HGTV Makes It Look Easy

April 15, 2009 at 8:53 pm 3 comments

Fact: HGTV romanticizes the thought of renovating a home. With their oh-so-easy furniture building tips, cheap & somehow perfect-looking garage sale finds and an expert decorator’s eye for color, fabric & coordination, they really make you feel empowered to accomplish the same type of vision. Now, I don’t usually keep circular saws and staple guns on hand to create the perfect headboard. And if I did, I wouldn’t know how to use them. Hell, I wouldn’t even know how much fabric I’d have to buy (how much does a yard cover?). When it’s time to get crackin’, you quickly realize how daunting a task home improvement and decorating is.

For instance, we knew immediately that we needed to build in more storage in the kitchen. Specifically, we needed to build a pantry. Without it, there was virtually no extra room after assigning cabinet space for our dishes and pots / pans.  Luckily, we came across Closetmaid from Home Depot. With Closetmaid, you enter in the measurements of the space you’d like to create – a closet, pantry or storage area, for instance. Then, you build your virtual closet on this website and when you’re done, you can print out an exact list of supplies you need to build it yourself. The assembly still took a few hours, but it would’ve taken a lot longer if we had to figure it out ourselves.

If you’re buying your first home and can’t wait to get your hands dirty, here are a few truths:

  • Everything is 10X more expensive than you think it will be. I thought one of my first projects would be to swap out the old hardware in the kitchen and bathrooms, and replace the doorknobs to something more modern. Doorknobs are about $15 a piece. Decent looking (a.k.a. not gross 80’s brass) kitchen cabinet hardware can run you $2 – 5 each. It doesn’t sound expensive, but it really adds up. 8 months later, it’s still on the To Do list.
  • Channeling Genevieve Gorder is not as easy as you think. Inspiration comes easy to professional designers. Would I have ever thought to paint an old waistbasket, turn it upside down, and use it as a lampshade? Ehh, probably not. Give it time, look at a million websites and know that it’s perfectly ok to copy the display in the furniture showroom.
  • It’s not going to come out as perfect as you’d like. Special lighting and camera angles make the rooms on HGTV look seamless. The truth is, there’s paint on the ceiling, something somewhere is being held together by masking tape and the homemade pillows won’t last a week after your dog gets ahold of them.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have this ridiculous notion that we’ll be able to tile the bathrooms, replace the vanities and de-popcorn the ceilings ourselves. But, at least I’ve come to know that a “weekend project” takes at LEAST a month.


Entry filed under: Decorating, Home Care, Home Improvement. Tags: , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sarah  |  April 17, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    HAHAHA!! This is great. We WERE on the same page. Oh, and I have a bunch of the upgraded cabinet knobs in a beautiful brushed finish if you are interested – my husband objected to “oval” and put back on the cheap-o round ones after I dropped over $100 on the new ones! I have, like, 80 or so…

  • 2. Mara  |  April 21, 2009 at 8:51 am

    This is so true! HGTV shows renovates entire homes in 8 days with only 4 people working. It took us over a month to renovate our small bathroom before we moved in. Someone should warn new home owners that projects will always take at least 3 times longer to finish than they are anticipating.

  • 3. Sandra  |  April 25, 2009 at 7:07 am

    Seriously! There should be a disclaimer at the beginning saying “this is not realistic” or “it would take a normal person a month to accomplish this”, etc.

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