This fall, HGTV hotties Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri will appear in a new show, Cousins Undercover.
If only they’d appear under my covers. (Oops, did I say that out loud?)
You met them two years ago in HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins, in which, as the title concisely spells out, the real-life cousins made over kitchens, usually with a European flair. And heavy on contemporary Italian styling, naturally, the New Jersey contractors being Italian-Americans themselves.
Owing to the pair’s popularity, Kitchen Cousins got revamped in January as Cousins on Call, going from re-doing just kitchens to entire homes, inside and out.
The new Cousins Undercover is like a smaller scale Extreme Makeover: in each episode a deserving family gets a home renovation with the hunky duo and a lot of help from neighbors, family and friends. The show premieres on HGTV in October.
How did the first cousins, “just ordinary guys” they claim, working in the family’s Jersey City construction business wind up as home reno stars? Well, they had a little help from a friend, who filmed the muscle-bound and tattooed duo at work, likely swinging sledgehammers in their tight T-shirts, and sent the video to HGTV executives.
We can only imagine the swoons.
Carrino, 34, could be a double of a young George Clooney, except he’s even more handsome than the movie heartthrob. And 32-year-old Colaneri is adorable, with his high-school-captain-of-the-football-team good looks, all dimples and gleaming teeth atop a linebacker body.
Their first show focused on kitchen redos, possibly because someone couldn’t resist making a pun on the expression “kissing cousins.”
Then success lead to greater opportunities, with the show expanding in scope and morphing into Cousins on Call. The two, who enjoy restoring old brownstone buildings and other large spaces, welcomed the change. After all, they know what they’re doing; they just happen to look really good doing it.
“We had our own construction business before TV was ever a thought for us,” explained John in an interview earlier this year. “Brunelleschi Construction has prepared us for these larger projects. It was just a natural transformation of the show.”
“The interesting thing is the time frames that we get,” added Anthony, referring to working within a tight TV schedule of five or six days per job. “So it’s insane.
“But we really enjoy the challenge, and we’re very passionate about it,” continued Anthony, who co-founded Brunelleschi Construction with his father, Alfonso, in 2004. “And it’s always for a great cause, so just somehow you seem to get it done because of who you’re doing it for.”
Among the recipients of a Cousins makeover were a 10-year-old cancer survivor’s family and victims of last year’s devastating Hurricane Sandy. But they also had lighter fare, such as creating a state-of-the-art theater system for Khloé Kardashian and Lamar Odom for an episode that aired earlier this year. (Wonder who gets to keep it.)
You might have noticed the boys sport some body ink. In case you’re curious, Anthony says he gets about one new tattoo a year, all of which have meaning for him. So far, he’s up to nine. Adorning his muscly arms, he has the symbol of Florence, Italy, a raven, a hawk and a phoenix; a tree he calls “an art piece” runs up along the side of his torso.
On John’s arms, he has the words “fratelli Colaneri” (Italian for Colaneri brothers), his family crest and on one wrist the start of what will be a family tree. Right now it says, “family is everything” and includes the names of his parents and two brothers. He also has one on his back in memory of a deceased friend.
Successful, talented, gorgeous, sensitive. Yep, these guys have the whole package.