My Newfound(land) Favourite TV Show
Randy Spracklin welcomes us to The Rock with the second season of HGTV Canada’s Rock Solid Builds
By Brooke Madden
If you’ve ever had the privilege to visit (or live on) Canada’s East Coast, I’m sure you’re well aware of its unique landscape, its generous locals, and its signature salty air. Even internationally, Newfoundland and Labrador is considered a must-see destination for those seeking out a community of storytellers, nature lovers, and genuinely kind folk. That’s partially why the team of Newfoundland natives at Rock Solid Builds have made the HGTV Canada series a hit. With Season 2 premiering on January 27 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, I was lucky enough to be able to talk with Randy Spracklin of Rock Solid Builds about how they incorporate East Coast culture into their projects, certain challenges they’ve faced, and of course, what we can expect this season.
“People from the East Coast are great storytellers,” says Spracklin. “With that being said, every home, piece of land or community has a story to be told. And with these stories, we learn about our history and our culture. So when our team gets a call to build or renovate a home, the first thing we do is find out the homeowner’s story or that of the property.”
“We are big on saving and celebrating what we can in old homes, from the way our houses are designed, to the colours used on the outside, to the special builds we do on the inside. It doesn’t take much for us to come up with ways to incorporate our culture,” he continues.
As someone with a love for storytelling, preservation, and the musical Come From Away, I’m definitely looking forward to this season’s emphasis on cultural celebration and storytelling in the series’ renovations. But what else can we expect on Season 2 of Rock Solid Builds?
Well, it sounds like the team has been pretty busy – not only tackling multiple unique builds, but fooling around on occasion. “Our team loves to work hard, but we love to play hard too. You’ll see us go on a few adventures and have a lot of fun. Plus everyone loves a good old competition – so there just might be a bet on the line.”
“You’ll also see how a simple kitchen renovation turns into a big one when we have to bring an excavator inside the finished house, and we have some exciting news at the end of this season,” Randy hints with a twinkle. Of course the team is also tremendously excited to show off the projects they worked on this season. “Every build is different from the last, and you just never know what an old home might have in store for you.”
As is to be expected while shooting in Newfoundland, the weather can be, well, temperamental. Which, when you’re working on a home renovation, can make things feel a bit haphazard. This season, viewers will see the team battle hurricanes, rain, and a bit of snow at the wrong time of year. “Snow in June, and the kids loved it! It was a shock but not uncommon. When building here we can never predict what will come our way,” one of the team members says.
The whirlwind weather sets the stakes of the show a little higher than one might expect from a regular HGTV Canada program. “When we’re building on a tight timeline, a bad windstorm can really delay us, sometimes lasting days because the majority of our supplies come by boat or air due to us being an island. Also, high winds can cause damage to our builds and that’s not what you want when you are trying to move a project forward,” says the team.
Even with some meteorological setbacks, Rock Solid Builds always manages to get the job done, due to the hard work of their professional crew, and a little bit of help from the locals as well. “Newfoundlanders are always here to lend a hand. We look out for other people, even if they’re not from here. This year we had a special build that took us six hours away,” mentions another team member. “Like a lot of small communities, you won’t find coffee shops or restaurants – but who needs that when you’re in Newfoundland! We were working in this small community for a couple of days and each morning, the neighbours would have fresh coffee with tea buns waiting for us and they’d make us sandwiches for lunch. Anything we needed, the door was always open. There was always someone there to help out. On this specific project, the whole community came out, from feeding us to supplying us with sand and even a lift to move the build. This is only one of the many ways we help each other – so what people see in Come From Away is all true!”
Fittingly for Newfoundland culture, the team is one big work family – some members are even related. This season, “The Old Man” (Scott) will be back, as well as Paul and Harvey, who can take on any task and get the job done well, making them huge assets when it comes to overseeing projects. Al will be around to tackle windows and siding. There’s Nikki and Josh, who “started off green” but are quickly taking on leadership roles.
As the workload grows, so must the team, so viewers will meet a few new faces this year. Jamie, Michael, PJ, and Matt add a fun, new, “catty” dynamic to the show this season. “The builds are phenomenal, but the teamwork is what it’s all about. Every morning is a joy to go to work no matter the weather,” says Spracklin.
It’s evident that the team at Rock Solid Builds is beyond passionate about the work they do, and the province they’re able to do it in. They are all convinced that “after one visit you’ll want to come back again, or like a lot of others who visit, you’ll want to live here! We have something for everyone. If you like the water, you can go fishing or whale watching, and during the right time of year, you can see icebergs. Our landscape is amazing – it’s great for hiking, camping, biking, and the winter is perfect for skiing or snowmobiling. But if you just like to relax or see some sights, we have lots of that as well. We have some amazing heritage sites all across the island. You can also come by my hometown of Brigus, and stop in and see us along the way.”
While travelling is restrictive and complicated right now, enjoying the newest season of Rock Solid Builds (premiering January 27 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada and available to stream on the GlobalTV app and STACK TV) seems like the perfect way to safely enjoy a new culture, support some awesome people, and of course, witness some incredible renovations.