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Adding Reality to HGTV Remodeling Programs 

Welcome to “At Home With Tom & Sandy.” As always, Tom and I are happy and enthusiastic and maybe a little wound-up from time to time but always ready to give you the inside scoop, what’s up, what’s down and what’s hot and what’s not and, in some cases, information that is just naturally straightforward, of which homeowners should be aware. Settle in and enjoy.  

Sandy:So, Tom, I was watching HGTV the other evening and was wondering if you watch those shows such as Fixer Upper, The Property Brothers, Flip or Flop and various others. 

Tom: Well sometimes. Sandy, my wife, doesn’t let me when she is home. She says I get too worked up. 

Sandy:Okay. Define worked up and what is it about these programs that gets your Irish up? 

Tom: Usually, it’s the cost of a project. I have seen amazing kitchen makeovers for under $20,000 and no way no how is that realistic for the project that is shown.  

Sandy: So that’s when ‘reality’ starts to slip away for you is it – the dollars expended for such beautiful and creative projects? 

Tom: On some shows, yes. Others get it right from time to time.  

Sandy: The remodeling shows usually start with someplace that is really run down or terribly dated from what I have discovered.  

Tom: Yup. The old Harvest Gold or Avocado Green refrigerator is a dead giveaway! Today, stainless is popular in kitchen remodeling, but it is slowly losing its standing to oiled bronze. Thirty years from now, we will all look back at these kitchens and fondly remember them the same way we are chuckling at the Harvest Gold and Avocado Green kitchens of the 1970s. 

Sandy:Tom, do you think the owners always see the potential and the hosts are there to help them through the remodeling maze or the homeowners do not see the outcome and isn’t that what you and your team do is help your clients see the outcome right from the get-go? I know most of you contractors/remodeling experts are there to help clients along. 

Tom: You are right on, Sandy. Our local life is not like HGTV! 

Sandy: That part that always gets me is how fast the projects move along and the contractor team shows up with 10-20 guys and it is banged out in an hour! 

Tom: Yeah, I love the 40-minute makeover. Time lapse photography helps that along. 

Sandy: I am not sure I want a fast-forward button in my life though! The show has to make things happen quickly though for it to be a commercial success and to hold our interest. 

Tom: Oh, I get that. My concern is that there is a tendency to paint an unrealistic expectation on the part of the public. How many shows talk about waiting a day for the building inspector to show up. 

Sandy: Doesn’t that happen during commercials? 

Tom: LOL. Now that I never thought of! The key is how much really goes into a project and the real time it takes.  

Sandy: Some shows I have seen have the subtitles where they say “Two Weeks Later.” That gives the audience some idea. 

Tom: You are right. Sometimes that happens. I also think they give short shrift to the design process. I saw one program where the host had the designer/ drafter walk up and two minutes later produce a complete 3D drawing for the owners. 

Sandy: Is that when your wife made you turn off the TV? 

Tom:  Yes, it was. 

Sandy: I get that. I like the part where the hosts are halfway through the project and uncover a major flaw in the existing structure that must be repaired. Does that happen to you? 

Tom: Major flaws are very rare. Most of us take the time to plan and research the project thoroughly before finalizing the work scope and price. If we were to present a client with the budget-breaking big flaw, I suspect my life expectancy would greatly diminish. 

Sandy: The owners seem to take it in stride, though. I would be in the face of the hosts for sure! That is a part of the unreality for me. 

Tom:Me too. The drama makes for great TV, but in life it does not. 

Sandy: It does set the stage for the ending “Big Reveal” though. That is the part where the owners haven’t seen the project for some time and are delighted with the results. It becomes repetitive and boring. 

Tom: That, again, makes for good TV but not reality. I find clients are wanting to see the daily progress. Even remote clients can be in the loop with uploaded photos and I will add that our projects are anything but repetitive and boring. 

Sandy: If I could make one change to HGTV it would be to show home-improvement projects that can actually happen in our real world. HGTV is a highly polished transformation project by miracle workers. I want to see contractors and construction crews actually working on the projects, versus everything always looking glam and perfect.  

Sandy:But then again, Tom, I know all the hard work is done by your team of heroic individuals for your remodel clients and your clients always, in the end, have a meticulously completed renovation.  

Tom:Sandy, are you suggesting a new series called TRRTV, Tom Reilly Renovations TV, looking more like the real people who actually exist in Prescott.  

Sandy:Yes, because you are the real people, you and your team are the ones on which we can count. Even though you are not HGTV, Renovations is a helpful resource for all people looking to spruce up their spaces and you have fun doing it.  

I am so happy that our local industry is more like the real world and the people living in it. 

Tom: I’m still thinking what a pause and fast-forward button might be like! 

Tom:As always, thanks to our readers for stopping by and reading “At Home with Tom and Sandy.” You’re in good company and we love sharing our column with you.  

And we always love hearing from the community. QCBN 

By Tom and Sandy

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