Media and television is a passion professionally and personally for Kyle and Madison Loethen.
Currently employed as a digital media marketing consultant for Venta Marketing in Columbia, Kyle has modeled, produced films, TV pilots and web videos, and worked in front and behind the camera at some of Los Angeles' biggest studios such as MTV, HBO and FOX.
Madison has worked in public relations for more than three years at Boone County Hospital, but also has worked as a television reporter and currently is a lifestyle blogger and vlogger for MadisonLoethen.com and on YouTube. In fact, the pair met while working at ABC 17 News in Columbia, becoming friends and dating a year later when Madison was leaving to start a new job.
The couple's wedding proposal was part of a reality video where he earned a beautiful diamond engagement from Helzberg Diamonds for free if he proposed within 48 hours, and they filmed and shared videos from their wedding in May 2017 on Madison's personal blog and vlog sites. It seemed fitting the couple captured the next big step in their lives on camera: buying their first house.
"We both like media and the whole television production and process. We both have similar interests in that and think it is really fun," Madison said. "I asked Kyle if he thought it would be fun to apply to 'House Hunters.' He said, 'Oh sure, let's see what happens.'"
The couple's "House Hunters" episode aired Thursday on its home network, HGTV, which Madison said is one of her favorite channels. The show follows potential homebuyers as they view three houses within their budget, hopefully matching their style in their preferred location. By the end of the show, they pick their favorite of the three to purchase.
The newlywed couple already started the house hunting process, looking for houses online. Pretty soon after the Loethens went through the application process, they were selected to be featured, and luckily, their real estate agent, Mike Gizzo of Keller Williams Realty agreed to guide them through their "House Hunters" adventure.
The connections the couple had to both Jefferson City and Columbia were strong. They both work in Columbia, where Madison's brothers live and where she also is involved in Go Red for Women. Kyle grew up in the Jefferson City area where he still serves on the Capitol City Cinema board and his parents live. Those hobbies and activities were filmed during production of their "House Hunters" episode.
"They shot me playing golf at Turkey Creek and at a 'mock' meeting at the cinema," Kyle said, noting they also filmed the couple enjoying wine at Canterbury Hill Winery and Restaurant in Holts Summit.
"I like yoga, so I did aerial yoga at Wilson's (Fitness) in Columbia. We also did a coffee scene at a winery in Rocheport," Madison said. They also filmed her writing a blog article about a nurse at Boone County Hospital.
The Loethens' house buying experience searched for three homes across Mid-Missouri. They first discussed the couple's style, with Kyle looking at a Cape Cod home, wanting a large kitchen sink, new appliances and a private, large backyard. Madison loves American Foursquare architecture, which was popular from the 1880s to the late 1930s, an open concept kitchen and living space, and preferably a walk-in closet.
"We are first-time homebuyers, so you don't realize what you like at first," Madison said. "Then you realize, I do like this or that; I do have an opinion about these things. I never needed to have it before."
Noting the producers and their Realtor did a "good job of finding a diverse amount of houses," they first looked at an older home in Jefferson City. Even though the house had three floors at a reasonable price, the home did not have an ideal floor plan.
"The master bedroom was connected to the kitchen, with guests expected to use it. That was weird to me," Madison said, noting there was a lot of carpet and the couple preferred hardwood floors throughout. "There was no bathtub upstairs, only a shower. The upstairs bedrooms were like loft rooms."
A more contemporary style home in Columbia had some nice features such as a wine fridge and large island in the kitchen. However, its long, narrow kitchen and living room, a fireplace oddly placed in a nook between those two spaces and a basement filled with mirrors turned off the couple from choosing that home as well.
Instead, they fell in love with a well-kept, four-bedroom, three-bath ranch house in Ashland, between the two Mid-Missouri cities and a place they have called home now for about a year.
"Kyle's big favorites were the backyard with the creek running alongside the back of the property, new appliances and the big kitchen sink. I loved the open floor plan, the high ceilings, no carpets and the walk-in closet in the master bedroom," Madison said. "The big finished basement is what we both kind of wanted because we had that at our parents' houses."
The end scenes filmed for their "House Hunters" episode showcase the couple unpacking boxes and painting the living room walls a light blue to contrast their chocolate brown dining room furniture and heirloom cabinets and crystal collection Madison inherited from her grandmother. They also filmed Loethen painting the master bedroom a light blue to offset the dark wood bedroom set gifted to the couple by Kyle's grandfather.
Mixes of the newlyweds' gifts such as embroidered moniker pillows dress their living room sectional sofa and a sign displaying their names helps highlight the copper-tone kitchenware in their updated kitchen. Other heirloom pieces help add to the couple's rustic, romantic and clean style, including recently repainted rocking chairs of Madison's grandmother that are now one of their favorite spots on their back deck.
When they found out the episode was to air on June 21, its summertime filming made sense to be broadcast during the same season the next year, the couple said. With plans to attend a watch party hosted by their Realtor, they reminisced about the quick, but highly fun filming that followed their home buying experience. A few nerves arose as they wondered what reactions and comments during filming could be used in the episode.
"The last house we looked at was in Columbia. The other two basements in Jeff City and this house were nice. I walk down the stairs into the Columbia home's basement and I was like, 'Oh this sucks.' Because the other two were really nice," Madison recalled with laughter. "They also pulled us aside for individual interviews at hour 10 of shooting and they asked me to talk about marriage. I said, 'Well, marriage is about compromise, so Kyle better compromise.' The crew cracked up. I thought, 'Oh crap. They are going to use that.' I jokingly said, 'Time to go, let's wrap.'
"Being newlyweds and trying to buy a house together, you say little things that are funny. We are both comfortable in front of the camera, so we were ourselves. There might be a few quirky moments, but I know our personalities came through on the show."
The Loethens have fallen in love with Ashland, finding it offers all their basic food necessities and a friendly community close to the cities they love.
"We are involved in stuff in both Jeff City and Columbia. It is nice to be right smack in the middle," Kyle said. "It is a growing community, so this is a great first home for us."
Now the couple has settled in their new home. They have hosted their first family Thanksgiving, many football viewings and barbecues, and welcomed more than 40 relatives and friends to celebrate the anniversary of Kyle's parents, in which their spacious basement became a party epicenter.
"This what we wanted, to have a place where friends and family could come. Having a warm, inviting home was important to us, and now we have that," Madison said. "We feel settled. It definitely feels like home."