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MsChicklet

House Hunters Renovation

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Editor's Note:

Discuss House Hunters Renovation Here!

 

House Hunters strap on their tool belts, open their wallets, and offer up all the HH cliches we know and love.

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You mean like, "Oh, this yard isn't big enough for (fill in the dog's name)!", as if room for the dog to play is the most important criteria?

 

Or, "We want to be near the bars and shops!" from those people with small budgets who want to live in an expensive foreign city center?

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One of the worst renovation episodes was a somewhat recent one where the couple covered every available surface in their kitchen in one of two not-at-all-coordinating patterns of stone (I think one was marble and one was granite).  They also hung up two light fixtures far more hideous than the ones they replaced, and just all around spent a whole lot of money to make their kitchen look like crap. 

 

Also the people who turned what had been a home theatre into a ridiculously-oversized master suite, and kept the projection screen as part of the bedroom.  I suppose when they have people over for movie night, they either all pile into the bedroom or watch on a much-smaller television in the living room?

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Some of those countertop/backsplash combinations really make me scratch my head in wonder.

 

I like the small rectangular glass tile, but I have this feeling that that particular look is going to date a kitchen really, really fast.  I think it's going to be akin to avocado green appliances.

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I strongly prefer backsplashes that are just a continuation of the countertop, but regardless of personal taste, I agree -- the small glass tile backsplashes are going to be so associated with this era that HHs in ten years will walk into such kitchens and gasp, "It's so dated!  We'd have to gut it."

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That small tile has to be used in moderation, though, as an accent.  I think it looks too busy if there is a whole big swath of it wrapping around the kitchen.

 

Some things that annoy me, yet which the HH's ooh-and-aah over are:

- drop lights that are just about eye height over the center island

- stove inserts in center islands with huge vents above them, again virtually at eye level

- kitchen islands that aren't at least a two-person width away from the counters along the walls

- center islands themselves

Edited by DownTheShore
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Did anyone see the episode with the young woman who wanted the Spanish style house?  She bought this house with this red and orange Spanish tile, and in the end, she had to gut the kitchen because the tile was contaminated with lead.  But the final kitchen reno had no Spanish influence at all; it was black with white accents.  It just seemed like such a stark contrast to what she'd said she wanted, and frankly, I hated it.  

 

I love the mosaic glass tile backsplash, even if it is commonplace in the kitchen nowadays.  I'm sure it will be consider dated in a decade, along with open concept and stainless steel appliances.

 

What I hate are stovetops or faucets in the island.  I would rather the island be free and clear for eating or as additional counter space.  Also hate cathedral ceilings.  HHs love to fawn over those, but the heating/cooling bills are crazy because everything drifts upward.  Plus, imagine trying to clean spiderwebs out of those places.

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I'm with you re appliances built into the island.  I wouldn't want hot pots and pans anywhere near where people are seated or clustering.  I actually like galley kitchens when they're big enough and spaced well.  I find them efficient when cooking.

 

I hate those two-story entryways with the grand staircase and the big chandelier, with the big window opposite the chandelier that lets everyone look right into the second story of the house.  A bigger waste of space and of heating/cooling, I don't know.

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I had a house that had an 18 foot ceiling in the living room.  Yes, it looked nice, but it was impossible to clean the top windows on the inside and the only way to clean the outside was to hire it done because I couldn't climb a ladder to do it.  Windows that are the least bit dirty look even worse when the sun shines through them.  Also, try cleaning those light fixtures in the grand entries.  Unless you intend to clean them or have someone who will, you will be hiring that done too or ignoring the cobwebs and dust that will collect.  Sometimes, the house hunters seem to overlook the practical sides of maintaining a house. 

Edited by laredhead

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True.  One of the first things that I think about is, "Who is going to clean all of that?".  Who is going to clean those four bathrooms weekly?  Who is going to vacuum all those floors and wipe down those baseboards?    Who's going to wipe down all the balusters in that grand stairway?

 

One of the things that I always wonder about is people who choose that rough stone tile for their showers and tub surrounds.  Now, I know that it looks nice and I actually like the look, but unless you have an extremely well-ventilated bathroom, those pits and groves in the tile are just mold homes waiting to happen.  Happened to one of my siblings.

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Heh.  You guys crack me up with your "washing windows" and "cleaning baseboards."  As a working mom I'm doing good if I can keep the laundry from piling too high and make sure we have enough clean dishes for dinner.  I don't think I've ever cleaned a baseboard in any of my homes.  Clearly I'm a failure.  :-)

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I grew up in a spotless home.  I know all about German deep cleaning.  However, life and a series of injuries left me with the choice of doing housework that hurt me or doing my job that hurt me and paid the bills.  I learned to live with some filth, and it has become much easier over the years to just admit that to myself and others.  There are much worse things than a dirty house, and much better things to do with my time and energy than clean now that I don't have a job!   (Of course, I live alone and have no human visitors, so I don't have to give a shit).  :-)  Needless to say, even the most basic renovation or home repair is beyond my abilities and means these days, but I live vicariously through my TV.

Edited by walnutqueen
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Heh.  You guys crack me up with your "washing windows" and "cleaning baseboards."  As a working mom I'm doing good if I can keep the laundry from piling too high and make sure we have enough clean dishes for dinner.  I don't think I've ever cleaned a baseboard in any of my homes.  Clearly I'm a failure.  :-)

 

Just because we know what should be done, doesn't mean we actually do it though - lol.

 

My chore was vacuuming and dusting as a kid, back in the day when yearly spring and fall thorough cleanings happened.  I had to sit on the windowsill with my upper body outside the window to wash the outside panes of the windows.  This was on the second floor, with my mom holding my legs.  We used to scrub down the aluminum on the storm windows with a toothbrush, and wash the metal Venetian blinds in the bathtub, wiping each and every slat.

 

Now, I just look at the dust and say "mañana".  :D

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This is by far my favorite version of house hunters, besides perhaps island hunters.  My vote for worst reno would be the couple who used the black marble everywhere in the kitchen and bar area in the living room. I remember thinking they picked the best house and they just ruined it with their tackiness.  

 

The cuple from the most recent episode in the San Fernando valley (with the British woman) made some dumb money choices, in my opinion.  For example if I was shown a completely clogged pipe, I would have taken the $5k I was spending on my hand laid iridescent blacksplash and fixed the pipes. I have no clue why the guy thought it would be a good idea to ignore the clog and even if they didn't have a contingency I would think they could have cut out something I would consider an extra, to have working pipes. 

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KimKam, no one will ooooh and aaaaah over clean drainage pipes, but they will admire your very expensive, hand tiled backsplash.  I would have put the backsplash on hold and fixed the plumbing.  When his toilet is backing up all over the new floor, he can go to the kitchen and zone out looking at the backsplash.

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When we were building our house we had a want and need list and the want list.  The need list always took priority.  We spent money on insulation and other not glamorous things.

 

Did anyone see the one were they installed this hideous green (i think it was marble) counter top?   It looked like an aggressive fungus.

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Plus, they didn't have a large enough piece to do the backsplash above the stove as one slab, so they had to join two pieces together, which broke up the pattern and made the joint obvious.  And then they used a different stone on the island, even though it didn't remotely coordinate with the green they'd use for countertops and backsplash.  

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Yes, that final pattern was hideous.  It would have been better not to have used it at all, and just waited until they could afford a bigger piece. 

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Another (mostly lurking) refugee from TWOP here. *waves*

 

I have some scoop on HHR from my SO who works w/someone whose sibling (w/spouse) participated on the show. tee hee :)  (I'll keep them anonymous in case they signed a confidentiality agreement.)

 

HGTV paid them a $25,000 renovation allowance, plus appliances, to appear on the show.  They opted out of the appliances that HGTV offered and were instead paid a $5,000 additional allowance.

 

HGTV supplied the designer and contractor (on the show, they make it look as though the couples hire them, of course).  The contractor suggested additional work not covered by HGTV's allowance, which they declined.

 

This couple gets along very well... a little too well for HGTV, apparently. ;)  Producers tried repeatedly to get them to disagree on various issues to make the show more entertaining.  (No surprise there; that's a running theme on the HH shows.)

 

If I hear any additional tidbits, I'll post here. :)

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Thanks for that info.  I always figured that they must be getting something financial out of it.  Imagine how much further that $25,000 would go if they were in the Waco TX and could go on the Fixer Upper show.  I swear, that couple seems to remodel a home for what it costs for the contractor to merely walk in the door in one of those California HHR shows.

Edited by DownTheShore
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Hey, y'all are welcome! :)  It's fun to have insider info on a show for once.  Nothing new to report, but I've got my ear to the ground. :)

 

Thanks for fixing my post, Rhondinella!

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Thanks for the info ladyofgondolin!

 

I saw the most likeable couple this morning.  She had light purple hair and was an art student and he was a sound producer for TV and movies.  Roshanda and Ben.

 

They did everything themselves and the renovation was so normal and realistic.  I knew they didn't have much money so the "designer" and "contractor" threw me off.

 

Their taste is not mine but it sure was refreshing.

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I watched a repeat of an Renov. show and I have to say that there's no way I want to hire a professional decorator to do anything in my house.  I always feel that you're getting their taste and ideas and that they don't listen to what the owner wants.  I will say that the wife was very strange and started crying about everything, but the decorator insisted on doing the renov in HER taste, which included blue cabinets---she had the balls to say that white cabinets are SO passe, yeah like blue cabinets are going to be the rage of the future.  Sorry, but white cabinets are everywhere and are not out of style, but I bet that their blue cabinets will not be a selling point in the future.  I always believed that you keep some things neutral and then use color to spice things up. 

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I remember the designer saying that blue was more appropriate to the character/history of the house, which I have to wonder about.  Still, these designers are assigned to the homeowners by the show.  In real life, designers are much more invested in paying attention to what their clients want.  It's just that designers have more options to offer than people can get for themselves.

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The powder blue cabinets remind me of the bathroom fixtures of the 1970's which are almost always torn out immediately. Luckily I think those cabinets can be easily painted after the camera crew goes home. I can't say as if powder blue kitchen cabinets have ever been more in character for a historic house...unless it was a Barbie Dream house. My grandmother lived in an 1890 Italianate home with the original WHITE cabinets in the home. They never have gone out of style and still look good today.

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I saw that one and kept wondering why the homeowner kept crying.  C'mon...put on your big girl pants for crying out loud.  I didn't like those blue cabinets either.

 

I couldn't understand why they even had a decorator.  Then I realized that HG makes you use one.

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My sister hired a decorator to help her update the decor in her shore cottage (a very small place).  She paid the woman by the hour, they went over her likes and dislikes, favorite colors, what styles she liked, what furniture and tchotchkes she wanted to keep, etc.  The woman went shopping with her to the local Home Goods store for accessories, recommended the color and pattern for the window toppers, and what colors and patterns should be used on the reupholstered chairs.  The decorator's services didn't really cost my sister much, probably a few hundred dollars but the cottage looks totally pulled together and coordinated.  Everyone who's seen it has praised it.  That was the first time any of us have used a decorator, and it was a totally pleasant experience.

 

I think that you have to know, going in, what you like and be able to articulate that to the decorator.  Not to mention choosing one that wants to create your vision for you and tweak whichever items are necessary to improve it, rather than one who's know for a particular "look" because then you're paying them to recreate what they like, not necessarily what you can live with.  (Always remember what Hildi did on Trading Spaces: http://www.buzzfeed.com/briangalindo/the-5-most-wtf-room-makeovers-hildi-santo-tomas-did-on-tradi#nqsf8e )

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People also need to be honest with themselves about what they do and do not know -- they're hiring a decorator because that person has skills they do not.  It's not my profession, but I'm good at it, so friends and family have asked me to help them.  My mom was a pain because she just wanted to pick out what she liked without any thought of whether everything coordinated (or she'd go to the other extreme and match too many things) and would get mad when I'd veto something for being inappropriate to the room.  My dad would yell, "That's why we asked her to do this!  We don't know how to pull it all together and she does." 

 

So while there have certainly been some questionable decorators and designers foisted on HHs by the show, I've also nodded vigorously along with some as they caution HHs freaking out over one element or another to just wait and see it all come together.

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I think that a good designer is going to suggest things that are you think are outside of your comfort zone, just because you can't imagine those things working together yourself.  I think most of us have learned, in the course of learning to dress ourselves, how to do basic color coordination.  What not all of us have learned though (and I include myself in this group) is what to add to the mix so that the ordinary becomes wow!  That takes skill and a better understanding of the meshing of design, color, and texture.

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Has anyone been watching the new season?  I only watched part of the Boston episode but was able to catch all of the DC episode.  I've really enjoyed the fact that we are getting to see houses outside of Southern CA.  Also for the Bethesda couple, I'm glad they added the half bath, I had to agree with the husband that it was not worth sacrificing a bathroom for an open kitchen. 

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That Bethesda couple should be shaking in their shoes with all the sketchy work they found in that house.  If it doesn't electrocute them, it might fall down around their ears!  Didn't they have an inspector before they bought the place?  I couldn't believe that tub/electrical outlet issue.

 

If I were them, I'd be hiring someone to take a look at all the wiring in that house.  They may have found that one issue, but they have no idea what's what in the walls that could kill them.

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I never saw the original episode of the Asian couple with the little boy, but that husband was hilarious. House turned out nice too.

 

And my envy levels were up to a dangerous level for the NJ couple, or specifically, for the wife. I do remember that ep, as she was the one who hates bi-levels, stating one of my most punch-to-the-face-worthy lines of all times: "ugh! when I walk in I hate having to make a DECISION!" Right. Because when I walk into the house at the end of the day, I always wonder, should I go upstairs to put away the groceries, or hang out downstairs while the milk spoils? Decisions, decisions...

 

My envy levels were high, though, while watching her dreamy, handsome husband, who apparently can renovate an entire house for - was it? - 25 grand, builds antique-reclaimed wood tables with our initials carved in, and restores cars in his spare time. Who do you have to blow around here to get a man like that? Or maybe I just need to ombre my hair to comical levels and wear raccoon-eyed makeup. Gah. </petty green-eyed monster>

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yikes, the Boston area renovation from last night, what a cluster fuck. Great advertisement for spending the money for a generalc contractor and not trying to DIY it I guess.

As far as the kitchen goes - if I never see another white kitchen with shaker cabinets, glass tile backplash,* and Edison lamps again it will be too soon. I think the only completely overdone aspect of an 2010's kitchen that was missing was the farmhouse sink. Or maybe it was there and I just didn't see it.

*alternative backsplash for a completely overdone, everyone else has it kitchen of the moment: white subway tile.

Edited by Peanutbuttercup
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I agree peanutbuttercup!!  I'm so sick of white cabinets and the same old look for every single kitchen.  I do have to say that the wife was very annoying.  She really butted heads with the designer who was full of herself.  I mean it is her house..not yours, designer!!  Who cares if things are not the cookie cutter way you want to do it.  That's what makes us all different.  They should be able to do what they want in their own house.

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Sean is a saint -- not only does he put up with Debbie's stubbornness, but he actually seems to be good-humored about it.

 

Debbie doesn't know construction, but she's sure that the bids she's getting are "ridiculous."  Although I can imagine tradespeople applying a "Pain in the Ass" charge, so she might actually be right...

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Guess I've seen too many HH/HHI/HHR episodes but the homeowner/designer drama during the Boston episode felt like just that - an obligatory drama scene. ?? IDK but the designer seemed fairly tame. The homeowner quickly and meekly went with the composite, i.e. the designer's choice and loved it in the end.

Agree, that was quite the basic, almost stock kitchen they selected. So much for having a designer.

Her bf was a saint. I couldn't see any reason why she believed she had the qualifications to be the gc. Didn't understand why she didn't simply bootstrap on the kitchen contractor and score some quantity discounts and efficiency/coordination that way. (I'm assuming the show provided the designer and kitchen contractor, BTW.)

Edited by BearCat49

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They said based on here experience as a Realtor she felt she was qualified to be a GC.  I have no clue why she thought that being a Realtor would make her qualified to run a construction site.  The husband was great, also I agreed with him, the "island" in the kitchen was just a table. I'm not sure why the designer was trying to sell it as this great awesome new idea, it was a kitchen table. 

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KimKam, did I hear correctly that they had spent $190,000 (twice what they budgeted) on renovations and had to wait until they saved more money to finish up a bathroom? The BF must be a saint or really, really desperate for a GF to let the budget get so out of hand. That episode was so crazy.

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I believe they started with a budget of $130K for renovations, and I recall them being about $55K over at the end (with more work to do).  Wonder if they've finished yet...

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had to wait until they saved more money to finish up a bathroom?

The didn't say they needed to save more money, they said they needed to wait until she decided on the finishes she wanted because she changed her mind so much but that it should be finished in a few weeks.

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She said a few weeks but he said more like months!  I heard 185K also.  They weren't married but acted as if they were.

 

Yeah, nice kitchen table, designer lady.  Well, perhaps she wanted to feel as if she added something to the process.  As we previously discussed, the kitchen looked like so many others we've seen -

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I tried watching tonight's episode during breaks in football, but even that limited exposure to the woman's "uptalk" (where every sentence sounds like a question) was too much to handle and I didn't make it to the reveal.  Between that and the vocal fry, it's getting to where I can't listen to half of the population under the age of 30 speak. 

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Watched the HH Renovation episode about the Baltimore couple and I agree with you about the grating voices of the women on these shows, Bastet.  I managed to watch the entire show, but probably should have muted the sound to make it more enjoyable.  The square footage of all of those houses was incredibly small and I think I might feel claustrophobic in them.  If not for the installation of the glass wall in the kitchen, the first floor would have been like living in a cave.  I guess the "charm" of the narrow row houses is lost on me.  i want natural light and and lots of windows.  I did enjoy seeing the use of different building materials such as the glass wall and concrete counter tops rather than granite and French doors.  I wonder where they relocated the washer and dryer?  i hope they do a follow up show later when the couple renovates the second floor.       

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I was wondering about the washer/dryer too.

 

I had to laugh regarding the drama about those folding doors.  Can we say "the contractor put them in backward" rather than "oh, they are reversible"?  LOL   I liked the folding doors, but thought that they should have painted the walls in the backyard a uniform color.  I was wondering if they're allowed to put some lattice fencing on the top of those walls to give the backyard a bit more privacy?

 

I liked the idea of the sliding counter to give more surface space, but I thought that the concrete cutouts seemed a bit superfluous.  Are they really going to use those "spice cups"?  Maybe it equates with a few less items for storage, but they still have the same cleaning chores.

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I liked the idea of the sliding counter to give more surface space, but I thought that the concrete cutouts seemed a bit superfluous.  Are they really going to use those "spice cups"?  Maybe it equates with a few less items for storage, but they still have the same cleaning chores.

I liked the sliding counter, too, but the only thing I could think with the concrete cutouts was that these two do not cook. What was the point of the little cups? Were they expecting to put loose spices in there? What a huge pain to clean and how do you know you will always need to cook with the same spices? And how do you get the ice and water out of that wine cooler depression?

Edited by jcbrown
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Agreed -- having permanent storage bins carved into your countertop seems unhelpful and ridiculous to me. My spices work perfectly fine in their little jars, so I can sprinkle them onto the food and then put the jar back into the cupboard. No need to take the spices from the jar, put them into the depression on the counterop, then sprinkle them on the food, then try to wash out the depression in the countertop so that it doesn't permanently smell like cumin or whatever it was I used for my roast and might not want to use when I am making eggnog or baking a pie.

Putting those depressions in the countertop also took away from actual, usable countertop space IMO.

That said, I like that they did some things differently from the standard HGTV aesthetic and they didn't whine about how the NEED a master "retreat," dual vanities (sic), blah blah blah. Overall I thought they were a pretty refreshing change. I liked the metal tile wall in the bathroom, too.

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