Weekly Feature



2018-02-14 / Front Page

House flippers land HGTV series

by HOLLY N. LIPKA Reporter


Tj Miller, owner of Home Decor Staging Group in Amherst, stands next to rows of glass vases and figurines he uses to stage homes. 
Photo by Holly Lipka Tj Miller, owner of Home Decor Staging Group in Amherst, stands next to rows of glass vases and figurines he uses to stage homes. Photo by Holly Lipka Married house flippers Chris and Lorissa Naugle of Williamsville will be the stars of an upcoming HGTV series called “Risky Builders.”

The show will follow the Naugles, along with artist Blair Rusin of Art By Blair and Tj Miller of Home Decor Staging Group, as they revamp dilapidated houses and sell them for profit in the Buffalo area.

“We like to bring the life back to an old, vacant home,” said Lorissa Naugle. “We don’t just get store-bought cabinets and stick them in the kitchen. Our flips have cool design elements. We incorporate cool pieces into the house, like some type of shutter, and repurpose it, or reclaimed barn wood.”

Naugle, who designs the homes, likes to call her style “rustic glam.” On the show, viewers can look for metallic accents and a variety of hard surfaces including stone, tile and wood.


Chris and Lorissa Naugle stand in a dilapidated home in Buffalo. The couple will be featured in an upcoming HGTV series called “Risky Builders,” which will premiere later this month. Chris and Lorissa Naugle stand in a dilapidated home in Buffalo. The couple will be featured in an upcoming HGTV series called “Risky Builders,” which will premiere later this month. Miller, owner of Home Decor Staging Group in Amherst, will be part of the “Risky Builders” crew. In each episode, he will stage a home before it goes on the market. Miller has been selling real estate and staging homes for more than 30 years.

“The important thing is the feeling you get in a home,” said Miller. “We try to show what you can do with it.”

Miller said staging a home can help a buyer understand what room they are looking at, what the approximate size is and what the style is. On average, it takes him three days to stage a house.

He uses furnishings and decor items purchased from local vendors and from the Las Vegas Market in Nevada. During the five-day market, Miller sifts through 40 floors of furniture, bedding, lighting, wall art, floor coverings, housewares, home textiles and more to find the trendiest items.

“He really knows the style of a house,” said Naugle. “He will throw a lot of accents in there and bring in a color like teal or yellow to incorporate throughout the house. He ties it all in.”

Miller started Home Decor Staging Group in 1986. In the early ’80s, he owned several apartment buildings but was having trouble finding renters.

“My mom walked in one day and said, ‘This is boring; no [wonder] you can’t rent these,’ and I told her they looked like everyone else’s,” said Miller. “She said, ‘That’s the problem.’”

Miller’s mother decorated the apartments with items from her own home and interest picked up.

“Other landlords started asking me what my secret was. Then we began to help them set up an apartment for a cost.”

The Naugles started flipping houses 10 years ago. At the time, Chris Naugle owned and operated Phatman Boardshop, a snowboard and skateboard shop on Sheridan Drive, while Lorissa Naugle worked in banking and saved people’s homes from foreclosure.

“That’s when I realized I should quit my job and we should start flipping all of these houses that were up for foreclosure,” said Naugle.

Since then, the Naugles have flipped more than 150 homes and established FlipOut Academy, a series of workshops and seminars that teach people the process of flipping and selling homes. The academy has 30, 5-star ratings on the “FlipOut Academy” Facebook page and is located in Eastern Hills Mall in Clarence.

“We wanted to show people how they can trade hours for dollars,” said Naugle. “There’s so much more that you can be doing than working 9 to 5, 40 hours a week.”

Before securing an HGTV series, many houses the Naugles renovated were featured on the network’s “My Lottery Dream Home” and “House Hunters.” So when the couple filmed a demo reel and pitched a flipping show to the network, Naugle said they were picked up right away.

Naugle and Miller said they are excited to see their work go national.

“My mom, who unfortunately passed a couple of years ago, would’ve been really excited to see it,” said Miller.

“Risky Builders” will premiere on HGTV later this month. For more information about FlipOut Academy, visit flipoutacademy.com. For more information about House Decor Staging Group, call 603-5454.

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