Paddy Collins will tell anyone within earshot he is not made out for television.
The 1986 graduate of Lee’s Summit High School is a former aspiring golf pro turned master carpenter now morphing into a possible reality-star-in-the making.
Perhaps its hyperbole for Collins, now living in the Atlanta suburb of Powder Springs, Ga., but nevertheless Collins and the rest of the “Elbow Room” crew were awarded for their efforts June 20 when the show received a Daytime Emmy Award in the lifestyle program category.
“Elbow Room” is an HGTV reality program that features in each episode a family that has outgrown their home devise and undertakes a large-scale renovation, custom remodel or home addition that’s suited to the family’s living needs.
The show’s scheduled air times vary on HGTV’s website, but a marathon of episodes from its third season is on tap beginning at 8 a.m., July 8.
“What we do from my perspective as a carpenter is one of the most incredible things in the world,” Collins said recently via telephone from his home in Powder Springs. His mother and brother still live in Lee’s Summit and Collins has a sister that’s a resident of Pleasant Hill. “This large scale renovation that for any homeowner would be very stressful – marry that with a TV production and it becomes super stressful. Also, it’s a super-duper time constraint.
“We knock out these projects on average in about three weeks. Just the pure scope and size of the projects dictate that it should be a four month project, but because of the TV thing it’s accelerated.”
Collins was referred to the show by a friend of a friend of a business associate. He had built a successful carpentry business in Georgia through the years and the friend suggested he audition for a part another associate had to pass on.
He auditioned by displaying some of his craftsmanship and eventually got what he thought would be a behind-the-scenes role. Before long, Collins and the rest of the crew were spending time on-screen with the show’s host.
“I’m a carpenter,” Collins said. “I’m not a (television) personality. I don’t even watch that much TV.”
Reality television star or not, Collins and the rest of the cast and crew gathered June 29 at the behest of Chip Wade, the show’s host, to celebrate the win.
“In a project like this, being in close quarters and cranking out these projects on such a tight budget and time strain, you really do need to hang out with people you like,” Collins said. “Chip is probably one of the nicest guys in the world. He has a vision for what he wants to accomplish in this world and is very cleaver and he’s very, very good at what he does.
“He assembled this ‘Dream Team’ he likes to call it of talented people that have egoless personalities … it really is kind of a family, best friend kind of scenario.”
“I was fortunate enough with this series to hand select my entire team,” Wade added via telephone. “As important as it is to be very skilled at what you do it’s also very important to work around people with similar work ethic. Everybody that is on my personal staff I hand-plucked away from there own successful personal businesses to join the common cause. That’s how we are able to achieve the things that we do.”
And what attracted Wade to Collins’ skills?
“Paddy is the kind of guy that knows a little bit about a whole lot of different things which is very important,” Wade said. “I was a piece of that progression for him coming a little bit more to the forefront (of the show). I have no actors on my show. Anybody that is there just for the sake of personality will not last very long simply because we don’t have time to put up with people who are not team players and don’t add value to what we are doing.
“Paddy, because he is so integral in what I do, it kind of allowed us to be able to show our real interactions together. The fact that we have a nice, positive rapport with one another we’re able to be ourselves at all times.”