Brooke here. Guys, this post is all for you.
For obvious and not-so-obvious reasons, Brown and I watch a lot of DIY Network. Obvious, as we’ve bought a home that is the quintessential “Before” shot, and not-so-obvious, as we have widely different tastes in programming and this is the only compromise that allows us to watch television at the same time.
(The man has a serious aversion to sharktopi. Go figure.)
Brown does do a lot of yelling at the homeowners on these shows. You might not know this, but the majority of renovation programs are not comped in full by the network. The homeowners pay for the lion’s share of the materials and most specialized labor (e.g.: electricians, plumbers, etc.). So when the show’s host is standing in the bathroom and the homeowners say they are okay with a $85,000 renovation as long as they can save ten grand, they already had on hand seventy-five thousand dollars. There are many, many times when a homeowner will say something like, “Well, we weren’t sure if we wanted this polished sconce for the insert of the new in-wall bathroom coffeemaker, but it was only four hundred bucks and it would really make the espresso pop, so we figured we’d go for it.” Hence, the yelling.
The exception are the Crasher shows. These are the programs when the show’s host, who is also a professional designer, will go to a big-box home improvement store and stalk the customers. The beginning of every episode has the host and his camera crew chasing rather frightened people who ask, quite sensibly, “You want to follow me back to my house and remodel my kitchen for free?” (I have yet to see the episode where the customer asks the follow-up question, “And will the new cabinetry have ample storage space for my corpse?” but I’m sure it’s out there.).
The caveat is you leave the design for the kitchen/bath/yard/whatnot entirely in the hands of the designer. If you don’t give them some extremely clear preferences, the outcomes can be… well, imagine you’re a designer with a rather large budget and the opportunity to put together a room using whatever doodad or doohickey that has come across your desk from manufacturers eager to showcase their products on your show. The end result is typically very clever design but can also be very gimmicky. So when Brown said: “Wouldn’t it be great to get on one of those shows?” I said, “Maybe not.”
BROWN: It’s a free renovation.
ME: They made a bathroom based on a Thai spa and stapled eighteen different textures to the wall. They’re going to have to remodel it again in another couple of years just to stay sane.
BROWN: It’s a free renovation.
ME: Those guys would slap teal and orange together, then add piranhas for accent pieces.
BROWN: Teal and orange are the Miami Dolphin colors, so they’re working with an aquatic theme. Also, it’s a free renovation.
We have compromised. If we are ever approached by a Crasher, we have established our preferences ahead of time so as to avoid piranhaings. I lean towards contemporary Mission-style furniture and the open floor plans of prairie style homes. Brown’s tastes are similar but he likes a slightly more industrial look; he longs for the day he can demolish a wall and set it off with hints of exposed metal.
But there is an additional problem, one stuck deep in my brain where home improvement shows cannot help. I’m partially face-blind and can’t recognize someone on sight until I’ve spoken to them multiple times and in different contexts. If someone ever did approach me at a home improvement store and offered to come home with me and destroy my house, I’d most likely hurl a drink at them and run. To prevent this, Brown has created a wallet-sized card with the faces of personalities on all of the Crashers shows.
He made it for you, too. Click on this handy link* to get your own high-res PDF, complete with QR codes for each show. Be informed, folks! Be aware! Avoid the perils of fish stapled to your walls.
*Currently hosted from AGAHF, so the link might change if I can get WordPress to accept a PDF. WordPress is being belligerent, though.