Remodeled Modern Kitchen

I always make fun of my husband when he yells at the tv screen when he’s watching a football game. It just seems so silly to me.  Yet lately I have been watching a lot of HGTV and find myself screaming at the tv screen. Only instead of screaming obscenities at a bunch of guys in helmets I’m screaming things like “That’s ridiculous!”  “That’s not real”, or “That would NEVER happen!”

While we all admittedly love HGTV, let’s face it; HGTV is a reality show, and reality shows simply aren’t reality, especially when it comes to project timelines and renovation budgets.  These shows are great for design inspiration, but anyone who has undergone a renovation in their own home knows that the fast and affordable design projects that the hosts present to their clients on HGTV is not a realistic depiction of how the renovation process actually works. 

Project timelines

We’ve all seen at least five HGTV stories that features a renovation project for a pregnant couple that buys a home and needs to have their major home renovation completed before their baby’s due date in 3 weeks. Why so many pregnant people?  Because the rush that the audience gets knowing that the hosts have to complete the project with this impossible timeline adds drama and makes us keep watching. 

In these cases, and in most of their shows, HGTV leaves out a significant block of time that is necessary to complete the project.  For example, all the time it takes for the architect or designer to complete the construction drawings, for the contractor(s) to prepare estimates, and the time it takes to obtain permits and inspections.  Because let’s face it…that’s pretty boring stuff that doesn’t make for entertaining tv.  In reality, this process alone can take many weeks and in some cases, many months. 

 As an Interior Designer, I also find it laughable that the HGTV host shops for all the required materials while the project is underway, and purchases all materials and furnishing in just one visit to a store.  In reality, purchasing takes hours of research and multiple trips to multiple stores to find the materials needed for a project.  There are endless options when it comes to choosing finishes, and researching prices, getting samples, and a getting the client to commit to purchases can also cause a lot of delays.

Of course, let’s not forget the fact that many materials have to be special-ordered so delivery times can delay installation. That perfect flooring that you found at your local flooring shop may be on it’s way to you via a cargo ship in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.   If we had a penny for the number of times the weather or the time that the materials have been stuck in customs have delayed the delivery of materials we would be able to own our own cargo ship!  Those custom kitchen cabinets that you adore?  Plan on 4-8 weeks for delivery, unless it’s summer and manufacturer vacation times delay production even further. 

On more important difference that affects the timing of your project.  In real life, contractors and designers are often juggling multiple projects at a time, so some days your project is not his/her top priority.  Unlike HGTV, most local contractors and designers do not work late into the night or through the night just to get your project done on time. 


After seeing the budgets that are presented on HGTV, homeowners are often shocked by the quotes that they receive from local contractors. $5,000 to renovate a bathroom?  Around these parts you can expect to pay that just for a plumber to upgrade and move your plumbing.  So how can it be done on HGTV?

First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that there are significant geographical differences when it comes to labor and material costs.  Sad, but in our part of the country you can expect to pay a lot more for a construction project than you would if you lived in middle America. 

Another thing you should know about HGTV; many of these shows also provide materials that are significantly discounted by sponsors who want HGTV to feature their projects. I love when I watch an HGTV kitchen renovation for $8,000 with all new luxury stainless steel appliances, especially when I know that the stove alone cost about that.

And it’s not just the materials that are discounted or free on these shows.  Labor is often donated by contractors who want free advertising or publicity.  As you can imagine, if you are a contractor or designer, it looks pretty good on your resume if you can say that your work was featured on HGTV.      

Don’t get me wrong; I love, and may even be considered addicted to HGTV.  But if you are using the shows to help you estimate the costs and timelines for your renovation project, you are likely in for a big surprise.  

Are you considering a home renovation in 2017?  Call us at (508) 533-6269 to get a free, no-obligation and realistic estimate today!

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