HGTV is a cable channel, the programming of which almost exclusively revolves around how-to and home makeover shows. In the “pro” column, HGTV can help viewers on an imaginative level. That is, it may show viewers how to reimagine a space; it may give you new ideas; and it might give you a sense of what kind of improvements add value to a home (even if the value is often overstated on TV). All the same, it’s important to keep in mind that successful TV shows thrive on narrative and storylines, and much of what you’re seeing has been extensively finessed by professional writers and producers.
In 2010, The New York Times characterized HGTV as “a cable network that fed—and feasted on—the fantasies and delusions of the housing bubble.” That’s partly because the budgets and time constraints on their programs are, to put it bluntly, wildly unrealistic, giving homeowners a misleading impression of the renovation process. Their shows also tend to gloss over important issues like permits and lead times for special order items. Last year, BuzzFeed wrote about the “40 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About HGTV,” the most interesting of which are probably #10 (Love It or List It is among Hilary Clinton’s favorite TV shows) and #23 (furniture isn’t part of the homeowner’s stated budget, meaning the rooms you’re seeing on TV are elaborately staged to increase visual appeal). More to the point, the cameras only show what producers want them to show. That means that anything that isn’t finished or improperly finished just doesn’t end up on TV. What’s more, contractors on television are paid to meet doomsday clock deadlines, working hours that would be impossible to follow in real life, the seconds literally ticking down as they finish the job for the cameras.
Tim Reagan, assistant editor of Remodeling, quotes one of HGTV’s own stars, Mike Holmes, on the quality of most of the network’s shows: “I watch many different shows and go, ‘Wrong, wrong, wrong’…Pros watch and go, ‘Oh my god, this guy has no idea what he’s doing.'” Reagan also recounts Holmes’ original pitch for his TV show Holmes on Homes. Reportedly, Holmes met with HGTV executives and told them: “I can clearly see they’re doing it wrong on television. I’m surprised you haven’t been sued.”
So, in short, keep in mind that HGTV is a TV network at its core, one that (like any other network) uses the magic of production to sweep a lot of real life complications and exigencies under the rug. The cost of remodeling varies greatly by state, where you live in a state, and what you’re hoping to get done, so—if you’re in the greater Boston area—give us a call, and our estimators will get to work.