One of several diseases I’d rather have than deal with some of the clients on the show “Love it or List It” on HGTV. Ever since I became fascinated (arguably obsessed) with tiny houses, small homes and generally sustainable living, I’ve been watching more and more DIY and home improvement shows both on the TV and online.
I don’t get a lot of free time anymore, so the precious few moments I get, I’d rather be entertained than infuriated.
In case you don’t know, HGTV is now showing a series that originated in Canada which shows a couple, which invariably needs additional work done on their home or they need to move out.
Hilary is the designer who takes on the “Love It” challenge in which she makes a remodel of a specific area and adds/removes as necessary (new bath, new bedroom, larger kitchen, repairs etc…). She’s always allocated an insufficient budget and insufficient time to get things done and “Drama” ensues as the clients become as warm and cuddly as a dung covered cactus when she has to relay bad news.
Here’s an important fact for all current and potential homeowners : Renovations are always more expensive than building new yourself. No exceptions. You can’t always guess at what problems you may come across (like electrical, plumbing, structural) and sometimes, you won’t know if something will work or not until the process begins. That’s the risk you take when you decide to make changes to existing structures.
In the episode I saw yesterday the client, who’s pregnant, rejected a house found by the realtor for the couple, David (the “List It” guy), partly because it has “too many bathrooms”.
I don’t have children, but I’ve taken care of enough kids to know YOU NEVER HAVE ENOUGH BATHROOMS! Add to this the lazy husband who was still ambivalent about the house that covered 99.998% of what they needed, plus had an unfinished basement (I.E. “Potential”, although they saw it as “Work”), because he was worried about painting one room. Yes, let’s ignore all the extra space they could possibly even rent and gain additional income. This need for space is of course arguable since it’s my view that most people are just prisoners to their belongings. Get rid of the extra junk and you’ll have more than enough space left.
“Hilary hasn’t put me into labor yet” is another comment the pregnant lady said earlier after the designer had to explain that walking on water and other miracles weren’t possible on the microscopic $15,000 remodel. Add to that mess, Monkey and Wrench, the main construction guys that somehow fail to communicate problems or potential problems to Hilary early on in almost every single episode. How are these two still employed?
Yet, somehow, Hilary was still able to pull off a spectacular reno and everyone is happy in the end, but the clients list the house for sale anyway. David’s find of a bigger house is just too much of an allure for the couple to give up.
This is the same formula that follows the show, but right now Hilary has the advantage with the number of “Love It” clients since she does have very good taste and seems to know what she’s doing. Here are a couple of examples of her work [Via].
A renovation of a bare attic
Pinnock Family renovation
Think of the show as a House Hunters with added renovations, except the clients are rude, condescending, acerbic or otherwise coached beforehand for the cameras to act that way.
Which brings me to House Hunters
I see a worrying trend even in this difficult economy where builders, architects and even content creators for TV networks are pushing the bigger is better agenda at the cost of more sensible alternatives. House Hunters take the cake when it comes to pushing this agenda. I wouldn’t have a problem if the clients featured on the show genuinely Hunted for Houses on camera, but…
You may rest assured that most of the people on that show, if not all, are just posing for footage after they’ve already bought the house.
The producers said they found our (true) story–that we were getting a bigger house and turning our other one into a rental–boring and overdone.
So instead they just wanted to emphasize how our home was too small and we needed a bigger one desperately. It wasn’t true, but it was a smaller house than the one we bought so I went with it.
And so, the “bigger space” fad continues to be fueled by the construction and realestate industry. I.E. Advertising. This is what a lot of people are already starting to realize when they turn to the tiny house movement. Comparatively few people really need the space they claim they do, unless they have large families or a boat-load rubbish they keep, but never use. Even fewer willingly spend to heat and cool spaces that are never occupied as far as quality of life is concerned (bragging rights don’t count).
Why spend a fortune to keep the furniture comfortable?
It’s not the space you have; it’s how you use it. And unhappy people tend to still be dissatisfied with the roof they currently have over their head without legitimate reason.