Saturday, February 2, 2013

HGTV & DIY Shows


I love Drew and Jonathan Scott.  I watch their show "Property Brothers" faithfully!  Never miss it!  However, their new show "Buying and Selling" sucks in my personal opinion!

In case you haven't watched it yet, let me give you the "plot".  Couple wants to buy their dream home but can't seem to sell their current home.  Enter Drew and Jonathan.  Drew is a real estate agent and Jonathan is a contractor.

They convince the couple that they will never be able to sell their current home for enough money to allow them to purchase their dream home - UNLESS they renovate their current home.

One couple was asked to invest $15,000 in reno costs and at the end of the day (and 5 weeks later) they sold their house for only $20,000 more.  So this couple only gained an extra $5,000 to add to the cost of buying their dream home.

Now I'm not real estate expert, but it would appear to me that they would have been in a far better place had they just added the $15,000 to their down payment on their dream home.

To be fair, maybe had they not done the reno work, they never would have sold their current home for any price?  But we'll never know because they did the reno work.

2017 Update:

Still don't like this show....sorry guys.


As I said above, I always watch this show....always.  I love the concept of buying a house for the bones and then putting the bulk of your money into customizing the house to suit YOUR taste - not the previous owners taste - or lack thereof.

While Jonathan's design taste differs from mine - a lot - the before and after results are amazing!  My problem with Jonathan's design choices are always the same.  He goes into old houses and knocks the character right out!

I try to be fair (there's that word again) so I will say that I understand the current fad is the dreaded open concept so he's giving them what they want.  However, I would think that Drew, being a real estate professional, would try to rein it in a little bit because this whole open concept fad will eventually go away and when these folks get ready to sell their reno'ed houses, they're going to have to put up some walls.

The only part about this show that annoys me (besides the open concept craze) is the part where they insinuate to the couple and the audience that Jonathan can turn an entire house into their dream home on their budget.  In actuality, the couples only get either a main floor or the bedroom suite for their money.  I've never seen them do an entire house and only very rarely do I see them doing a kitchen, bath, bedroom and living room.  That's a very rare thing.  You get living room, dining room and kitchen OR you get master bedroom, closet and master bath.  Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that once Drew and Jonathan are gone - the homeowners will still have to come up with enough cash to finish the rest of the house.

But considering everything - I still love this show.


Where do I begin with this show?  I love it AND I hate it.  I love it because David (the real estate agent) is hilarious.  I also love trying to guess which way the home owners are going to go.  I even love the end when I get to see what Hilary (the designer) has done to their home in an attempt to make them stay.

But the thing I hate the most about this show is the apparent bad choices made by Hilary.  I realize this is a TV show and sometimes, well most of the time, every decision made by the cast is made for shock or entertainment value - not for reasons of logic.  However, it never ceases to amaze and frustrate me when the homeowners give Hilary their list of must haves in order to keep them in their current home and Hilary immediately ignores their wishes and goes her own direction with their money.

Example.  Homeowners give Hilary a huge must have list and a very small budget.  At the top of that list is a new kitchen and somewhere near the bottom is to have a family room (or extra bedroom) in the currently unfinished basement.

The show is filmed mostly in Canada and I'm not at all familiar with real estate values up there so I can't say with any certainty that there's more resale value in a house with a new kitchen versus a house with a finished basement.  However, where I'm from, a new kitchen trumps a finished basement all day long.

The other thing that never ceases to annoy me about her ignoring the kitchen in favor of the basement is the surprise factor.  I'm no construction expert but even I know that anytime you head to the basement of an old house and start pulling out walls and digging up the floors - you're going to find expensive problems that have to be addressed before you can go any further.  That means your initial budget has been reduced by half - at least.

The final thing that drives me insane about this show is the fact that she tells the homeowners "I can't do your kitchen because the basement costs so much" then at the reveal you discover that she spent $5,000 on custom window coverings and $3,000 on lighting fixtures. All the other furniture and decorative accessories were similarly over priced.  I really think that when she noticed her money was getting tight, maybe she should have scaled down on her shopping and put that money into at least refacing the kitchen cabinets.

During the show you almost always see the contractors making a mistake and then charging the homeowners to fix their mistake.  Example.  On one episode, the contractors put in new stairs to the basement.  The inspector came back and said they were a quarter inch off so they had to rip them out and do them again.  They charged the entire cost to the homeowner.  Sorry but if YOU make the mistake then YOU pay for it.

Or what about the time they were going to put in a skylight or something and when the contractor got up on the roof, he noticed the roof needed to be replaced.  Did they just get off the roof, tell the homeowner and then let the homeowner decide what to do?  No.  They replaced the roof which came out of the homeowners budget.  They weren't there to do exterior or roof repair - they were there to work on the inside of the house.

Hmm.  In reading this section of my post over, it makes me wonder why I watch this show.


This show ROCKS!  Every time I watch it I learn something new.  Everytime! Shows like this one reminds me why I watch home improvement channels to begin with!  The plethora of information that Bronson Pinchot imparts is so varied and plentiful that you really almost have to watch each episode at least twice to catch all of it.  He doesn't just tell you about what he's going to do to the attic space - he tells you why it's called an attic.

His style is not at all the same as mine.  Most of his work is - but he deviates from my taste most of the time and a lot.  I personally like paint.  He, too likes paint, but only after it's aged for about 200 years.

Great show in every way! Educational, instructional, it!!

2017 Update:  Unfortunately this show is no longer airing.  This makes me sad because I adored it and loved the information that I received every single episode.


What can I say about this show?  Nothing bad, that's for sure.  Nicole Curtis is a beautiful woman who rolls up her sleeves and gets down and dirty with her rehabs!

There have been other woman led DIY shows in the past.  Tons and tons of them.  However, Nicole Curtis isn't just a woman led DIY show.  She is a force to be reckoned with.  Most of the other woman led shows only depict the woman as a "part" of the process whereas Rehab Addict depicts the woman as nearly the entire process.

The show doesn't just show her made up and pretty it shows her sans make up, dirty, disheveled, hot and tired.  It doesn't show her fluffing pillows and talking wall color, it shows her knocking out walls and sanding floors.

During the whole process, she talks about the mistakes she's made when doing houses and how she's learned from it - so we can learn from it. She shows us how she "shops the curbs" to get items to reuse.  She walks us through her design and rehabs and tells us not only what decisions she's making but why.

If I were going to have hero worship, it would be aimed directly at Nicole Curtis.

Again, I say, I love this show!!

2017 Update:  Where to start?  Somewhere between season 6 and season 8, Nicole Curtis lost her damned mind.  Maybe she is still the same old gal but was able to camouflage it better?  Who knows?  What I do know is that when she kept her personal life separate from her show, I loved it.  I learned something new every episode and I loved watching it.  I never missed an episode.  Then came season 6.

Season 6 was the beginning of the end for me.  That was the season when Nicole began inviting us into her personal life more than ever before.  She renovated a house for her son in that season.  Then we saw her work with Lebron James to redo a house for an impoverished family. We were shown how she uses volunteers to do a lot of the grunt work on her houses.   There were hints that this was the norm for her in past episodes but it appeared at the time, to be an exception rather than the rule until this season.  This habit of hers particularly annoyed me since she sells the houses for a profit once she's done with them.  So she gets folks to pitch in, do most of the grunt work like painting, cleaning, raking, planting flowers/shrubs and even to the point that she sells tickets to view her houses and then she turns around, sells them and makes a profit??  WTH?  Am I the only person who sees this as a rip-off?

Then she gets all involved in the life of Tessa.  I get that she was touched and wanted to help but she gets on these sanctimonious tirades about the whole thing that borders bragging.  She talks ad nauseam about how she is going to fight for Tessa and help find a cure....huh?....did she go to medical school?  Does she really think she is so powerful that she can prevent that child from dying of her disease?  Unfortunately, Tessa did pass away and I am saddened about that.  But the mighty Nicole Curtis made a few bucks in the process which saddens me as well.

Season 7 finds Nicole purchasing her grandparent's old place and fixing it up.  I watched the first episode and skipped this season.  The episode just comes across as being so fake to me.  When Nicole begins waxing on about how family oriented she is and how important family is to her it makes me ill.

Then her personal life surfaces all over the internet.  News of her being dumped by (of all people) Dave Coulier.  News that she moved to another state in an attempt to interfere with her baby's daddy getting to spend time with his child.  News of her desperate attempts to keep that baby away from his father.

Then there's the whole breastfeeding scenario.  You want to breastfeed your child?  Fine.  Do it.  I don't want to hear about it nor do I want to see it.  That's my personal choice as much as breastfeeding your THREE-year-old is your personal choice.  I won't push my choice on you and I'd appreciate your not shoving your personal choice in my face.  Deal?  Apparently not with Nicole because it's become glaringly obvious that in her mind, HER opinion is the ONLY opinion that matters.  

Newsflash Nicole Curtis:  I don't watch your show to hear your views on personal matters, or cancer, or poverty or breastfeeding.....I watch your show....or I should say "watched" your show to learn about home renovation.

Did you know that Nicole and her parents are involved in a nasty lawsuit?  Yep.  Apparently, Nicole and her parents butted heads over the care (and estate) of her grandmother and Nicole's oldest son (Ethan) ran away from home and went to his grandparent's house which didn't sit well with Queen Curtis.   At one point during this family feud, Nicole's mother tried to get a restraining order on Nicole - that's how contentious this family feud became.  How ugly do your phone calls with your daughter have to get that you decide to head to the Court to make them stop her from calling you?  Pretty ugly I'd say.  Nicole even tried to ban her mother from coming to the hospital to see the grandmother.  WTH?   

Putting all of that aside, I have tried to watch season 8 of her show.  It is no longer filled with helpful tips.  It no longer focuses on the job of renovating houses but more on Nicole's personal opinions and on her and her new partner flirting and frolicking.  Was it really necessary to show her getting in the backseat of a work truck to pump her breast milk?  Is that a part of renovation?

HGTV if you're listening......either pull her in line or cut her loose.  I'm not watching and no one that I know who used to watch is watching either.

I kinda hate the direction that home improvement and decorating shows have headed.  For years HGTV and DIY focused on showing us how to make our homes more comfortable and attractive and more importantly, how to do that on a budget.  There were a few shows out there whose format depended on contractors, designers and such but for the most part, it really was a do it yourself atmosphere.  However, now most of them focus on how wonderful your home can be IF you hire a contractor and a designer and a big crew of other miscellaneous folks to come in and do the work.

I miss the shows below because when I watched them, I headed for the DIY store to buy some paint, or to the thrift store to find a dresser or whatever piece of furniture I saw them transform.  It was cheap.  It was fun.  It was educational and instructional.  Not so much anymore.


I watched this show from the first episode in 2000 all the way to the end which was in 2008. 8 years!  The format of this show pitted neighbors designing a room in each other's home with no input or peeking from the homeowner and all for under $1,000 (they raised the amount a little in later years). 

Some of the "designs" were horrific but I learned more from watching this show than from any other.  I learned how to make lamps out of ordinary stuff.  I learned how to whitewash wood, how to do a crackle finish, how to make my own wallpaper, how to make curtains out of bed sheets, how to make a dining room table out of spare wood.....the list goes on and on.

Even when the designs were horrific, there was ample entertainment value to the show.  I really miss this one and wish they would rerun the episodes!!   To this day if I could hire any designer to do my home it would be either Doug Wilson or Edward Walker hands down.


This show hosted by Joan Steffend was truly a staple in my TV viewing for many many years.  This show started on the air in 1997, well before Trading Spaces made their premiere in 2000.  At some point, I could no longer find it on the air.  According to IMDB, it is still running somewhere.  However, it also states that Joan only hosted one episode back in 2008 and I know that to be incorrect as well.  Guess that proves that not everything you read on the web is true.

The gist of the show was for Joan and her guest designer to take one room and completely redo it for under $500.

Even back in 1997 that was a tiny budget but somehow she and her guest always made it work.  Not that many of her designs suited my personal taste but the rooms always looked far better than they did before Joan worked her magic.

I learned how to make my own book shelves from scrap wood from watching this show.  I learned how to embellish cheap curtains, how to stencil and many other inexpensive ways to update the look of a room at little to no money.  Another show I wish would go into reruns.

And my personal favorite?

This show was the granddaddy of all design shows!  It began in England and aired on BBC beginning in 1996 and ran until 2004.

I began watching it on BBC America back in 1997 and watched it faithfully until the last episode aired in 2004.  Then I continued watching the reruns.

This show was, in format, exactly like the American show "Trading Spaces" where two sets of homeowners traded houses and designed a room in one another's houses.  The British version featured a cocky and oftentimes ill-tempered carpenter, Andy Kane.  On all other design shows the carpenters are always friendly, helpful and bend over backward to get the projects done exactly as requested by the designers.  Not so much with Andy Kane.  Thus my reasoning for loving him!

So now you have my list of must watch, wish I could still watch and don't bother watching do it yourself shows.

Let me know what you think!

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