The Reality of Renovating vs. Reality TV
I’ve got my weeknights all worked out. All locked and loaded once the kids are in bed, and they involve me on the couch not lifting a finger, save for switching between certain home and living channels on the remote.
I am addicted to renovation TV, and these shows have me, perpetually, hooked and itching to do more renovation myself.
Like, no doubt many of you (hence your reading of this column), I am obsessed with home improvement, good design, injecting colour, and, repeat, renovating.
These types of TV shows and magazines are aspirational, and inspirational. Designed to motivate people like us. And they seem to be having the desired effect if you look at our booming building and design industries.
If only I had a spare 3 or 4 months that I could afford to take time off life for, the allure of a potential six figure winners pay cheque on auction day would see me trading the couch for a bit of elbow jostling with other motivated DIY’ers to get to the front of the queue.
But I’m no fool. The shows that dominate my living room and fill up my MySky every night can sometimes make things appear just a tad too easy.
Well not in a day-to-day kind of way, I’m sure the contestants very quickly begrudge the on-site living conditions. I don’t want to live through a renovation I have to do the bulk of the work myself on during the dark depths of winter, with no walls or functioning bathroom, and nosey neighbours sticking their two cents in.
But heck Yes! I would like to be able to compete in DIY challenges in order to win money or product that helps my bottom line.
Most of all, I’d like to impose the set schedule on my own builder to save time over runs. “If that bathroom ain’t finished by Monday mate you’re a gonna!” Kicked off the renovation! And the water-tight budget that HAS to be adhered to is something I’d very much like to learn to live by.
So for my most recent renovation plan, I have it all worked out. I have the plans for the new walk in wardrobe (note that’s top priority), the measurements for the new windows, the clever concealment ideas for more storage, the idea of demo-ing a wall in one room and putting one up in another, all in the pursuit of changing the home’s function to fit the needs of a growing family.
I dream of the wallpaper that will go in the master bedroom, the double basin in the ensuite, the cute little book nook and desk that will go in our daughters’ bedroom and the built in bed with storage underneath for countless trains, blocks and socks to go into our wee sons.
We’ve considered and planned the practical side of things too; the expensive bits, the boring bits, but they are the things that truly matter, that make the biggest improvements. The new insulation for warmth, the new double glazed windows to block out the constant hum of passing traffic each morning and night, and the new heating system to keep the never-ending winter ills at bay.
This is all I think about in my spare time. Short of telling the bank manager, getting approval to borrow more, checking in with council and booking the builder it’s all sorted, all mapped out. In my head at least.
But the reality is, none of this is going to happen any time soon. Finding a builder, ordering windows, getting consent and the all other building blocks in order, takes time.
Anyone that’s done any renovation knows the cost in time and money needs to be well thought through, not something you can easily rustle up in 12 short weeks.
Of course, there are a lot of things we don’t see in the aforementioned renovation shows, the boring bits, the tough bits, the disappointments, the set backs, but they do still give a kind of false sense of hope.
The reality off the tele is that there are always costs over runs, and, sometimes (this can be even worse) time over runs.
In the real world there is no magic money tree or coffee cart to keep you going after 16 hours of painting white walls. Renovating is hard work. But rewarding all the same.
I just have to be reminded that these shows are designed to inspire me, and to aspire to, and that’s it. Let’s not let the reality of renovating get in the way of that.