Meg and Joe Piercy learned the thrift and ingenuity that will be on display in the upcoming Chicago-based HGTV show “Renovation Goldmine” when the couple found themselves nearly broke and about to have a baby 10 years ago.
“A neighbor gave us a piece of furniture and Meg and I painted it, we listed it on Craigslist the next day and sold it for $80 and we were like, ‘Holy cow! Let’s do this again,’” Joe Piercy said.
The couple began foraging every place they could from alleys to Salvation Army stores.
“And every night we’d paint furniture and watch ‘Law and Order’ and ‘CSI’ and then we’d list pieces on Craigslist and it came to the point where buyers would be coming to our house every single night,” he said.
Meg Piercy was working at a nonprofit for at-risk youth at the time and Joe Piercy was trying his hand at home flipping — an endeavor that went sideways.
“And then we started getting a bit crafty and bought some tools and we just kind of taught ourselves everything by watching YouTube,” Joe Piercy said. “We had no idea what we were doing. But painting furniture was kind of therapeutic. We loved the before and after of it.”
They were living in an apartment in Uptown and began using their neighbor’s garage as a workshop.
“We had designers who started buying from us and they were like, ‘There’s a huge gap in the market for what you guys are doing. You need to make this legitimate and turn it into more of a business than a hobby.’ So we did,” Meg Piercy said.
They opened a tiny storefront near Montrose and Ashland avenues before moving to their current location at 2728 N. Elston Ave.
Their store, which flourished into a full-service home decor shop, is called MegMade — two words that Joe Piercy said were a natural fit and constant refrain as he bragged about his wife.
The couple have counted cast members of “Chicago Med” and “Chicago P.D.,” including Sophia Bush, as customers.
A regular stream of updates and DIY ideas posted to their Instagram account provided the exposure that led to the HGTV opportunity.
The show will feature the couple working with homeowners and contractors to rehab and redecorate up to five rooms of a home.
“Joe was made to be on TV,” Meg Piercy said. “His personality is ridiculously huge. For me, I don’t like attention as much as he does. It’s funny, if you put me in a photoshoot I am so uncomfortable, but if you put a video camera in front of either of us it doesn’t affect us at all.”
The first of eight episodes will air at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The first show will feature two homes, including the Roscoe Village home of a Chicago firefighter.
Meg Piercy grew up in Kansas City and attended the University of Kansas. Joe Piercy grew up in Champaign and attended the University of Illinois.
They met at a church function in Chicago and were engaged six weeks later.
The couple moved from Uptown to Portage Park a few years ago and now live in Schererville, Ind., with their three sons.
They plan on opening a store in Munster, Ind., this summer.
The couple, both 38, have yet to meet Alison Victoria Gramenos, the star of HGTV’s other Chicago-based show, “Windy City Rehab.”
One interesting factoid. Meg Piercy is not the most famous person in her family. That title would go to her nephew, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, a forward with the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.