As a former New York resident, Pittsburgher Cinque Cerra-Saunders has the “Living Smaller” experience, which is also the title of the A&E series he hosts at 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. Saturdays starting June 4.
“In New York, we don’t call it living smaller, we just call it living,” Cerra-Saunders said Friday afternoon. “Most adults live there in (less than) 500 square feet.”
Each half-hour episode of “Living Smaller” features people and their tiny homes made of shipping containers, vintage trailers and sheds. In episodes airing this weekend, buildings are typically used as short-term rentals or vacation destinations.
“Our show is about showing people finding a way to achieve their dreams through tiny living,” Cerra-Saunders said. “For many people on the show, that means the financial freedom of not having to go to work every day, quitting their corporate jobs. You see a lot of people building a (small) house, going realize that there’s so much income potential with Airbnb and other short-term rental sites and so it becomes a family business, but you also meet people who decide they want to travel with their spouse or even their kids, and can’t afford it, so they turn a van into a way to see the world with their family.
“Living Smaller” marks Cerra-Saunders’ debut as a television host, and he got there after a career in fashion design. But he can trace his interest in construction back to an early age.
“Growing up in New York, I lived in a brownstone that was built in 1895 in the Bronx,” he recalls. “We had original button and tube (wiring) flooring. My mother was a single mother and she undertook many of these projects herself at home.
Cerra-Saunders remembers watching television and hearing a loud noise from elsewhere in the house: part of the original slatted and plaster ceiling had collapsed.
“I particularly remember my mom renting a drywall lift and she and a friend of hers putting some fresh drywall on the ceiling, looking at this and thinking, ‘I really like this idea. “I must have been 6 or 7 years old.
Cerra-Saunders began taking regular art classes and eventually enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York to study interior design. Eventually, in 2009, he graduated with a degree in menswear.
“But everything is connected,” he said. “I love designing houses, but I also love designing clothes.”
It was fashion that brought him to Pittsburgh, but changing homes meant he stayed.
While working in Los Angeles as VP of Design/Creative Director for clothing brand Young Reckless, Cerra-Saunders began freelancing as Creative Director for East Liberty-based Daily Bread clothing. , who had an early affiliation with Mac Miller.
Through this association, Cerra-Saunders began investing in real estate in Pittsburgh in 2018 before moving to the city in 2020 after leaving her fashion job in Los Angeles.
“At that time, I had already renovated and sold four houses,” he said, noting that he usually lives in the house he is currently renovating, which made him a short-term resident. term of Lawrenceville, Shadyside and now Swissvale. “For me, owning real estate represented financial stability. Many fashion designers, those who don’t make it big, end up living a paycheck to paycheck life. And even the interior designers sing for your supper too. So for me, being a house-turning designer is a combination of both things. I can design a product for a client, like haute couture, right? In fashion, you have to sell 1,000 t-shirts to succeed. And you have to do it every season. To be a successful real estate seller, you only need to sell one house per year. »
When it comes to homes to buy, Cerra-Saunders is drawn to unloved properties that lack a simple layout.
“The very first project I did in Pittsburgh was only about 600 square feet above ground level,” said Cerra-Saunders, who has yet to meet her fellow interior designer/personality designer. of Pittsburgh Television, Leanne Ford. “It was in Lawrenceville and it had one of those Pittsburgh potties, so the only bathroom was in the basement. And that was one of the reasons the property just didn’t sell. The whole layout had to be rearranged in order to make it work, to make it functional.
“My approach when looking for a home is that I look for the clumsy, ugly little duckling among a sea of homes that generally appeal to your status quo real estate investor or your end users,” he continued. “So I can find a home that’s smaller and do really smart things like versatile storage solutions, smaller appliances, and really make those properties sing. I always say I’m a designer first and a house pinball second.
While in Los Angeles, Cerra-Saunders met his now-manager, who introduced Cerra-Saunders as a potential host for “Living Smaller”, who was already shooting segments on small houses. Cerra-Saunders is recording its segments hosting different small house communities, starting with Georgia in episodes airing this weekend.
He said that so far the show has yet to feature small homes in western Pennsylvania, but he hopes “Living Smaller” will film locally in the future.
“In New York, everyone aspires to have an apartment in a high-rise or in a brownstone,” Cerra-Saunders said. “We don’t really want to have houses with two-car garages. It’s very different from the LA lifestyle. And it’s also very different from your classic Pittsburgh lifestyle. So for me, (living smaller is) really in my DNA. I had a Murphy bed for every apartment in New York. I prefer to live in one room. I’m a loft guy. I like an open plan (upstairs) situation.
“Daniel Tiger” Special
A new one-hour “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” special, “Daniel Visits a New Neighborhood” produced by Pittsburgh-based Fred Rogers Productions, will premiere on WQED-TV at 9:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. June 20 (8:00 a.m. the same day on WQED’s PBS Kids channel, 13.5).
The episode features Daniel and Mom Tiger on a train to visit Daniel’s pen pal Juan Carlos, with the episode focusing on strategies for young children, travel, and being away from home.
This summer, PBS Kids will debut new episodes of FRP’s “Odd Squad” (July 4-8) and “Alma’s Way” (July 11-14).
On the 10th anniversary of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”, FRP announced licensing agreements with 16 new and existing partners on Daniel-branded products, including magnetic toys, consumables, vitamins, sporting goods and umbrellas.
• Netflix has renewed “Is It Cake?” for a second season.
• HBO will bring back “Black Lady Sketch Show” for a fourth season.
• HBO Max has canceled ‘Raised by Wolves’ after two seasons.
The biographical documentary “Citizen Ashe,” about tennis legend and humanitarian Arthur Ashe, premieres on CNN at 9 p.m. June 26, on the eve of the 135th Wimbledon. … The recent theatrical release “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” hits Disney+ on June 22. … The CW is adding two new scripted shows to its summer schedule, Australian comedy-drama “Bump” (8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Aug. 11) and historical drama “Leonardo” (8 p.m. Aug. 16) about Leonardo DaVinci which is written by Frank Spotnitz (“The X-Files”) and stars Aidan Turner (“Poldark”) and Freddie Highmore (“The Good Doctor”). … Deadline.com is reporting that NBC and/or USA may be reviving the canceled CBS “Magnum PI” reboot.
AetE | Editor’s Choice | Movies/Television | Best Stories | Televised conference with Rob Owen