Why Now Was the Right Time for Teen Mom Alums Chelsea Houska and Cole DeBoer to Return to TV

Go ahead, bring on those Chip and Joanna comparisons! Teen Mom alum Chelsea Houska and Cole DeBoer tell E! News what it's like building their own HGTV series, Down Home Fab.

By Sarah Grossbart Jan 14, 2023 11:00 AMTags
Watch: Chip & Joanna Gaines: Any Couple Can Have What We Have

You know that idle fantasy you get when you've watch one too many HGTV shows? Like, I could totally flip houses. It can't be that hard. 

Yeah, Teen Mom 2 alum Chelsea Houska and Cole DeBoer are right there with you. 

"Even when we first got together, we would binge Fixer Upper and all those shows and I was like, 'This is so fun,'" Chelsea recalled to E! News in an exclusive interview. "And I'd always look at houses, like, 'Ooh, we could fix that up.'"

Then they did channel their inner contractors, overseeing the build of their South Dakota dream home: A sleek black farmhouse with a design aesthetic that embraces the belief there's no such thing as too much statement-making wallpaper. And, marveled Cole, "a lot of people gravitated toward it and we were like, well, maybe there's something here. We are really enjoying this and people like what we're doing, so let's just continue."

HGTV's New Shows: All the Details

Soon they were launching their own design business helping clients freshen up their homes. And before they knew it, they were reminding fellow travelers at the Dallas airport that their HGTV series Down Home Fab premieres Jan. 16 at 9 p.m. 

Approached by fans lamenting their two-year absence from TV screens while waiting to catch a flight, "I'm like, 'Wait! Now we've got our own show, you've got to watch it!" Cole admitted. Joked Chelsea, "It's so funny because he'll be like, 'Our show airs in five days, at this time.' We're just so proud of it."


And while the business owner—mom to Aubree, 13, Watson, 5, Layne, 4, and Walker, 23, months—truly has nothing but love for her 10 seasons in the Teen Mom franchise, "if I'm being honest," she admits, "we would never be like, 'Watch Teen Mom on Tuesday!'"

Of course, on her new series she gets to make feature-wall magic out of peel-and-stick wallpaper and a few pieces of wood, and hand-pick antelope-print carpeting for a dream family room space. And she never once has to talk about her old boyfriend from high school

"It got to the point where it was like, it didn't feel authentic to our life anymore," Chelsea explained of spending scene after scene on Teen Mom 2, ahead of their 2020 exit, detailing her ongoing struggle to establish any sort of coparenting relationship with Aubree's dad, Adam Lind. "Because that wasn't really our life anymore." 

Agreed Cole, "We never talked about that stuff anyway in our home, so having to do it all the time on camera? We were over it."

Now they're able to give a very real glimpse of their day-to-day life on the farm where Cole spends his time, say, crafting a replica of their house for the kids to play in, building a strong case for dad of the year honors along the way. 

"If we were going to come back to TV, I wanted it to be something lighthearted, feel good and be able to show our authentic selves," Chelsea noted, sharing why this move felt "so right." As she put it, "This was just such a cool opportunity to do that."

And if you're getting strong Chip-and-Joanna vibes, you're not wrong: The DeBoers offer a Midwest version of the Gaines crew with a little less shiplap and a bit more black cabinetry. 

It's a comparison that Chelsea, an avid Fixer Upper fan, is more than fine with, TBH. "I mean, the Chip and Joanna compliment is probably the biggest compliment that we can get," she shared. "Because it's, like, goals." 

And while they would admittedly be happy to talk shop with anyone in the HGTV universe, for now, noted her husband, "We want to just be accepted." 


The pair are excited to put their own rom-com worthy romance on display, one that began in 2014 with the requisite meet-cute at a gas station of all places. (They made eye contact filling up at adjacent pumps but didn't say a word and, well, you know how these things go.)

"I like that we're able to focus on us and show our personalities more," shared Chelsea. "People obviously knew us from the show, but this is just a whole other side. It's lighthearted, which we tend to be. We like to find the fun in literally any situation no matter what it is." 

HGTV, Baya Rae Photography

And, in case you're wondering, that hasn't changed since they started working side-by-side round-the-clock. 

"We still get along," Chelsea said, even admitting to missing her husband of six years when they're not filming together. "We're still best friends. Which I know is cheesy. But, I mean, it must work for us."

While Cole acknowledged some couples might be more of the absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder mindset, "We just have the best time," he said. "She's my comfort. So it just makes things easier when she's around."

Of course, juggling four kids, a new TV series, a collection of other projects and any ideas that might spout from Cole's always whirring brain isn't without its struggles. 

"We kind of thrive off chaos," noted Cole, who spent his years growing up in South Dakota helping his dad and grandpa with construction projects. Echoed Chelsea, "Sometimes the kids go to bed and we look at each other and we're like, 'Holy s--t. That. That was a day.' But that's just how it is right now and we're just trying to enjoy it. We'll probably miss these chaotic days."


Because the onetime single mom is well-aware that she's the living embodiment of #blessed. 

"I have pinch-me moments every day," she said of manifesting her dream life. "All I ever wanted growing up was a big family, a great husband and just a good family life. And so the fact that I have that and this opportunity to have the show is something that I'm so grateful for and I make sure to speak on my gratitude all the time. I think that's so important to acknowledge where you are in life and just feel grateful for it. So very, very, very appreciative."

Down Home Fab premieres Monday, Jan. 16, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV and discovery+.