Meet The Kitchen Cousins


We caught up with Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri, two of HGTV’s hottest hosts to get some kitchen renovation tips.

How did you become known as the Kitchen Cousins?

John: A friend of ours took a video of us and submitted it to HGTV. The network asked if we were interested in doing a show. They needed a kitchen show and we said we do kitchens all the time – it was really as simple as that. Our network executive came up with the name.

You were in the construction business before becoming television hosts. How has it helped you in your shows?

John: We’ve been in construction our entire lives, starting from being just a high school job to me working for Anthony and my uncle’s company. The beauty about working in construction and being involved in it without any television show is that we know the business very well. So TV cameras or no TV cameras, we’d be doing the same thing you see on TV every single day. We just happen to be able to show it to the entire world. That is what’s great about HGTV; you’re seeing real people do these amazing projects. There’s no faking it. There’re no actors. We are the real deal.

Kitchen Cousins America's Most Desperate Kitchen episode 8

From dark to fab: the Kitchen Cousins work their magic to transform a formerly desperate kitchen into one that exudes openness and style.

What do you love most about working with your cousin?

Anthony: There’s so much history. Beyond that, there is implicit trust. I know that he has my back and I know I have his. So when things get tough, I know that without a doubt I’ve got somebody to lean on. And when things are good, I’m sharing it with someone close to me.

What is the most desperate kitchen that you came across while filming your new series America’s Most Desperate Kitchens?

Anthony: It’s surprising how many kitchens we’ve been in and we still see things that we’ve never seen before. We’ve seen a lot of electrical work that is scary. There are a lot of kitchens we go in and there are no cabinet doors at all. In one of the kitchens from America’s Most Desperate Kitchens season 2 that we just finished filming, the refrigerator was in the middle of the room!

John: I will say this: I think the rest of the world is going to look down on us Americans! There is no shortage in finding an ugly kitchen in America.

What are your top tips when it comes to remodelling kitchens?

Anthony: The biggest thing is being honest about how you use the space. Everybody uses their kitchen in different ways. How you use your kitchen is how you should start thinking about how you design it. There are some rules that are overriding themes that you’d want to pay attention to as far as spatial awareness and layout. But I think the biggest thing is being honest about how you’re using the kitchen.

John: Stick with your gut. Go with what you like and then stop. Stop looking at all the options. There’re too many. There are thousands of countertops, thousands of tiles, thousands of cabinets. If you see something and if you have that gut feeling that says, “I love that”, go with it. Don’t second-guess yourself. If you like it, take it and move on.

What’s a quick fix for a cramped kitchen?

Anthony: Multiuse pieces are great. For example if you have an island on wheels, you can use it as a bar cart, you can use it as a serving tray. Things that you can use in not just one way but multiple ways is really going to help save space and give you efficiency.

John: On America’s Most Desperate Kitchens seasons 1 and 2, we did a lot of different things where people would be able to see multipurpose items being used. In season 2, we did a picture frame that’s on a wall that drops down into a table. If you have a small space or a space that’s awkward, having things that collapse, hide away or turn into something else is what you’d want to try.

Do you have any advice for homeowners who wish to remodel their kitchens on a budget?

Anthony: It goes back to use. If you cook a lot and your appliances are bad you should spend your money on appliances. If you don’t cook that much and you want your kitchen to look pretty, there are things you can do to reface your cabinets or put in a new countertop. A backsplash is very economical and you get a lot of design for the money. But it’s hard to say this is what you do because everybody has a different need.

John: A kitchen is just very expensive, there is just no way to getting around it. If you’re on a budget, you should find certain things that will make a big impact. I will always tell people to focus on lighting. A cool chandelier or pendant lights over an island, for instance. These are things that are easy to change out and make a big impact. It doesn’t break the bank. But like Anthony said, you have to look into your needs. Are you a big cook? I always like to tell people to find that one splurge item. Find that one item that maybe you’re going to go overboard with and focus on that.


The Cousins are proponents of adding statement pieces to instantly update the cooking and dining zones – like a cool chandelier or a series of pendant lamps.

What are the things you should not skimp on when it comes to the kitchen?

Anthony: If we’re talking about a full on remodel, you’d have to hire the right guys – plumbers, electricians, etc – there is no way around this. You can burn your house down if your electrical wiring is wrong. Every piece of a kitchen builds on a piece before so if you start with a good foundation and you have the good mechanicals insides the wall, everything else will work as you come to the things that look pretty.

John: In the States, one of the biggest things people always talk about is the countertop. That’s like the number one question we get: “What countertop do you recommend?” Of course everyone knows about granites and marbles. Anthony and I we’ve been working on kitchens for years and we know that quartz countertops have really come to the forefront. We use a lot of Silestone and Dekton because there are so many looks available in those materials – some of them have a contemporary look and some look just like marble or granite but they’re low maintenance. And that’s the one area that can really make your kitchen stand out.

Catch America’s Most Desperate Kitchens every Tuesday at 9pm on HGTV (Starhub Channel 437)