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Tammy Swift, Published February 25 2009

HGTV personality to present at Red River Valley Home & Garden Show

Marcus Hunt talks a hundred miles a minute.

It’s not a surprising character trait in a self-described adrenaline junkie who enjoys sky diving, rock climbing and mountain biking – all when he’s not renovating homes for HGTV’s “Hammer Heads.”

That home-improvement show focuses on three builders – including Hunt – who show homeowners how to do everything from build a deck to overhaul a kitchen in a four-day period. He’ll be at the Red River Valley Home & Garden Show Friday through Sunday at the Fargodome.

“This is one of the most perfect jobs for me,” says Hunt, calling from Los Angeles where he just finished filming the eighth episode of the show’s fourth season.

Indeed, Hunt got into home improvement the same way he tackles everything else: He jumped into it, head first. After moving to Los Angeles eight or nine years ago, he booked a commercial campaign as the Michelin Man.

Donning a big rubber suit wasn’t the most glamorous of gigs, but it did put enough money in his bank account to help him buy his first house. He and a business partner flipped that property, along with 20 others. They learned everything the hard way.

“We called ourselves Team Two-Time,” Hunt says, laughing. “Because it took us two times to do something. One of us would screw it up, and the next one would fix it.”

But that experience, along with his telegenic good looks, prepared Hunt well for his HGTV gig.

Now, when Hunt isn’t filming new episodes or taking rock-climbing trips, he makes personal appearances to promote the show.

At Fargo’s home event, he’ll actually present two different seminars:

• “Lipstick on a Pig,” shows how cosmetic changes to the home can give homeowners a huge bang for their buck. Hunt will highlight three areas he believes leave the greatest impact: painting, flooring and landscaping. The latter improvement, Hunt says, is “very cheap” compared to home renovation, yet sets the tone for your entire property.

• “Trading your Pig in for a Dancing Pony,” will demonstrate how seemingly “little” changes – new knobs, switchplates, faucets or fixtures – can dramatically enhance a home’s appearance. “These are very simple things,” Hunt says. “Especially in a time when money is in a crunch.”

As a way to determine what improvements need to be done, Hunt suggests having a friend walk through your home to identify outdated hardware or glaring eyesores.

This session will also include a section on “must-have” tools (“it’s not a million dollars worth of power tools”) and little gadgets that make many home improvement chores easier.

Hunt hopes his seminars will encourage homeowners to get over their renovation jitters and roll up their sleeves.

“Fear is the biggest defeater in any of these projects. Don’t be afraid to jump in,” says Hunt, who knows a thing or two on that topic.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tammy Swift at (701) 241-5525