Thread Number: 71349  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
"Excessive" demo in TV shows
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Post# 944113   6/18/2017 at 13:37 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

Sometimes I watch those TV shows where people look at houses to buy with the intent to remodel the house. What strikes me is how much they change the houses to suit their taste. A lot of these houses to me look mostly fine, but just need a little work such as flooring or paint or new fixtures or taking down some ugly wallpaper. But usually in these shows, they rip out entire rooms when to me a little elbow grease would have sufficed.

I'm not sure when this idea of doing so much demo came up. Maybe it's because growing up, we usually had to make due with less than ideal habitations, but I have never really known anyone to do remodels of this scale. It used to be if you bought a house, it was expected you would want to make changes such as ripping up carpet, or repainting rooms, etc. But I don't recall it where people were ripping out whole kitchens and bathrooms just because a few things about them were outdated. Especially all at once before they even move in!

Don't get me wrong, there are things I don't like. An example are these 1970s tract homes that are so prevalent here, with their fake luan doors, skinny trim and cheap woodgrain laminate flat cabinets. I wouldn't mind ripping that stuff out. But I didn't live in that era, so maybe that's why I don't feel any fondness for it.

But most of the houses in these programs, are very well built and not just cheap tract housing, so I don't understand why everything has to come out.

I see these people walk into very nice rooms and start saying what all is wrong with it, whereas I would probably be saying I love it.

I do wonder if part of these shows are scripted, and I have to wonder where all of the funds are coming from, especially given what the people are paying for the houses alone, let alone redoing them.

Post# 944118 , Reply# 1   6/18/2017 at 14:00 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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Your sing'n my song Cole! On top of all you said above, what really gets my goat is when these malcontents enter a beautiful, vintage Crafstman and their first reaction it to begin ripping out walls so they can achieve the much sought after "open concept". Or the beautifully preserved vintage bathrooms are immediately pronounced to be "dated" and must undergo a complete gut job. Or the pristine, original hardwood floors aren't the ubiquitous dark finish, so they rip them out and replace then with that crappy new engineered hardwood flooring. Now I get it, if you buy the house you can do whatever you want with it, but why buy a beautiful vintage home and proceed to make it something else?

I guess I'm just hopelessly old fashioned and practical, but if it ain't broke I say don't fix it. I think its nice to appreciate old homes and preserve them if possible.

This post was last edited 06/18/2017 at 14:50
Post# 944119 , Reply# 2   6/18/2017 at 14:00 by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        

Well, as a friend of mine says, modern TV shows are *not* about our usual normal reactions. No TV show showing sane people will get the ratings that some of the crappy drama laden shows get.

That being said, I often found it funny that in the area we I live, you can *count* on this chain of events happening:

1) a home is put on the market, a sign hangs on the lawn telling you what company is representing the sellers etc;

2) a few months later, the home hasn't sold yet, but the sign disappears;

3) a couple of weeks later, you see lots of trucks parked near the house or in the driveway, old stuff like toilets, tubs, kitchen cabinets are either being disposed slowly over weeks during the garbage days or they are stuffed in dumpsters;

4) not long after that, the home is put on the market again, sign hanging on the lawn, maybe it's the first realtor, maybe a completely different one to compensate for the prior ones who "failed to sell the home";

5) not long after that, the home sells -- you know that because the realtor will proudly hang a sign telling you so;

6) about a year later, almost without fail, the home that just got remodeled to sell a year ago is being remodeled, the one year old bathroom/kitchen fixtures are now in a dumpster, and lots of builders trucks are parked near the home or driveway.

It is at this point that in my head I keep wondering, if they did not like the home to the point that they remodeled it, couldn't they have bought the home a few months *before* that and paid *less*? Because they've just paid for a remodel they did not like and used for just one year.

When I ask questions like that here, people say "but the house was not in move in condition!". Well, maybe that's true, maybe not -- all we know is that the previous owners were living there, tried to sell it. In my head it would make sense that their remodel would appeal to people who *wanted* it that way and would not remodel in many years, not people who could have saved anywhere from ten to fifty grand if they bought the cheaper version, remodeled it and then moved in.

Post# 944139 , Reply# 3   6/18/2017 at 16:32 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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There are several different questions in he original post. To answer one of them, yes, these shows are following a script, or at least a template. They're selling a fantasy of a dream house for the typical viewer. There's no drama in buying an existing house and saying it doesn't need any changes.

You notice they always run into some unexpected problem or problems that have to be overcome by the ingenuity of the program's host. Of course, the problem is overcome quickly after the commercial break. They never seem to have any problems with contractors who don't show up or who do unacceptable work, either, which are two of the biggest pitfalls of remodeling.

Whether the changes are improvements or not (I don't care for granite countertops, for instance) is a matter of personal preference, but it's pretty clear that the average viewer likes the stuff they're doing. Otherwise they wouldn't keep watching.

Post# 944141 , Reply# 4   6/18/2017 at 16:42 by perc-o-prince (Southboro, Mass)        

"No TV show showing sane people will get the ratings that some of the crappy drama laden shows get."

Honey Boo-Boo
Housewives of...
et cetera, ad nauseum.

Amen Paulo.


Post# 944168 , Reply# 5   6/18/2017 at 22:25 by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

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I seldom if ever watch those shows anymore because of it all.  Cue the "dated" commentaries and the cutting and editing to make it appear the job is done in a minimal of time.  And then when they compare the previous pre remodelling price to the what the house is worth now is a crock as well.. because you know darn well the home owners weren't paying the true retail / labor prices you or I would be paying. Leaving little or no profit at all. 

Interestingly a house a few doors up for us was going on the market "as is" and pretty much original late 50's and a bargain price for the street. It's been beautifully maintained inside and out.  One of my neighbors is commenting how it won't sell because it's so dated. Really?  It will sell in a flash.. there are probably hundreds of people out there who would love to buy that house as is and at that price and slowly fashion it to their own tastes and who otherwise won't be able to afford it once any pricey reno's are done. 

Post# 944178 , Reply# 6   6/19/2017 at 00:42 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Sadly most of the NEW stuff put into those new homes is what should be in the dumpster or fed into the RL Leach trash truck.Particle board crushes so satisfactorily!Yes-when that "Remod" home is sold-someone points out a year later it is remodded again-yes because of the CHEAP furniture and fixtures that the first remodder put in.---Now if they stuck with the OLD fixtures and kitchen,bathroom furniture-it would still be in use!And still GOOD!

Post# 944182 , Reply# 7   6/19/2017 at 01:20 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        

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I sort of lost interest in the ersatz reality home makeover shows after "Trading Spaces" featured an idiotic interior designer who hot glued bits of sharp broken colored glass to the fireplace screen in the living room of a classic Craftsman bungalow in Oakland, CA.

When the owners came back and saw this, they were shocked - they had little kids who likely would have cut themselves while inspecting the handiwork.

In fact I can't generally stand any so-called "reality" shows. They are all staged for maximum shock effect to try to generate ratings. I doubt little of what occurs in the finished show is actually "real".

Post# 944197 , Reply# 8   6/19/2017 at 06:23 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

The thing I saw that showed me how out of touch with the history of home architecture these rip-it-out, tear-it-up people and even real estate agents are is when they were walking through a 50s home and came to the little alcove in the hallway made for the phone. There was a little shelf underneath for the phone directory. Before that older homes could have a little phone bench in the hall with a seat and half shelf for the phone and a place underneath for the "phone book." The alcove was a  step toward modernizing architecture to accommodate a piece of new technology, but these "experts" did not even know what it was. At that point, I figured these shows were a waste of time.  How could they appreciate what they did not recognize in these homes?

Post# 944204 , Reply# 9   6/19/2017 at 07:34 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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just like Designer jeans, Designer shows will disappear.....anything 'Designer' has always proven to be a fad....

I do miss the days of shows like Lynette Jennings, simple home projects anyone can accomplish, thoughts and ideas to improve or spice up what you already have, and make paradise where ever you live.....

I also guess there are different descriptions for "Going Green".....sprucing up, repurposing, are my ideas of going green....

ripping out perfect working fixtures, appliances, woodwork, etc.....tossing into a landfill, only to install new products supplied from precious resources, is not going green, its more along the lines of destruction of the planet...especially if its not necessary....

Post# 944211 , Reply# 10   6/19/2017 at 09:18 by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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I do not have a television, so I don't see these shows.  However, last month I was out of town for several days and naturally my hotel room had a flat-panel tv and offered all these shows, so I watched for the nights that I was there.  One show featured a husband and wife team who would show potential homes to buyers and suggest alterations and then after the buyer made his/her decision the remodeling would begin.  I was amazed at regardless of the style, age, size, etc. of the house the potential was always the same:  take down walls in the living spaces, create an island between the kitchen and eating space, line up the appliances beyond with more storage.  Pretty much cookie cutter solution over and over.  After a few episodes I did lose my interest in the show.



Post# 944214 , Reply# 11   6/19/2017 at 09:29 by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        

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I cant recall one time in watching any of these house makeover shows when the prospective buyer(s) stated they liked separate rooms. All you ever here is "open concept". The first floor has to be one big open room. To each his own but I prefer a separation of rooms. Having that open kitchen/dining/living area treatment always gives me the feeling you're cooking in your living room.

Of all the shows I don't hate Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines and will watch it if I come across it. They seem like down-to-earth, unpretentious people. I like most of Joanna's styling ideas. The homes on the show tend to be towards modest and reasonably priced. I think it being based in a medium sized city in TX has a lot to do with it. They haven't gone "Hollywood".

I did read a while back that the furniture used in completing the house isn't included but available to the new owners for purchase if they want it. At the time of the reveal to the new owners I have heard them mention six-seven weeks have passed since first looking at the home before purchase. So it that respect they aren't trying to make it seem as only two weeks have gone by during the renovation.

*Lawrence: Sounds like you're referring to Chip and Joanna Gaines who I mentioned above. In that respect that show is like all the others with the new owners wanting an "open concept". The designers have to follow what the owners want or they wouldn't have any clients.

** Remember when HGTV channel used to have shows concerning little projects to update a room? The History channel used to have shows about history? The Learning Channel and Discovery used to have shows that were actually educational? All the channels have gone reality and are next to not worth watching IMO.

This post was last edited 06/19/2017 at 10:12
Post# 944224 , Reply# 12   6/19/2017 at 10:28 by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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The only home improvement show I do actually like watching is Mike Holmes. You actually can learn alot from him, much unlike those reality based ones that the goal is fill a dumpster.

Post# 944245 , Reply# 13   6/19/2017 at 13:11 by Revvinkevin (Between Mickey Mouse & the Queen Mary (So. Cal.)        
I H A T E the term "open concept"

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Because the way I see it, once the remodel is done, it is NO LONGER a concept


One thing you should remember about all these shows that go into these older homes to remodel / update them is, the vast majority of the public don't want or care about preserving ANY 1940's, 50's or '60's (+/-) vintage home.  They only want remodeled, updated and modern.  Also, these people who buy properties ONLY to update / remodel them in order to sell them, don't give a sh*t about anything vintage, whether it's in good condition, valuable or not.  It's all trash to them and time is money.  


I must preface the following comments by saying, while I have watched and enjoyed certain shows (Love it or List it and a couple others), I have completely lost interest the vast majority of these "remodel" shows for a number of reasons, but my other half cannot get enough of them.  GAG!


RE: remodeling costs.  The show "Flip or Flop" in So Cal. is a perfect example of "no link to reality" in regards to what they say it costs to remodel various rooms.  $3K for a bathroom, or $5K to $8K for a kitchen?   Especially when they completely gut it AND with the materials they use??  Laughable!    The producers must be smoking something really good, because the dollar amounts they "say" it costs has no connection to reality at all!


Also, the blond bimbo in the Las Vegas version of "Flip or Flop" designs everything to HER tastes (at least in the one episode I watched), rather than what would appeal to the majority of buyers as she SHOULD be doing.  Like a pink sliding barn door in the living room?  Purple bathroom and a pink ceiling and wall in the master bedroom, REALLY???


RE: Fixer upper with Chip & Joanna Gaines.  While I also like the persona of the two and how the show flows, "spoiler alert", it's all fake!   They pretend to show the buyers 3 different homes and that buyer chooses one to remodel.  However, the buyers have already purchased that house that they remodel.  Also, the design, all furnishings and other things tied to the remodel is all through Joanna Gaines shops, stores and other companies, it's all about her.  See the link below.  One last thing: the show is ending, this is their last season.



This post was last edited 06/19/2017 at 17:01
Post# 944297 , Reply# 14   6/19/2017 at 20:09 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        

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I have to admit I get a giggle when I see a "new" or remodeled home with a big open space downstairs, and then tiny cell-like bedrooms above.

What were they thinking?

Post# 944311 , Reply# 15   6/19/2017 at 23:39 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        
Phone alcoves...

Funny that should come up.  I'm redoing a mid 50's house and after a bit of thought eliminated it.  I could see no useful purpose for it, and the house lacked a linen closet.  Little surgery to remove the arches at the top of the doorway and it became the missing closet.  Luckily I found a nice birch door to fit it in the attic.


There are things worth saving and things that are not.  While "cute" in it's way there honestly was no modern use for it.

Post# 944326 , Reply# 16   6/20/2017 at 01:16 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        

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I remember one flat we lived in SF in the '60's had a phone alcove in the hallway. I thought it was a nice touch, and a standard phone fit there perfectly. I don't recall any shelf under it for a phone book, though.

This '41 house I'm in now has no phone alcove. It does have a recess in the entry hallway for dual chimes for the doorbell. There's a wall jack for a wall phone in the kitchen, though.

Generally I'm in favor of leaving such period touches in place.

Post# 944329 , Reply# 17   6/20/2017 at 02:33 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Phone alcoves in older buildings-yes,just leave them there and use them-a modern phone will work there just fine!You may have to find a nearby outlet to power the modern phone since most of those need power to work.

Post# 944455 , Reply# 18   6/21/2017 at 08:02 by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
Phone alcove

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Could you place a small pot plant in it? Something like an aspidistra?

I don't like open plan either. Too much noise, along with steam, grease and smoke permeating through the house. No thank you.

Another reason for having separate rooms with substantial doors - house fires. If there was a fire, internal doors could stall and contain the fire. Open plan simply allows fire to spread unchecked.

Post# 944895 , Reply# 19   6/23/2017 at 17:10 by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

That business with the "we'll show you three homes and you pick one" has been an open secret for a while. A few years ago, there was an episode of House Hunters shot here in town. The local paper interviewed the family, and they described the process: they had already purchased and moved in. The show found two vacant properties and staged them for the show. They talked about having to remove personal decorations, like photos, from the areas of their home that were to be shown, so that the house would look staged like the other two houses.

And yeah, if there's one thing I hate, it's people who go into a mid-century house, pronounce it "dated", and gut it to replace everything with the latest trendy-schmendy that really will be dated a few years from now. I'm noticing that the shows are starting to rip out the kind of stuff they were putting in 7-8 years ago; e.g., granite countertops are coming out because they aren't the right kind of granite for the current trend. I get a laugh out of the latest trend of having no upper cabinets in the kitchen to make it look more "country". Where the hell are you supposed to put everything?

A co-worker and her husband bought an open concept house circa 1990, when the first wave of that silliness happened. She grew to hate it. One thing she said was that, when they had people over for dinner, she had to rinse and put everything in the dishwasher right after dinner, because the kitchen was open to most of the rest of the house and she hated having dirty dishes piled up in plain views. She also said that it was impossible for more than one activity to be taking place in the house at the same time; if the kids were playing and she had work material she needed to study, she had to go outside to get away from the noise.

Post# 944956 , Reply# 20   6/24/2017 at 00:47 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Good points about the open plans being a fire hazard--I too like ROOMS-esp the kitchen being on its own-who wants the heat,smells,and sight of dirty dishes within eyeshot of guests?

Post# 944959 , Reply# 21   6/24/2017 at 01:14 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Me too!  I want a separate kitchen complete with swinging door opening into a dining room.  Heck, I've considered having the kitchen separated from the least by a breezeway or screened porch...that way when I turn the vent hood on high it won't suck out all the heat or AC from the rest of the house.  I want a library/music room I can stick my grand piano in and close the door when I want to play.  I want a laundry ROOM instead of a closet.  If we ever build a house it will have rooms, none of this open floorplan crap.

Post# 944961 , Reply# 22   6/24/2017 at 01:36 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

For me--a separate home theater room and separate Hi-Fi music room would be nice.And the theater could provide an alternative place to sleep during the day when neighbors--they all rev up their mowers at the same time.I have a laundy room-this is better than a laundry "closet" that way I can collect a few favorite machines-don't have a basement to house that laundry equipment museum as some here have.I don't like open plans,either.Dream on--these things will have to come when I can win the lottery-at least have the laundry room for now.

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