Designing a Life Full of Transformation & Adventure
By Alexis James
Photography by David Teran
Survivor, Designer, and now Host of her own HGTV show, an inspirational San Antonio home renovator says the key to transforming your life is first, saying Yes!
When you meet Kim Wolfe, you can instantly recognize her genuine love for people. And it’s easy to understand how her captivating personality and powerhouse outlook on life led her to win Survivor and land her new HGTV show, “Why the Heck Did I Buy This House?”
“I was a huge fan of Survivor before I went on the show and would have watch parties with my friends from college,” Kim says, smiling. “At a tough time in my life, and just for fun, my friends recorded an audition tape of me, and I sent it in. I never thought I would hear back, but I got a callback two weeks later!” Not only did she get a callback, but she went on to win 2012’s Survivor, One World, and take home the impressive million-dollar prize.
Kim acknowledges she never could have imagined winning Survivor or the life transformation that would take place on the show. “I gained a lot of trust in myself throughout the show, and I came back a different, better version of myself.”
Shortly after her time on Survivor, she returned home to San Antonio and married her husband, Bryan Wolfe. Together they purchased a 1940s home that needed a complete overhaul. And it was that initial home that began their family’s home renovation journey.
“After we renovated that first home, I was hooked! I couldn’t wait to do it again. After renovating our fourth house, my husband gave me the idea of potentially doing interior designing and home renovating full time. Mostly because he was tired of moving our family from house to house.” She laughs. “But also, because he saw that I really loved it.”
Kim is a self-taught designer with a minimalist approach and has always loved turning worn spaces into something new. She thanks her mom for nurturing her creativity at a young age. “I learned from my mom that you can transform a house into your vision for it. She gave us total creative freedom to decorate our rooms growing up, and she provided us opportunities to play and create.”
“Family is my inspiration, and my family plays a key role in this journey. As a mom of three, Kim says her kids significantly influence her work. “It’s a lot of hard work, but we have a lot of fun together! I always want my kids to see me saying yes to new opportunities. I want them to see me go for it!”
She continues with a word of advice that she herself follows, “You should always throw a line in the water. Always send the e-mail. Always say thank you. Always say hi. Give yourself the opportunity to say yes (or no) to something you want to do. You never know what might come from taking a chance on yourself.”
If you’re looking to transform an area of your life or design a new space of your own, Kim’s recommendation is to “Start small, take action, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Because mistakes are how you learn.” And “Don’t do it alone. It’s important to surround yourself with women who are for each other, creating opportunities for one another, and lifting each other up.”
There’s no doubt in Kim’s mind that there will be more adventure in her future.
“What’s Next? I feel that we could be doing this, the show, for a while. I love getting the opportunity to showcase homes in San Antonio while highlighting the beauty and community in our city. I’m also excited about some fun collaborations I have coming out soon, and I want to keep creating and trying new things.”
“But most importantly, I want to prioritize my family.”
You can find Kim’s designs at wolfehome.com and watch her in action Wednesdays on “Why the Heck Did I Buy This House” on HGTV at 8:00 pm local time.