outside to show her, go back inside, find something else, go back outside.

“It was hard for me to sit there!” she says.

Near the end of shooting in the middle of July, when the days on the project would extend to 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., he also made sure she went home in a timely manner. Still, they both say everyone was very sympathetic, not only to the other important work she was doing as a mother, but also their passion for doing renovation in a historically appropriate way.

“They really wanted to highlight our knowledge, and that we knew what made the history of the house special, and what made it authentic,” Felicia says. “We know what the history of the house is and some things we are just not going to take away. We’re going to incorporate it into the design. Everybody wins that way, and future generations get to enjoy the history as well. Things don’t go away just because they are out of fashion this decade.”

They worked with producer Carley Simpson, who lives in California, for the project. Simpson, who also produced We Bought the Farm on HGTV, has a long list of other projects to her credit as well. After becoming familiar with the work of Gulick & Co., she gave Travis a call about two years ago.

“She talked with me and I said I have a wife who does interior design and we both have degrees in historic preservation with a specialization in older homes,” says Travis. “She loved the idea and we started the whole process.”

A Wedding, Too

Travis approached one of his clients, Mike and Stephanie in Guilford, and they loved the idea. Travis and Felicia asked that the client’s last name not be used, and that not too many of the details of the house renovation itself be revealed before the pilot airs. The project was a whole-house renovation, taking a house that Stephanie’s great-grandfather built and that had stayed in the family for generations, and turning it into something where a modern family could live comfortably.

In addition to the excitement of the renovation and of the Gulick’s baby, Mike and Stephanie tied the knot just as filming was wrapping up as well. The renovation itself ran from about May 1, 2018 to the end of July, and Mike and Stephanie got married in the middle of July.

The house was built in 1929 and was adorable, but had not been updated. There is now a new kitchen, a master suite, new bathrooms, and a new back entry with a landing zone.

“It was awkward and cramped, but it had great bones and all of those great memories for Stephanie,” Felicia says. Architectural details, including the iconic pillars and starburst door knobs, were incorporated as part of the final design.

“We wanted to give it all of the character that these houses are known for,” says Felicia. “They are known for their built-ins and woodwork, and we wanted to bring that charm through, and highlight what it had. But we also did not want to create a false sense of history. We saved what we could.”

Almost Like a Cooking Show

The house, originally 1,100 square feet, ended up at about 1,800 square feet. There were times when they had 15 workers or more, including plumbers, framers, HVAC experts, and more, all while being filmed.

“We had to have a running dialogue to explain what we were doing. It was almost like a cooking show. ‘Now I’m going to chop an onion.’ Travis has been doing this since he was a kid. A lot of things are just second nature. We were not used to talking our way through things,” says Felicia. “The same was true of me when I was doing things like peeling off wallpaper. I’d have the producer ask me 16 questions about wallpaper.”

It all worked out fine and within the timetable they set. They’ve seen bits and pieces of the production, and are looking forward to seeing the whole thing on Thursday, Feb. 14.

They say it would be great if the pilot gets picked up and they get to create their own show.

“If enough people like it and they get enough feedback, we might get to continue it,” Felicia says.

But, even if not, they are so happy they are getting to show off their hometown, and their shoreline that they love. “Travis grew up in Madison. He’s proud of this town. He got me to come to this town from New York. He managed to sell me on the Americana of this small town. This show is not just for us, it’s for the shoreline. We want to highlight this area and why it’s so special and why we love living here,” says Felicia, adding that she and Travis live in a 1710 Colonial. They not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.

“There’s always potential for it to go further, but if not, if this is as far as it goes, we are happy we’ve gotten this far,” says Travis.

Felicia agrees.

“If this is as far as it goes, we are still super proud.”

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