HGTV’s Cristy Lee Opens a Design Studio in Metro Detroit

The studio and garage blends her expertise and passion for interior design, cars, and motorcycles.
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Motorcity Built is a garage and interior design studio. // Photograph courtesy Cristy Lee

Cristy Lee may be known best for her television career — but recently, she added “metro Detroit business owner” to her resume. MotorCity Built, her newly-opened interior design studio and state-of-the art garage in Oakland County marries her passions for all things home and automotive. Lee sees her new brick-and-mortar enterprise, as a “fresh start,” she says.

“The biggest thing in interior design is accepting that your initial vision isn’t always the vision,” Lee told Hour Detroit in an exclusive interview.  “Accepting that it’s a constantly evolving process is a huge part of it.”

With her project manager Kelly Teutsch, Lee is excited to apply her resourceful, all-in design approach to clients who need everything from furniture selection to full-blown renovation to building their own dream garage.

Known as “MCB” for short, the business is dedicated to home improvement rather than automotive work, though Lee will always have her own car and motorcycle projects going on. Housing originally brought Lee to the Motor City area, but motor vehicles were her first love. “Detroit means a lot to me,” she says. “I moved here and started my real estate business, and within a few years I started working in motorsports.”

It houses several of Lee’s beloved cars and motorcycles, from minibikes to a 1998 BMW M3 she’s fixing up. There’s also a seamlessly integrated lounge area for meeting with interior design clients, which shows off Lee’s ability to use carefully chosen furniture, rugs, and artwork to make any space cozy and personal — even a garage.

Her new business is now open by appointment for virtual consultations and in-person projects in Michigan. Lee will also be returning to television this summer as a competitor on the new HGTV show 100 Day Hotel Challenge.

MCB houses several of Lee’s beloved cars and motorcycles, from minibikes to a 1998 BMW M3 she’s fixing up. // Photograph courtesy Cristy Lee

Since moving to Detroit from Daytona, Florida in 2005, Lee worked her way up the motorsports and home industries, renovating investment properties, reporting from events like the X Games and Off-Road Truck Racing, and hosting shows like Celebrity IOU: Joyride on Discovery+ and Garage Squad on MotorTrend. Most recently, appeared on the new HGTV competition series Battle on the Mountain, which premiered Monday, Jan. 22, as challenge host. When her HGTV home renovation show Steal this House aired in 2022, it felt like she had officially made it.

Her high-speed lifestyle came to a grinding halt in early 2023, when she was diagnosed with interrelated autoimmune disorders Graves’ disease and thyroid eye disease, or TED. After months of painful treatment, Lee is feeling better. But the ongoing fight gives MCB new purpose.

“I’m coming to it this time with a very different perspective,” Lee says. “Running a business can’t always be about the bottom line. It sometimes has to be about helping people.”

For Lee, doing good with MCB is manifold: there’s the central focus of helping transform spaces to improve people’s lives, but also inspiring those struggling with health issues to persevere. She recently founded Blink of an Eye, a support group for people with TED, and says that the last year has increased her empathy for those around her no matter what they’re going through.

“Everybody’s got something going on,” Lee says. “So, let’s just be people who can do something awesome together. MotorCity Built isn’t going to cure cancer. But can it bring light to someone who is in a dark spot in their life? Absolutely.”

MotorCity Built has begun taking clients and is by appointment only. For more information, visit the MCB Instagram page. Consultations can be scheduled at motorcitybuilt@gmail.com.

For more film & TV news and other developments in metro Detroit, visit hourdetroit.com.