Have you ever wanted to get your house put through a TLC makeover?
Well, fortunately for you, so many people have been on these at this point that there are people whose brains you can pick.
What they gained and lost from the shows are a case-by-case basis, so their feedback should be taken with a grain of salt; still, it's cool to know the behind-the-scenes details and the aftermath.
Here were some of those answers.
No Grout? Big Problem!
Plumbing and remodeling company I work for did plumbing for an HGTV show about 10 years ago. We did the hook ups for the new laundry room. The homeowners picked some fancy Moroccan tile for the floors at some upscale NYC boutique and the host of the show decided it would look better without grout...which went about as well as you'd expect.
Filming wrapped, and we were called back out a few weeks later to replace the fancy tile that immediately chipped and became dangerous with some boring tile. Had to sign NDAs, etc.
Welp...It Sure Didn't Last
My sister's master bedroom got a makeover on a "surprise your spouse" show. The designer was going for an "Arabian nights" romantic vibe but it ended up pretty weird looking with all the closets hidden behind yards of draped fabric. They took it all down and painted the room a neutral color within months.
They also took the ceiling fan out and replaced it with a giant tree branch wired up with twinkling lights. Not too long afterwards half the lights went out and it was too hot in the room without the fan, so that got put back as well. On the bright side it didn't cost them anything and was a fun experience, and they got a couple of new furniture pieces out of it but in the end they didn't keep any of it the same.
Pretty Decorations, Shoddy Longevity
My family was on a home renovation show when I was a kid, in the late 90s early 2000s. I think it was Changing Rooms or possibly another show by the same cast and producers. It was one of those shows where they do 3 rooms in the house and mine was one of the rooms they decorated.
It looked so pretty, they decorated it to look like a fairy woodland with huge tree murals on the walls and a nights sky of stars hanging from the ceiling. But it held up really badly, all the murals on the wall peeled off and it looked bad pretty quickly. I had fun shooting the show though and it was a cool story to tell my friends at school.
That Bar Done Got Rescued
It's not a house, but a local place was on Bar Rescue a few years back. Overhauled the entire interior. I haven't seen the episode of the actual show but the bar has softball fields at it.
I went up and played softball during one their test runs. They renamed the place Boulder Lodge. About 9 months later they went back to the old name but kept most of the interior designs and food/menu. It's still running and largely seems better than it was before the rescue.
Too Many Problems
Remember "Extreme Makeover?" A show where they build or hugely remake a home for a needy person/owner?
They did one here in my town (won't say for privacy) and my brother, a builder was approached to help build a home in the dead of winter. Bros couldn't help but our friends-the neighbors to the home, volunteered and the home was completed in one week.
In heavy rain, and cold, they built it, and now the home has any number of problems too. The owner went back on "Extreme Makeover" to fix everything, and was told, "you got this for free, fix it yourself."
It Actually Helped! Yay!
I helped source a person for such a show after they were the victim of a rogue trader that took tens of thousands of pounds from them, leaving them with nothing left and not doing the work.
I felt pretty good about myself that I was able to talk the person through what would happen, sit them down and chat over the pros and cons, and find a pathway through so that they could have a habitable home and normal family life again, especially as the family had had it rough even before the rogue trader.
The renovation looked great and there's no way the family would have been able to have gone ahead without the help & funding from the TV show.
Funny thing is, I got a call from the person about 6 months later and they said that the TV company had been in touch and sent out another builder who re-did much of the work and made it even nicer, because they since found out the guy they originally used was a cowboy builder!
What I'll always remember though is the transformation in the person. The first time I met them they were crying, shaking uncontrollably, afraid of the rogue trader and utterly desperate, with seemingly no way out. Over the course of my dealings with them they changed to such an extent it was like a different person. They were bubbly, positive and resilient - they were able to laugh off the issue where they had to have a 2nd builder out and while they were in talks with the TV people, it actually even led to a freelance job offer for them as well.
They'd been at rock bottom, and this was the catalyst that turned it round and it was totally unexpected for them. I believe it was genuinely life-changing. This was at least 10 years back now, but I'll never forget it. Hope the family's still doing well.
It Kept Growing And Growing
I work for one of the construction companies that was contracted to build the new house on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition". This was like 10+ years ago when the show was at the height of its popularity. Anyways, it was a huge nice house built for a widowed mother with several kids (father had recently died, hence why she was on the show...).
Even though the house was "given" to her, she couldn't afford it after a year or so (property tax, electricity, water, upkeep, etc...) and put it on the market. Simply owning a home of that size is very expensive and she couldn't afford it.
Broken Promises Promises
My company took part in a very well known British renovation show.
We donated £6,000 worth of equipment. They promised good advertising in return for free equipment and labour.
We found out after filming that the producers had asked our 2 largest rival companies to do the work and they said no. We couldn't understand why they wouldn't want to get involved in such a good cause.
The families story about why they deserved the work was apparently exaggerated and no one had bothered to research this properly.
The show never aired.
(Kind of similar) I stayed in a room that was made over on Hotel Hell. It was poorly done. The paint lines were terrible and some of it was on the ceiling. The decorations they used seemed like just really cheap stuff from TJ Maxx (not really hotel quality stuff.)
They didn't touch the out-of-date bathroom but they didn't put that part on the show. The hotel also didn't keep the fancy linens in that room because I'm sure that was a pain to wash and keep track of one special set of linens. Basically it looked great on camera but in person it did not look professionally done.
We Had To Coerce Them
Was on a show called the Builders on the BBC in the mid nineties. They were building an extension on the back of our house but left for two weeks unexpectedly half way through construction.
We couldn't get in touch with the builders and the production crew were very cagey when we asked whether they knew where they were. Found out a few months later when the show aired that they had all buggered off to Tenerife together for a holiday without telling us.
We hadn't finished paying them by that point because they still had a few tiny bits and pieces to finish, the sort of things we could do ourselves if needs be but which they'd agreed to complete before we payed them the final payment. Long story short, we complained and told them not to come back and ended up getting a 1/3rd off the price we'd expected to pay for the extension.