Jonathan Knight lives the life of a rock star and a design star.
The New Kids on the Block singer spent most of the summer touring the country with his bandmates and filming episodes for the second season of HGTV Farmhouse repairman — the series that follows Knight and his interior designer partner Kristina Crestin as they renovate historic homes in New England.
“I would say this year was definitely a challenge because I basically had to be in both places at the same time,” Knight, 53, tells PEOPLE. “Of all the times New Kids has reunited, this has been the most dynamic tour schedule for us. There would be days where I’d get off stage at 11 at night, jump on a plane right after the show, fly all night, shoot all day, then get back on a plane and go do the next show.”
The New Kids 2022 Mixtape Tour, which featured Salt-N-Pepa, En Vogue and Rick Astley, traveled to more than 50 different cities in the US
“I think so [during] the whole tour, maybe I had three days off,” says the singer, who first rose to fame in the late ’80s with his NKOTB bandmates: younger brother Jordan, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood. “When I got home after the tour was over, I went into my room, closed the door and said, ‘No one bothers me until I come out.’ I think I slept for 48 hours straight.”
Despite the “crazy schedule,” Knight says he’s grateful for the experience that allowed him to pursue both of his passions: music and home renovation. “At this point, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this sucks.’ But I look back on it now and I’m proud that I was able to achieve it. I definitely pushed myself, but it was the best time. I’m just lucky to be able to balance both now.”
It helped, she says, knowing that Crestin was able to focus on their projects at home while his music life took priority. “The good thing is that Kristina wasn’t on tour because she’s not a big pop star,” Knight jokes. “I knew things were in very good hands back home. They were always a phone call away.”
One particular project that needed Knight’s full attention, however, was the home renovation he worked on for — and with — his own family. It is documented for his new season farmhouse repairman, which premieres August 25 on HGTV and Discovery+. “We moved a house on our property in Massachusetts, and my family was part of the whole process,” she says.
While Knight is no stranger to collaborating with family members—he and his brother Jordan have been making music and performing together for decades—he admits that their involvement in his restoration and design life has taken some adjusting.
“It was a little weird at first,” says Knight, who started renovating and flipping houses in 1994. “I’m so used to doing things related to new kids with my brother, but then, all of a sudden, we’re talking about kitchen sinks and more. But it was really nice to have him and the family on the show.”
Crestin, who worked to bring everyone’s different design vision and requests to life, says viewers will enjoy the interactions of the Knight family on the show. “Everyone will have to wait until the end of the season to see the reveal, but I think it will be one of the best episodes,” he says. “Seeing his family is so funny because they have so many opinions and things that they wanted. But it’s going to be amazing to see.”
Knight says he’s as excited to watch the new season as he hopes the fans are. “Christina and I haven’t seen the whole show yet, so we’ll be experiencing a lot of it with the viewers,” he says.
He is particularly interested to see the reactions of the owners again when their renovated houses are revealed. “Even though we’ve been through it, I get really emotional watching the owners see their homes for the first time. Kristina jokes that she’s going to make me cry, but the reveal days are really emotionally draining for the owners and for both of us.”
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Although their home renovations take several months and “a lot of hard work” to complete, the couple say it’s worth it when the owners finally see the finished and fully organized homes.
“On the morning of the reveal, Christina and I always went in early and did some cleaning and tidying up. And it’s just me and her in the house and we’re just like two giddy school kids full of excitement waiting for the owners of the house to come inside. ,” he says. “And that moment when they actually walk in the door, it’s so exciting and so relieving at the same time. You can finally breathe and say “we did it”.
Says Crestin: “When Jon says we’re cleaning at the last minute, that’s Jon and his nervous energy. He’s vacuuming and vacuuming everything—and it’s adorable because he just wants it to look perfect for them.”
Its second season Farmhouse repairman premieres Wednesday, August 24 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV and Discovery+.