Long before Mika and Brian Kleinschmidt were hosts of the popular HGTV series “100 Day Dream Home,” they were classmates at Riverview High School. Now married for eight years, living in their own dream home in Ruskin, and raising Mika’s 14-year-old daughter, Jade, together, they’re reflecting on their journey and looking ahead to an exciting new year.
Happy New Year! What are you most looking forward to in 2024?
Brian: The unexpected. We are both always ready for the next adventure.
Mika: We’re working on a lot of different projects that are taking us outside of our comfort zone, so I’m excited to highlight some different things we have going on with the show. I’m also excited to really dive into Jade’s high school years and just appreciate the few years we have left with her being at the house, which makes me so sad.
Take us back to your days at Riverview High. How did you feel about each other back then?
Mika: We had a few classes together. We definitely were friends, but nothing more than that. He was always the jokester, super popular.
Brian: I dated Mika in high school. She, however, did not date me (laughs). I used to anchor the school morning show and I remember singing Happy Birthday to Mika and gifting her a Backstreet Boys t-shirt, which she still has to this day.
Mika: I think that everything in life is timing. The seed was planted for sure, but we did not flourish into being a couple until ten years after high school.
How did you reconnect after all those years?
Brian: As fate would have it, she accidentally sent me one of those chain emails, and of course I responded immediately.
Mika: He responded, and he was like, “Hey if this was an accident, that’s okay, but how the heck have you been doing?” And so we just caught up. He invited me to go to a Bucs game.
So that was your first date?
Mika: I didn’t consider it a date because we hadn’t seen each other in 10 years since high school but looking back on it now and with Brian’s intentions, it was definitely a date.
Brian: Perfect date planned. Cold December game. Snuggling under a blanket. Then I feel a tap on my shoulder. It was my aunt and uncle sitting directly behind us! Noooooooo. What are the chances with 70,000 fans?
It took a while, but Brian finally got the girl. Mika- What made you certain he’s the one you want to spend forever with?
Mika: I think it took me going through some relationships that did not work out to really figure out what I wanted and what I didn’t want, and he just really brought out the best side of me and that is super important. At the time we started dating, Jade was 18 months old, so it was crucial that I find someone that is going to accept, not only me, but my daughter and put her first, and Brian has done that since day one.
Brian, what’s most important to you in your role as Jade’s “bonus dad”?
Brian: I know she may never look like me on the outside, but I hope that she’s taking some of my characteristics and morals on the inside.
What’s your favorite family tradition?
Brian: Singing “Goodnight, Sweetheart” to Jade before bed.
What do you like about raising Jade here in Tampa Bay?
Mika: There’s so much to do. We love being outdoors. We love being on the water. I love the fact that there’s just a great diversity of activities to do as a family, like taking walks on the Riverwalk, watching Jade rowing, nature walks, going to the beach.
Where do you see yourselves when you’re “old and gray”?
Brian: We just bought a townhome in Savannah that we are renovating as part of Season 5, and I can see us growing old there together and enjoying the slower pace of life.
Mika: Even though the physical body might age, I don’t think that Brian and I will ever stop just being youthful at heart. We love adventure. We love to laugh. We don’t take life too seriously and I think that’s going to be, hopefully, the key to growing very old together.
Mika & Brian’s Own Dream Home
Describe the décor in your home.
Brian: Coastal and Functional with a capital FUN!
Mika: We have a lake view from almost every room, so it made sense to have that water element inspire our design.
What’s your favorite design feature in your home?
Mika: I think that when you walk in the front door, the view and the openness is my favorite part of the house.
Brian: The wall of sliding glass doors that open completely to see the beautiful views of our pool and lake.
Mika, what does your dream sanctuary have in it?
It’s a place of solitude where I can have peace and quiet. Especially in our line of work where you’re on all the time, you’re talking all the time, sometimes it’s really nice just to have that Zen moment.
Brian, what should every man cave have in it?
Pool table, bar and piano. We’ve got all those boxes checked.
What design trends are timeless?
Mika: Anything organic. Mother nature has been around much longer than we have, so wood finishes, natural slate, stone, all those elements that you see outdoors.
Brian: Ceiling beams and beautiful landscaping.
Any design Don’ts for families with children?
Mika: Sometimes people pick finishes that are beautiful but that won’t last over time, so just be smart about high-trafficked areas—what you’re going to use the space for—and do your research on maintenance and durability.
Brian: White walls, white grout, white carpet—anything white because it won’t stay that way.
Originally published in the January 2024 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine