Lately, we have been wondering about the truth behind home improvement shows. Is it that easy to renovate a home in a few weeks? Should we break out our sledgehammers and go “open concept”? Before we got too carried away, we reached out to two of our Bozzuto Homes experts, Design Coordinator Katie Luka and Purchasing Manager Andrew Bolton.
What’s the most unrealistic part of home improvement shows?
Andrew: I think scheduling is a big part of it, too. When they do a whole remodel in six weeks, it’s a bit unrealistic. They use tricks like not showing the entire house, so we rarely get to see secondary bathrooms or bedrooms. I think, in some cases, they don’t have the budget or time to get to those rooms.
They also don’t give enough credit to the millions of decisions about backsplashes, countertops, doorknobs, etc. that you have to make in real life.
Tell me about the reality of the computer renderings seen on TV?
Katie: I don’t know if it actually is reality. In “Property Brothers,” it looks like they use TV-generated graphics. Chip and Joanna Gaines from “Fixer Upper” do use software called “Sketch Up”, but the timeframe that they have to create an entire house is crazy. I do mock-up renderings of one room for our customers, but it takes a long time to do just that room. I don’t think many designers do renderings because of the time and cost.
Andrew: As the industry continues to evolve, we’re moving in the direction of computer renderings, but the way they show walls going down and up is currently unrealistic. The old school way is to create a board of samples and stagings—so in reality, it’s much more of a touch and feel library.
Do you think home improvement shows convey the real stress of buying/renovating/designing a home?
Katie: Not buying, but some of them do an okay job conveying the stress of the renovations—especially “Love It or List It.” Usually, some problem arises where they have to decide to either give something up or spend more money
Andrew: A lot of the costs they run into are used for drama or a twist. In reality, a smart buyer would have a better inspection initially. Many of the things on TV would be caught in a good inspection.
Do you think HGTV shows follow design trends or set them?
Andrew: In my opinion, design trends are very localized, but I do think people get a lot of inspiration from the shows.
Katie: A little bit of both. They usually do “looks for the masses,” but they’re pulling from high-end style—like new uses of marble in backsplashes for example.
What would you tell someone who is setting out to do a home renovation?
Andrew: Contractors have a reputation for being untrustworthy, so try to get good recommendations and don’t try to do too much yourself.
Katie: Choose one trend, don’t try to mix or do too many at once. It’s nice to incorporate one or two styles, like doing a classic material but in a trendy pattern. But, I think people should do what they like—if you really love something, go with it, even if it may go out of style in a few years. Everything can always be changed.
Is making customers happy as easy as it looks on TV?
Andrew: We do a lot to make our customers happy. Sometimes that means having a lot of patience and flexibility, but it’s what we’re here for.
Katie: Yes, patience for sure. But, our buyers see more of their homes throughout the process, so it’s less of a “wow” reveal factor at the end, and more like they’re excited to see how all of their decisions came together.