Flourtown family to appear on HGTV
One local family’s search for a vacation retreat put them in the national spotlight.
When Kevin and Robin Cottone, of Flourtown, set out to purchase a vacation home on St. Simon’s Island — located off the coast of Georgia — with a budget of about $300,000, they had no idea they’d be getting a call from their real estate agent asking if they’d like to be on TV.
The Cottones will be appearing on the Feb. 16 episode of “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” at 8 p.m. on HGTV.
According to the show’s website, “Each week we follow a family making their beachfront living dreams come true — on a budget! We’ll follow them on the house hunt as we discover some of the most surprisingly affordable beachfront locales that prove you don’t need to be a millionaire to live right on the beach.”
The show, now in its second season, has traveled as far as the Outer Banks, N.C., parts of the Pacific Northwest, the Gulf Coast, California and different parts of Florida, to film families as they make their picks.
For Kevin, a lawyer, and Robin, a second-grade teacher at Erdenheim Elementary, owning a home on St. Simon’s has always been a dream.
“My parents live on St. Simon’s Island,” Kevin said. “It’s a place I’ve been going [to] for years, since I was a kid. And we were interested in a property, and we contacted a Realtor about it.”
When they began reaching out to their Realtor, Judy Ballard, about possibly owing a home on the island in October 2013, little did they know that the network was looking for people just like them.
“At the same time, HGTV had reached out to all of the Realtors and had stated to them that they wanted to film a show,” Kevin said. “So they were looking for a good couple to do it with.”
Ballard contacted the Cottones and asked them if they’d like to be on the show, and Kevin said he thought it sounded like it could be fun.
Not five minutes after the Cottones gave Ballard the go-ahead to let the show’s producers know they were willing to appear on the show that Kevin said the phone rang with the producers on the line. They set up a Skype video interview, where the Cottones told their story that was later packaged together for the network executives to watch.
Generally, the network receives over 40 submissions from those looking to be on the show and only chooses about 15 at a time, Robin said.
One week after their interview, they got the call that they had been selected, and two months later, Kevin and Robin along with their son Corey, 16, and daughter Allie, 13, traveled down to St. Simon’s to begin filming for the next four days. Their son Brendan, 19, a student at Temple University, couldn’t make it, they said.
The long 12- to 14-hour days were tough, but fun, they said, adding that the producers wound up with about 26 hours of footage that had to be edited down to 23 minutes.
“It was a lot of work,” Robin said, laughing.
“There’s stuff you don’t realize that you basically have to do everything three times,” Kevin said. “The sound guy, every bit of background sound, he picks it up. And if there’s background sound, they basically stop it, and you
have to do it again.”
“We’re outside, a plane was flying by or a dog was barking, ‘stop,’” Robin said. “So it was very tedious. It was exciting but tedious.”
The first two filming days were spent looking at the four properties.
“It was surreal,” Kevin said. “I’ll put it that way. When we did the decision scenes, when Robin and I talked about the properties, about what we liked and didn’t like about the property, or when we filmed a scene where we met the Realtor and told her which property that we selected, we did that in public. So there were people around, and they’re filming us with their iPhones. I’m like, ‘Don’t waste your battery.’”
“If they think we’re somebody famous, they’re going to be disappointed,” Robin said laughing. “We’re not.”
The last two filming days were spent doing family activities in and around St. Simon’s, including bike rides, trips to the beach and a ride on shrimping boat. The footage had to look like it was taking place in the summer, so everyone pretended by dressing in shorts and Tshirts, despite the chilly temperatures in the 50s.
After filming was done and the Cottones came home, they said they were happy with their pick and couldn’t wait to see how it all turns out when the show premieres.
“We have no idea what they put in and how it’s all edited,” Robin said. “We’ll see it for the first time with everyone else.”
Follow Eric Devlin on Twitter @Eric_Devlin.