Nicole Curtis's new memoir, Better Than New: Lessons I've Learned from Saving Old Homes (and How They Saved Me) ($28), looks at the challenges the HGTV star has overcome and lessons she's learned in her life through the lens of the home renos she's rehabbed. The book satisfies the curiosity about Nicole's life that fans have been craving, including her journey from a teenage Hooters waitress to a 40-year-old TV star, successful businesswoman, and mother of two. It's packed with 75 photos from her private collection — including never-before-seen snaps of her youngest son, born in 2015. Written in Nicole's signature down-to-earth but hold-no-punches style, the prevalent message is to always look at the glass as half full — or, more appropriately, look at the falling-down house as half standing.
We not only got an advanced peek at the book, but we also had a chance to talk to Nicole about it. Here are five fascinating things Nicole shared with us about Better Than New.
Why she decided to author a book
"I saw the reaction that people had just watching my show, and really just being that, if you can do this, I can do this. I really just wanted to take it a step further because there's only so much I can articulate on 22 minutes on TV . . . and in an area like social media, you can't really tell the guts of it. I didn't ever want my life story to be misconstrued by a tweet, so it was important that I got the proper word out there in a book."
How she describes Better Than New
"This one is like a glorified coffee table book with pictures, but there's words in it too that tell my story," Nicole told us, adding, "I think people enjoy seeing the projects, they enjoy seeing what goes into it, my transformation throughout the years."
What she hopes readers get out of it
"Anyone tackling a challenge can be like, 'You know what, I got this. I just have to keep the right mindset.' And for me, it's always been through making all these mistakes I make on every project. That's really made the difference."
What the writing process was like
"It was so raw. At the time I was pregnant, and then finishing up the book I had a newborn, I had a son turning 18. I would not recommend anyone rehashing the mistakes of their life during any moment like that, but it worked out."
Who the book is for
"It's not a certain gender that relates to my story, so I hope that it reaches everyone," said Nicole, quickly clarifying that while the book has broad appeal, it's not a young-adult read. "It's not a good read for your 12-year-old. Bring her to one of my book signings, I think that's a good experience for her. It's definitely not a teen read or a picture book."