Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas Are Remodeling Detroit and the Building World as LGBTQ+ Builders (Unique)

On their HGTV sequence Discount Block, Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas give uncared for Detroit properties new life and a second probability — the identical issues the neighborhood provided them once they moved there in 2017.

The fiancés have since reworked their neighborhood, brightening the realm whereas mindfully sustaining its affordability. They’ve flipped dozens of houses, with Thomas spearheading the development and carpentry efforts and Bynum utilizing his inventive eye to design interiors. Their buddy and costar, realtor Shea Hicks-Whitfield, lists their renovated properties and helps discover the right patrons across the space.

Detroit has paid them again in type.

The couple — who’ve been collectively for 10 years and engaged for 5 — moved to Michigan after studying of widespread revitalization efforts and located one thing even higher: a group that welcomed them for who they’re.

Bynum was particularly trying to find the sort of acceptance and group he didn’t have again residence in Texas, the place he tells PEOPLE he’d endured years of homophobia in his private {and professional} life.

“My household went sideways after I got here out…I like the South, however household dynamic within the South is totally different,” Bynum shares. “I used to be trying to rebuild and [Detroit] was the right place to return and try this…It is the kindest place I’ve ever lived, opposite to its repute.”

All through the years, the co-founders of NINE Design + Houses share, the development trade and the LGBTQ+ group have not at all times felt appropriate.

Thomas – who additionally has a PhD in Physics – didn’t begin working within the residence improvement area till he met Bynum, however the native Texan has years of expertise working within the building world that didn’t at all times settle for him.

“There was lots of nasty discuss in opposition to the LGBTQ group,” Bynum remembers of his time working as a foreman on initiatives in Texas. Though the hateful feedback weren’t essentially directed at him, he says the intolerance in the end grew to become the catalyst for his departure from the corporate. Bynum wasn’t, nevertheless, giving up on the trade. 

“That was the primary factor I stated after I left there,” Bynum remembers. “I used to be like, ‘In the future I will have a spot and it’ll not matter. It won’t matter what you might be or who you might be, no one goes to really feel like crap. That is not truthful.’”

Bargain Block HGTV


Bynum has realized that dream in entrance of a nationwide viewers, and he and Thomas are utilizing their platform to proceed breaking down obstacles.

“I believe anyone that takes a step right into a world that perhaps stereotypically would not belong to them, there’s going to be some eyebrows raised. There’s going to be some consideration,” Bynum tells PEOPLE. “However I believe the important thing to what we have tried to do is ensure that it is for all the fitting causes. It is all of the constructive parts that we will get throughout. We tried to do our greatest in ensuring that what we’re conveying on the present is as genuine as we may be.”

Evan Thomas and Keith Bynum, Instagram
Evan Thomas and Keith Bynum.

Keith Bynum/ Instagram

With a number of seasons of Discount Block beneath their belt, Bynum and Thomas have develop into native celebrities in Detroit. The staff of two says they’re typically acknowledged across the neighborhood, receiving random hugs from neighbors, encouraging thumbs up and enthusiastic automobile honks. “There’s simply been lots of assist. It’s been wonderful,” says Bynum. “We have felt lots of love.”

As their renovation initiatives have grown, the HGTV stars recruited numerous Detroit-based contractors to help of their efforts. Like their neighbors, Bynum and Thomas say their rising staff has been constantly type, which they see as a mirrored image of the town’s angle total. 

“You would not actually go as much as one other individual and inform them how they should reside. That is not likely one thing that may be a Detroit factor,” Thomas explains.

On the most recent installment of Discount Block, the pair are leaning into authenticity greater than ever earlier than, particularly of their illustration of the town.

“Detroit actually performs a a lot greater character on this season,” Bynum notes. “We get to dive in additional to Detroit and its wonderful artwork and its music and it is meals — all of the issues that make Detroit so cool.”

Season 3 of Discount Block premieres on Wednesday, August 23 at 9 p.m. ET on HGTV.

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