matt_iseman_about.jpgOn Wednesday, June 30, the newest edition of the “Clean House: Search for the Messiest Home in the Country” comes to its conclusion on Style Network, with a reportedly apocalyptic mess in a home in Lynwood, Ill.

Below find a Q&A with the show’s “Go-To Guy” Matt Iseman (“Sports Soup”) — who’s also a doctor, by the way — discussing  the home, the challenges, the family and letting Mark Brunetz into his home (plenty of “Messiest” background info in the embedded links — and click here for Mark Brunetz’s preview of “Messiest” over on

Q: Does
this family compare at all to last year’s?


A: Well, compare is a tricky word.  In terms
of clutter, our family this year can go toe-to-toe with any of our three
previous “Messiest Homes.” When I found my head brushing the ceiling in
their bedroom because the entire floor was covered in over three feet of
clothes, visions of Sharon Baglien’s basement danced in my head. But, I think
the self described “frigid Viking B%*^h” ensured her spot of infamy
in the pantheon of “Clean House” families because of her stubborn refusal to
admit she had a problem with clutter. Viewers really seem to respond to
emotional train wrecks and, last year, we went off the rails.


But this year’s family, the Hayes, stands in
stark contrast to all three previous “Messiest Home” families in that they
readily admitted they had a problem and that they wanted help (it was quite
refreshing, actually). When I look back at the Lorias, the Wheelers and the
Bagliens, I recall moments of genuine hopelessness dealing with them during
their makeover (I could feel the back of my hand tingling… wanting to lash
out and knock some sense into them). But the Hayes family met us every step of
the way, so, in that sense, no comparison.

Q: What
was the biggest challenge for you in this project?


A: Without giving too much away, I will say
that dealing with the basement was a huge challenge and not just as a Go-to
, but as a doctor. We had serious medical issues raised and had to make a
hard decision (I proposed a flame thrower as a solution but was shot down for
fear of torching Niecy’s weave).

Other than that, the volume presented the
biggest challenge. We normally do three spaces on
Matt_Iseman_beanie_lussier.jpg a “Clean House”
makeover, but, for the “Messiest Home,” we do the whole house, which means we
have to completely empty the entire house. Given the incredible volume of
clutter they had stuffed in their house, it was a massive project. Normally, we
allot seven days for a makeover. We were in Lynwood for closer to four weeks – four very
long weeks.


Q: Were
these folks really worse off than the people along the way on the “Search”?


A: Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that their clutter
dwarfed all the other families in our Search this year. They really had a
staggering amount of stuff in their house (notice I am running out of synonyms
for clutter before I simply resort to four-letter words that I really want to
use). But, the encouraging aspect was that, as a family, they were still
incredibly caring and supportive of one and another and still, relatively
speaking, very highly functioning.  That’s not to say that the clutter
wasn’t impacting them, it certainly was and far more than they knew. But they
still were close as a family and that made helping them much easier.


Q: In your mind, what distinguishes these people in your show, and especially on the “Search,”
from the folks on A&E’s “Hoarders”?


A: I think the
biggest difference is their level of function. Every family we’ve ever dealt
with on “Clean House” has had issues with clutter but have still been, at least
on some level, functioning members of society. I think in “Hoarders” you see
people who have totally given in to their space.  In other words, “Hoarders”
is “Clean House” without the happy ending. And, yes, I want a happy ending.


Q: Will
you ever let “Clean House” designer (and author) Mark Brunetz design your space?

A: He has already been to my house and his first words were,
“Do you want me to tell you that I like it or do you want to hear what I
really think?”  I chose the latter, and any illusions I had of ever
being a designer are now shattered on the floor hidden beneath a gorgeous area
rug with a subtle color palette that invokes the calming nature of the ocean. His

(BTW, “Clean House” won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Special Class Special for the “Messiest Home in the Country.” Click here for a video.)

Posted by:Kate O'Hare