Ben and Cristi Dozier like to say that they didn’t didn’t discover Pagosa Springs; instead, the mountain town found them.
The natives of Austin, Texas, and founders of Root Design Co. moved to Pagosa Springs in 2015 to help a friend finish remodeling their cabin, thinking it would be temporary. But the slow pace and charm of a small town inspired them to make the move permanent in 2017.
“That one year, we rented a little, old Victorian home right in downtown and then we later ended up purchasing that. That’s where we are now,” said Cristi. “It’s just down the river from our coffee shop (Root House Coffee + Shop). It’s our little hub for life.”
Now, the Doziers are letting the world in on their secret oasis as the stars of “Building Roots,” a program on HGTV that showcases their remodeling projects in Pagosa Springs and nearby towns such as Creede. (Think Chip and Joanna Gaines with more exposed wood and mountain views.)
Ben is the “big ideas” design guy, who reimagines and reconfigures the spaces, while Cristi has a knack for aesthetics, including decor and staging. In advance of the Season 1 finale on Sunday (May 29), we caught up with the couple to talk about filming their first TV show, how the pandemic impacted their work, and the potential for Season 2.
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Filming “Building Roots” was “the craziest thing we’ve ever done,” Ben said.
It was a long road to get to filming for HGTV, and it all started with a DM pitch for a possible home show on Instagram in 2018, the Doziers said. That parlayed into filming a sizzle reel in 2019 and a pilot in 2020. But instead of airing the pilot, HGTV’s “Building Roots” went straight to series, and filmed from June 2021 to February 2022.
In that time, the couple worked on 12 projects simultaneously, from a multistory cabin renovation to a glamping area revamp.
“The village that it took to pull off the impossible in a small, remote mountain town during COVID, with shipping and labor crises for a cable network television company, was unheard of,” Ben said. “It was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done, and also one of the most rewarding.”
Supply chain issues complicated the remodels.
By mid-2021, the global supply chain crisis had impacted every industry, construction included. And those problems were compounded by living and working in a mountain town, the Doziers said.
The common narrative throughout the season is trying to complete remodels before winter sets in and snow falls. Several projects didn’t hit that target and crews literally had to melt snow to finish staging a property before the big reveal.
The “Building Roots” team also was often forced to drive to bigger cities, such as Denver, Colorado Springs and Albuquerque, to pick up equipment and materials in order to hit their filming deadlines. In one instance, a dishwasher did not arrive on time and the Doziers has to borrow one from a neighbor for filming day, Cristi said.
“For the day the camera crew was going to be there, we would sometimes be facing a situation where things just did not physically show up,” she said. “There were times we would have to be really creative to find solutions to supply chain problems and things being out of stock.”
About those signature indoor wood stacks.
Though their work could easily be described as “rustic elegance” or “mountain modern,” the Doziers maintain they don’t have a particular style when they renovate homes. Instead, they try to meet the homeowners’ expectations and weave their stories into inspiration for the designs.
Still, there’s a signature element that shows up often: An indoor wood stack.
According to Ben, some of them are functional and keep a supply for wood-burning fireplaces. Others are simply aesthetic, sealed to avoid bugs and rot.
“They are all hand-chopped and hand-stacked by me, myself and I, and sometimes my boys,” Ben said. (The Doziers have four children.) “Like libraries can bring a kind of soul to a space, I think so do wood stacks. Wood stacks just bring heart to a room and give it a little bit of a pulse.”
Will there be a Season 2?
While a formal decision has yet to be made about renewing “Building Roots” for a second season, the Doziers are hopeful they’ll get another chance on the roller coaster of reality TV.
“We would love to,” said Ben. “As much as we put into these, we’d love to do Season 2 better.”
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