Monday, July 11, 2011

How I Would Run My Own Television Show

Today the new season of Design Star begins on HGTV. I haven't decided if I will follow it. I've almost stopped watching the home rehab and staging shows on television.

It's all about my sanity. I need to preserve what's left of it, and I have too many opinions that get in the way of my just sitting back and enjoying the mayhem.

Mayhem it is. As I mentioned two weeks ago, my daughter and her husband were one of the couples who had a room makeover on TLC's Trading Spaces. So, I got to see the absurdity behind the scenes. The guests are encouraged to get a little zany and emotional. Worker bees do the details that designers get credit for. Workmanship is shoddy. 

To be honest, I am posting this to rant. But at the same time, I hope I can point out some solutions to common remodeling misconceptions and mistakes. Mr. Lucky and I have worked over 20 years in the building trade, and rehabbed enough houses to have learned a few tricks. 

I always joke, "I want a show of my own!" Here's what I would do if I won on Design Star. Which won't happen. I'm not weird enough, young enough, or good-looking enough.  
 
Hyped Schedule. I wouldn't pretend that good work could be done in a rush. I know producers need to inject the drama that the work needs to be finished for the open house that's just a day away. But, seriously? I would tell my viewers to make a realistic schedule and to be flexible. But that doesn't make an exciting format. This is only one reason I don't have a show!

My reality tv calls for gloves and a hat.

Wacky Outfits. I would wear clothes that are appropriate to the tasks. Why are hosts wearing high heels when they replace light fixtures and hang draperies? Why are they painting walls in halter tops and flip flops? The answer is, of course, that it looks sexy. Well, there goes my contract, because I'd be wearing my paint-stained overalls, cotton work gloves, and clunky work shoes that protect my toes.

Dramatic Demolition. We've all seen it. The host hands the homeowner a sledgehammer and the "fun" starts. Wood cabinets that could be taken to ReStore or elsewhere, get smashed to splinters and hauled to the dumpster. It's just too boring to remove things with a pry bar.  On my show, we'd recycle as much as practical.

Carpet Craziness. It's also very dramatic to show hunky carpenters rolling up an entire room of carpeting in one piece. On my show, the hunky carpenter (my co-host) would use a utility knife to slice the carpet and padding into 3- or 4-foot wide strips. It's a whole lot easier to roll these and carry them out. One person can do it alone, and the woodwork doesn't get scratched from that stiff carpet backing. 

Goofy Painting. Since I paint for a living, I'm especially opinionated about painting techniques. On my show, my hunky assistants and I would always cut in before we roll walls. We'd use a 5-gallon bucket and a grid instead of a dippy little roller pan. We'd use a handle on the roller so our wrists wouldn't take the abuse, and we so we could paint comfortably all day. We'd use a two-step ladder to minimize stretching and over-reaching.  

Phony Budgets. On my show, I'd be realistic about what the materials honestly, actually cost. Retail. And I'd elaborate on what labor would cost if you had to pay for all the electricians, plumbers, drywall guys, landscapers, tile layers, painters, and carpenters.

Shoddy Materials. Okay, I've been known to make furniture out of paper mache, cover oatmeal boxes with wallpaper, glue ribbon onto beach mats for no-sew curtains, and cover a plastic serving tray with an old map, but on my show, I'd never throw a yard of muslin over a curtain rod and call it a valance. I wouldn't bring in a bunch of Walmart metal-leg furniture and call it luxurious. 

Your Turn. Do you have some pet peeves that make you want to scream when you're watching the home makeover shows? What will your show be like when you win on Design Star?

Are you staging a home for sale? Download my eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar. I won't send you down a primrose path. I know the realities of selling a home.  

  I need some high heeled sneakers and cosmetic surgery to join the group! How about you?

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