If I had a Design Show on HGTV/ DIY- 5 things home improvement shows should tell you! (Part 5)

5. Last but not least, I have to give kudos to the Bravo network for their 'Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis' series. I love Jeff and, although not a trained designer, he plays a great one on TV. He's a remodeler who has transitioned into the design world. Although he uses a different, quirky yet standoffish creative license in his show, he does accurately portray something very important in the world of remodeling- MISTAKES! There is no such thing as a perfect project. Mistakes do happen, orders get delayed, items get broken and measurements get transposed. It happens, but it's your designer's job to minimize them or even prevent them from affecting our clients on the job. Many times they are handled so you never know about them, but it's misleading to show so many episodes without them ever occurring. It tends to makes homeowners worry when they do happen, since they never do on TV! Outside of the occasional backorder, when working with a designer, mistakes are minor. An experienced designer knows all of the right sources from which to procure your items to minimize costs and headaches. When a homeowner takes project management into their own hands, managing their subs and all of the material purchases can become overwhelming! You are not working with contractors and suppliers that you know well, as we do. Without those connections, the atmosphere is far more susceptible to mistakes.

picture courtesy of cindybultema.blogspot.com

My bottom line, I guess, is that I would run a home improvement show entirely differently than what you see on TV. Would it be the most entertaining? I don’t know! I happen to think I’m quite fun to be around, so I’d imagine I’d be a fun watch. More important to me, I’d be educational (as well as cute), lol. Long gone are the Norm Abrams and Bob Vilas who attempted to give you an understanding of what they are doing to a space. But, has our ignorance truly become bliss, or just IGNORANCE? It disheartens me to see interior design reduced to an hour of superficial selections of the newest products, well placed ads hidden among screenshots and decorators pulling the prettiest wool over the eyes of their beholders. What designers do is not only an art, but a science. If homeowners could see the balance between the beauty of what we do and the skill involved to achieve it, they would have far more respect for us and the value we add to their project. That may make them less likely to go at many projects alone, but then more likely to get them right, the first time, for less! 

If I had a Design Show on HGTV/ DIY- 5 things home improvement shows should tell you! (Part 4)

4. One of my favorite designers on TV is Candice Olson, for her beautiful work and dramatic flair. She is a well admired designer and rightfully so, but the lavish designs and high end fits and finishes she uses in her designs all come with a very large price tag. Many homeowners crave this look but just don't realize the massive expense of an entirely mosaic tiled mother of pearl wall or the $2,000 chandelier she placed in the center of that latest basement remodel! A majority of the furnishings she uses in her homes happen to be from her own line of furniture and accessories and, while excellent in quality, they are not cheap. I can tell you easily that most of her room designs begin at $40,000 and that does not include whatever she is making to design them, nor her crew. I am purely speaking of the wallpapers, lighting, wood flooring, cabinets, tile, windows, furniture and her great accessories. She designs well done spaces, but homeowners have NO idea what they cost... and they DO cost! 

Consider, again, that the interiors designed for television are meant to pack a punch on your senses, but that luxurious products have a luxurious price tag. A designer can help you balance out those costs to accommodate your budget, by selecting the right mix of higher and lower end fixtures and finishes to create the drama in your space without the drama in your wallet! It's what we do...

If I had a Design Show on HGTV/ DIY- 5 things home improvement shows should tell you! (Part 3)

3. I always enjoy seeing a project being done on a home show. The design staff is always 3-5 people, not counting the 2 behind the scenes who actually do all of the work, then you see like 6-10 guys all banging away at the home to get the job done. WOW, that's a lot of people... who's paying them all? On the show- no one, in your home- you are. And it normally looks nothing like that. Most crews are much smaller, as is the amount of design staff working on your home. These shows go for dramatic effect- like The Amandas do on their show. It doesn't take 6 girls to complete one closet remodel! The truth is- labor costs are NEVER accounted for on television. It is such false advertising to show homeowners a $2,000 room makeover, then show the "items" used in the space. They didn't include everything; they always include a few reused items but never talk about the reupholstery or refinishing costs and never discuss the cost of the electrician, plumber and various contractors it took to do the work. You always see these great $2,000 jobs that are actually $10,000 jobs. It really creates a false sense of value with the consumer!

Whether choosing to redo your space on your own or work with a designer, please know that every project involves some degree of labor that you may not be able to do on your own. Skilled services are valuable and although you can rely on a handyman to hang curtains or do some basic remodeling needs, if you need to do any pipe moving, electrical rewiring, flooring installation or other complex services that require a professional, definitely hire someone trained in that field and expect that those installations can add a significant amount to the cost of your project. 

If I had a Design Show on HGTV/ DIY- 5 things home improvement shows should tell you! (Part 2)

2. Design shows have sponsors. You may notice the same products repeatedly advertised in each commercial segment. Sponsors are a great thing for a TV show! They help pay for production of the show in return for promoting their brand and product. These products are then used within the homeowner's space. Most likely they got this product for free, but you will have to pay for it. A few of these on a show dramatically cut down what the room's total cost was- so the next time they tell you the whole room cost under $1,000, please know that floor they put in didn't cost $100 out of that budget, it was donated...Great advertising, but no savings there!

If I had a Design Show on HGTV/ DIY- 5 things home improvement shows should tell you! (Part 1)

image courtesy of www.myditi.comThat's it. It's happened... You've just watched an hour of television that has changed your life and empowered you to take on the role of DIYer extraordinaire! There's just one problem- REAL LIFE DESIGN IS ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NOTHING LIKE WHAT YOU SEE ON TV, and it's quite frustrating for me and the tens of thousands of other designers who watch these shows to keep up with what they are showing you, the homeowner. 

I often wish that I could have my own show on these networks, where I could show the realities of working with a designer versus going it alone, because there are so many situations that occur between the opening shot of your room to be remodeled and the closing credits when your room is complete... AND WAY MORE COST THAN WHAT THEY WILL EVER DISCLOSE TO YOU. I always do my best to provide my clients as much detailed information about their projects from beginning to end as possible, but television shows about design are made to wow you, and, perhaps design reality would bore you? One things for sure... there are 5 REALLY IMPORTANT THINGS THAT THESE SHOWS JUST DON'T TELL YOU, and here they are:

1. It takes way longer than 3 days to remake your room. On TV everything is instant. The designer meets the client... Then the show cuts to a second appointment right after. This never happens! When did the designer have time to plan the space? How did they push your design to the front of the line, or do they have absolutely no other clients? And then, you'd assume they just went to one magical store, waived a wand and found every single piece they needed for the room- AND IT WAS ALL IN STOCK! (Wow, I wish I designed in that world, my life would be SO much easier! Lol)


So, here's the reality. It can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks to get your plan together, depending on how busy your designer is. I average between 1-2. They have to source all of your room's items from flooring to draperies to furnishings. Anything custom designed, takes more time to dream up, plan and draw for you.

Now that you have a plan that your designer presented, you approved & made no changes to... Your designer still has to order everything and await their arrival. I think I've thoroughly explained this one... NO magic wand, NO three day project. Not gonna happen!

(...TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR #2)