Getting To Know The Cousins: Q&A
We caught up with HGTV stars, Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri— better known as The Cousins, and asked about their background and DIY expertise. Take a look at our Q&A below and see for yourself why Knauf is teaming up with these pros who know the ins and outs of home renovation projects.
How did you guys get your start in this business?
Anthony: After college, my father and I decided to go into business together. My father had been building and renovating all his life and I was always by his side. So naturally, it made sense for us to go into business together. We bought a brownstone in Hoboken and completely renovated it. We did 4 units in 12 months. They sold out in 1 week. The rest is history.
John: When I was in college, I was looking for a summer job that paid well and was outdoors. My uncle had a construction business in New Jersey, so I reached out to see if I could work for him. I learned so much at a young age by getting my hands dirty and working with true professionals. Once I graduated, it was an easy transition to start working for my cousin Anthony’s company as a project manager. That’s where I learned how to run big, multi-million dollar projects.
What is the coolest renovation project you’ve worked on?
Anthony: Last year I was able to use my 20 years of knowledge and experience to convert a historic firehouse from 1896 into my personal residence—complete with a fire pole and all!
John: There have been so many amazing projects we’ve worked on over the years. One that stands out is when we teamed up with the Ellen Show to remodel an entire home for a veteran that lost both of his legs during the Iraq war. We created an indoor jacuzzi to help with his training and everyday life. To be able to give back to heroes that have given so much is the ultimate renovation project.
What’s your best piece of advice for a DIYer?
Anthony: Research and plan before you execute. I know HGTV likes to show us just jumping into the process, but that isn’t the right way to go about it. YouTube is a fantastic resource and so is your local home improvement store. Ask questions, plan out the project, and it will come out much better in the end.
John: The biggest piece of advice I can give is to know your limits. There are many things you can tackle yourself, but when it gets into mechanical work like plumbing or HVAC, you should call in a professional to handle these jobs.
What is the best indication that a house needs insulation?
Anthony: One of the best ways to tell if your house is well insulated is to look at your utility bill. If you have a high utility bill coupled with an uncomfortable room or space, like a bonus room, that’s a good indication that you can make an improvement. When it’s cold out, you can also look at your roof – do you have melting snow or frost, or ice dams? Then you know you have a specific area that could stand to have more insulation. For a more thorough inspection, hire a professional and have a proper assessment done. They use expensive thermal imaging cameras and diagnostic equipment to help determine where you need more insulation.
John: If a house isn’t insulated and air sealed well, you might see ice damming (and icicles) along the gutters and edges of the roof in winter time. This happens when the warm air from your house escapes through holes in your ceiling and melts the snow or frost on your roof. Ice damming can cause major issues with your gutters and your home’s exterior; air sealing and insulation prevents damage to your roof, and saves energy.
Can insulation really impact your energy bills?
Anthony: Insulation absolutely impacts your utility bill. Insulation and windows are the two MAIN factors that contribute to heat and cooling loss in a home and you have a lot more wall and ceiling space than window space… So you do the math!
John: Remember to make sure you have the correct R-value in your exterior walls and attic space. This will ensure your home doesn’t lose or gain heat, depending on the season. It’ll add up to a lot of savings at the end of the year.
Can you notice a difference in sound when walls are insulated?
Anthony: If you have ever been on a construction site the day insulation starts to get installed, you know the answer to this one is a resounding YES. Furniture and area rugs make a big difference in knocking down bouncing sound within a room, but insulation is the only thing that helps to stop it from going room-to-room.
John: By having the proper insulation you will hear a noticeable difference in sound attenuation between bedrooms and floors. We all want to have better sound characteristics throughout the home, especially when it’s movie night with the family!
What’s your favorite Knauf product?
Anthony: EcoBatt. It’s really nice NOT to be an itchy mess when you’re done for the day!
John: I love EcoFill blown-in insulation since it is designed for weatherizing and retrofitting existing buildings or new construction. It fills all the spaces and voids around wires in the attic space which allows contractors to quickly fill large spaces in residential attics.
When you aren’t on-site, what are you doing with your free time?
Anthony: Hanging out in the Catskill Mountains with my fiancé and our dog; hiking, cooking, and Jeep rides with the doors off.
John: When I’m not on-site I’m with my family or going to the gym. We all need to have personal time and something that puts us at ease. For me, the gym and working out has been my outlet for years.