Detroit furniture maker competes on Ellen’s HGTV show

Maureen Feighan The Detroit News

Kyle Huntoon is bringing Detroit style to the city of angels.

Huntoon, a fourth-generation woodworker and owner of furniture company Hunt & Noyer Woodworks in Detroit, will compete against furniture designers from across the country on the second season of “Ellen’s Design Challenge,” which premieres at 9 p.m. tonight on HGTV.

Created by funny lady and design aficionado Ellen DeGeneres, the reality competition pits Huntoon against seven other designers as they compete in weekly challenges, all vying for the $100,000 grand prize.

Huntoon is hosting a viewing party tonight at St. Cece’s on Bagley Avenue in Detroit from 8:30-11 p.m. to watch the premiere with family and friends.

“It was definitely an exciting and new experience,” says Huntoon, who is originally from Jackson but moved to Detroit after finish woodworking school. “I was happy to be representing Detroit and all the makers here.”

Huntoon says the show’s producers actually reached out to him last year about competing on the show. He thought it was a joke at first.

“I thought it was a prank call,” says Huntoon, who also is a civil engineer.

Huntoon went through an extensive interview process before he was selected for the show. He says many of his competitors went to top design schools from around the country. But Huntoon, whose workshop is in the New Center area, played up his humble background.

“I definitely play up (on the show) that I was just a guy from Michigan, making furniture,” he says.

On the show, each designer is paired with a carpenter to finish their furniture designs in a certain amount of time. And while Huntoon can’t reveal how he did on the show, he says the experience was about more than being on a reality competition. It was about putting Detroit “in a positive light on the national stage.”

“It was important to me,” says Huntoon.

(313) 223-4686