Southfield native renovates homes with dark past in 'Murder House Flip'
Growing up in Southfield with a minister father, Mikel Welch wasn't raised to believe in ghosts. But his latest career twist certainly tested that belief.
Welch co-hosts the new "Murder House Flip," a show about renovating homes where grisly murders have taken place. Welch said he certainly felt something in each of the homes they worked on.
"There is definitely an energy in each one of those houses," said Welch, speaking by phone from his apartment in Queens.
"Murder House Flip," which debuts April 6 on the new Quibi short-form streaming service, is certainly one of the more unusual takes on home renovation shows. It follows Welch and co-host Joelle Uzyel as they completely overhaul four homes in California, all with a dark past.
"I think this show will touch people," said Welch who also appeared in the "Trading Spaces" reboot. "It’s the first time where I’ve worked on a show where it isn’t just about making a house pretty. These are people who legit have an issue. It’s not just the cosmetic design, it’s emotional. We’re helping people get through something."
The show will appeal to both true crime fans and home design lovers, said Welch. The series goes behind the scenes of each home it renovates, digging into the crimes that were committed and even including interviews with detective and old crime scene photos.
"I wish I could un-see some things," admits Welch. "It was more than just design. I will never look at muslin and duct tape the same way again."
Still, showing up to film one of his first scenes at 7 p.m., Welch wondered what he'd gotten himself into.
"I feel like I sign up for the craziest things," laughs Welch.
Welch said Quibi is unique in that each showed is filmed in both a vertical and horizontal format, which makes filming longer but easier for customers to view shows on their phones. Filming in one house, Welch remembers standing at the top of a staircase and feeling like he needed to run out.
"You just know something is not right," said Welch. "There was just an eeriness."
Several owners didn't know that a murder had happened in their homes, said Welch. He said realtors in California don't have to disclose such a crime after a certain amount of time.
"If you (a new buyer) don’t ask after an allotted amount of time, they don’t have to disclose it," said Welch.
But each home was a total transformation, Welsh said, as crews even pulled up floorboards to find old blood. By the end of renovating one home, Welch remembers sitting alone in a room after filming. He didn't feel the same energy he'd felt before.
"I was in that room and I was OK with it," said Welch.