“House Hunters” Season 162, Episode 5: If you haven’t watched it yet, DVR the episode because it stars one of Scottsdale’s very own.
Scottsdale born and raised Jessica Combest Veniard, along with her husband, Jay Veniard, and their five daughters were featured in the HGTV hit show earlier this month, on April 3.
During the episode, the Veniard family, with the help of Scottsdale-based Desert North Realty real estate broker Jacob Chapman, were in search of the perfect home in Ahwatukee, where their daughters attend school.
In the end, the family finally settled on a 3,500-square-foot Mediterranean home for $465,000 in Mountain Park Ranch.
Jessica applied to be on the home earlier last year because they were in search of a larger home; the 2,400-square-foot home just wasn’t cutting it for the family of seven and their five dogs.
“We watch HGTV all the time, and we he had a flood in our house, and so we had to do a remodel,” Jessica said.
The small flood prompted Jessica and Jay to spend eight months remodeling the home.
“I got my dream kitchen, but we realized it was still too small for our blended family,” Jessica said.
In May, they received the call that producers were interested in the family.
One month later, in June, filming began.
The “House Hunters” filming crew spent five days filming throughout the metro Phoenix area.
“There was a lot more filming than we ever expected, but it was an experience that my family and I will hold on to and never forget,” Jessica said.
The filming process was very private, and the family wasn’t allowed to have their phones or laptops with them.
They also couldn’t use the word “Ahwatukee,” “because people would not understand where that was on national TV,” Jessica explained.
To say the family spent so a lot of time together during those five days would be an understatement.
“We just got back from a [week-long] vacation before we filmed that, and the five days that we spent doing this filming for ‘House Hunters’ was more quality time that I spent with my family, with my kids, especially, in the past year,” Jessica said with a laugh. “I have a whole new respect for reality TV stars, let me tell you.”
Jessica and Jay’s daughters were sad when the filming was over, and although they didn’t get what they wanted initially – a home with a pool – that’ll soon change.
“We plan on having a pool installed this next year,” Jessica said, adding:
“There are three gated public pools that are in our HOA that our kids already every weekend ride their bike to.”
Jessica and Jay spent three months renovating the new Ahwatukee home.
From painting the entire house and adding all new flooring to tearing down walls, renovating the kitchen and opening up the family room, “it was pretty much it a gut job,” Jessica said.
The family eventually moved into in the new home at the end of September.
“It’s a great neighborhood, so we're very, very happy with our decision,” Jessica said.
Jessica’s company, Taste It Tours, was also featured in the episode.
She founded company in 2010 and runs food tours throughout Old Town Scottsdale, downtown Phoenix and Gilbert.
“I've got like the entrepreneur spirit,” she said. My grandfather owned his own business. My dad owns a business. So, it's something that I wanted to do myself.”
Taste It Tours hops around to Craft 64, Cornish Pasty, Barrio Queen and many other restaurants in OldTown.
“There are a lot of great little hidden secrets and information that we've learned throughout the years of being down there and working with all these different places,” Jessica said.
The Veniard family wasn’t able to watch the episode until it aired on national TV, so they threw a viewing party with 45 to 50 of their friends and family.
“We didn't know what was going to be in it or what we looked like or anything until it aired on national TV, which I thought was crazy,” Jessica said.
They passed out a quiz for everyone to answer as they watched, which included questions like, "How many times does Jessica say 'white shaker cabinets'?", “How many times does Jay say ‘no’ to remodeling/renovations/demo?” and “What is the new term for ‘man cave’?”
“We were able to laugh at ourselves and find it funny, and with our friends and family just knowing us, that it was nicely done,” Jessica said.
HGTV will send another crew later in the summer to film footage of the family moving into their new home. The episode air date has not yet been announced.
"House Hunters" airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on HGTV.