I have, in recent months, developed an unhealthy relationship with HGTV. It started out innocently enough when my sister called me one night to tell me that the episode of House Hunters she was watching was taking place in my neighborhood. We flipped it on and, lo and behold, the house hunter was an acquaintance of ours! How cool! And we were house hunting so it was like HGTV was doing things just for us including confirming that the neighborhood we used to rent in was so far out of our price range that we might as well have been trying to buy real estate on Mars. Something I’m certain Steve Wynn is already doing with the intent of turning the entire Red Planet into over-blown casino hotels staffed by Martians in short skirts.
House Hunters led to Property Virgins and My First Place and then House Hunters International, a show that makes me think that owning a vacation property on the coats of Italy is a totally reasonable goal. That all led to Designed to Sell, and Design on a Dime, shows that shame me because I could be doing so much more with this little brick box of mine instead of just looking at the walls and thinking they’d look so much better if one of those designer people would come work their magic on it. Worse, it makes me actually try to do things only to discovered that I’m hampered by staggering incompetence. You think I’m joking? Well, when I went to start on the wallpaper I was complaining about here yesterday, I discovered that what I thought was a scorer-scraper combo tool was actually just a scraper. And the wall-paper remains on my wall. Untouched. Mocking me.
The thing about all these real estate shows is that it appears that there is an entire class of people who cannot, simply CANNOT, live without granite countertops. They are rendered breatgless with indignation if their agent ushers them into a kitchen with anything less than granite on the counters. And if they kitchen appliances aren’t brushed steel? Call the paramedics because they are likely to die of disappointment right then and there.
Who are these people? And why do they all appear to be thinking with the same brain?
My little house was built in 1952 and it’s not fancy. There are a tons of cosmetic changes like paint and window treatments that need to be done and I’m getting to them slowly. But it’s cozy and warm and it has plenty of room for C to play and my husband and I to stretch out and relax at the end of the day. The kitchen is cramped but it’s sunny and bright. The bedrooms are roomy but the closets are small. The basement is partially finished and not wired to be a theatre room but has plenty of space for C’s toys plus storage. The bathrooms are tiny but they get the job done. And if I’d been on House Hunters I think I would have been required to hold my nose and run away in tears immediately upon seeing it.
Judging from this show, I should not have settled for my cramped little kitchen with the ugly wallpaper and cream colored appliances, never mind that the appliances work just fine. I should have held out for appliances that meet some aesthetic requirement or torn out the appliances in the kitchen as soon as I moved in to replace them with something that makes a statement. A statement that goes beyond “I will heat or cool your food.” I should have declared the lack of dishwasher a deal breaker.
I should have looked at the closets in my house and declared them too small because they are not approximately the same size as my office at work with built-in shoe racks.
I should have walked into the basement and started asking for estimates on getting the walls sheet-rocked and new laminate floors put in and surround sound installed and a new tv hung on the walls. I should have laughed out loud at the 70’s style rumpus room type bar in the basement and made noises about tearing it out or upgrading it to turn the whole room into something called a “man cave” so my husband could retreat from his family on game day.
I should have looked at my tiny bathrooms and declared them non-starters. Each one only has one sink! The tub downstairs is original and it’s blue! The upstairs has a fiberglass shower stall that’s prime selling point is that it serves as a shower, not an architectural and design centerpiece for the master suite! It’s not even in the master suite! And where is the jetted garden style tub?
But I don’t spend much time in the bathroom and I’m suspicious of these House Hunters people who appear to plan on spending many quality hours in the same space as their commode.
My house is a home. You can walk into my living room and sit on the couch and chat with me while your child and mine play with the toys that litter the family space. I can get you a cold drink from the cream colored fridge or make some coffee in the coffee maker that doesn’t match the other appliances. We could go to the basement and let the kids run around and not worry if they spill their juice boxes on the linoleum. We could sit out on the deck, the only House Hunters-worthy feature, and enjoy our moderately sized yard with the garden the previous own laid out. And if you needed to, you could wash up in the small rest room. It would only take you a minute which is why I don’t worry about the color of the tile in there too much.
I don’t know if the people on House Hunters are unrealistic or irretrievably spoiled. But I know I’m not inviting them over to my house any time soon.