The real deal on TV home-remodeling shows


Commentator Stephanie Brick says that while reality home shows are fun to watch, not everything you see may be reality. (Michael Noble Jr. for The Washington Post)

It is no surprise that reality television is rarely a representation of reality. How genuinely can anyone act (no pun intended) with a crew of cameras and microphones within arm’s reach? From scripted dialogue to behind-the-scenes staging, reality TV has seeped into nearly every corner of the market, and home remodeling is no exception.

Through the evolution of television, facts and fiction have generally known their respective places and, even if commingled, remained distinct from each other. Historically, there has been a differentiating line between programming intended for entertainment and programming intended for information.

The difficulty is that the television industry has increasingly blurred the line between shows designed for entertainment and shows designed for education. Channels such as TLC (which once stood for “The Learning Channel”), HGTV, and even the Weather Channel and various news syndicates used to be defined by either their informative or educational programs. Now, however, they are more entertainment than information channels: You are more likely to tune in to facts or reality — when it is even presented — encased by opinions, drama, heavy editing or outright inaccurate data.

How we process information changes when that entertainment/education line is blurred — specifically, when programs designed for entertainment start introducing elements of their show as factual (or vice versa). It is a sneaky way to tip the scales: The entire show is easy to register as entertainment. So when little “facts” or context-specific truths work their way in, we have our guard down and accept them, often without even thinking about it. At times, almost insidiously, these programs start to rebalance themselves in our minds as mildly educational. This is the danger zone of misinformation.

As a design professional, I believe one of my responsibilities is to help educate my clients. Despite living in the information age, we are surrounded by misinformation — and it can be nearly impossible to differentiate between the two without proper guidance. I see the source of this problem regularly when I tune in to shows about remodeling. So how can you tell what is true to the screen and what may be — directly or indirectly — propagating misinformation?

When it comes to home-remodeling reality TV, context is everything.

First consider the context of the home: Where is it located?

In some renovation shows, the city, state or even country (a surprising number that air in the United States are produced in Canada) are omitted. This becomes a honey pot for misinformation when numbers are then, inevitably, discussed.

Pricing for materials, labor and overall project budgets are not consistent across the United States, and any dollar amount needs context to have value. A $50,000 budget will yield wildly different results for a project in the heart of an East Coast city than it will in a Midwestern suburb. Always think to question where a project is located if numbers are discussed on a remodeling show.

It should also be noted that budget and total project costs may be influenced by the channel paying its regular and/or guest cast members each episode. (Do you think the designers, contractors and homeowners are only receiving 15 minutes of fame as compensation?)

Next, consider the episode in the context of its series. Does it follow a formula? Confident designer makes lofty promises on seemingly low budget; problems are discovered during demolition; lofty scope must be dramatically reduced “to resolve discovered problem” or an egregious budget increase is required . . . every time.

To their credit, many of these shows do an excellent job communicating this true reality: Once construction has started, sometimes hidden or unknown existing conditions are revealed that warrant (or require) an unexpected increase in scope — which results in an increase in cost.

For instance, disintegrating pipelines or tangled DIY electrical work behind drywall usually cannot be detected — or accounted for — ahead of time. (As I tell my clients, we are still working on X-ray vision technology.)

However, this does not happen with every single household or project. So if you notice it happening — on a dramatic scale — during every episode of a reality TV show, recognize this consistently injected drama for what it is: a real representation of renovation risks? Perhaps. An excuse to get out of building that third-story addition that was never even close to realistic for the proposed, yet accepted, budget? Definitely.

Third, what is the context of the final results you are seeing? Extravagant scopes on extremely short timelines are simply unrealistic. In theory, you could hire a huge workforce — but have you ever tried to find more than one really good craftsman or contractor to work on your home? How about a hundred? Even with the best of laborers, tight timelines rarely set anyone up for quality success.

In recent years, the grand unveiling of these finished houses have been quietly revealed as — sometimes — just grand shams, showcasing a meticulously composed staging. What you see is a beautiful, furnished, finished space, but just beyond the camera’s precisely calculated pan is an unfinished room and incomplete home.

Not knowing a project’s geographic context can lead to a misperception of budget and costs. Having only the pinhole sightline of a camera’s view can lead to unrealistic timeline expectations — even if just as an indirect, trickle-down effect.

We all know building a custom home from scratch in a week is unrealistic under normal circumstances. But does it not still, despite this acknowledgment, make three weeks for a bathroom remodel seem a little longer than it should be?

Whether or not your project is filmed by a crew and broadcast to the world, all architecture projects are governed by three factors: time, money and quality. If you are lucky, pick any two — speedy schedule, low cost, genuine craftsmanship — at the sacrifice of the third.

Many home-remodeling TV shows seem to deliver all three. These may be excellent sources for entertainment but should be recognized as poor sources of information.

Original Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/10/29/real-deal-tv-home-remodeling-shows/?utm_term=.4e87e0983e19

Original Date: October 22 2018

Written By: Stephanie Brick

Is ‘visitability’ included in your home remodel goals?

If you’re considering a remodel, and especially if you’re looking to age in place, learn what visitability is and how it can benefit you and your loved ones.

Q: My aging mother and newborn nieces and nephews love visiting our home, but we fear it’s not safe at times. How can we accommodate our extended family to minimize potential dangers and stress for all? 

A: Articulating a clear goal and vision for your home space will help clarify what you want to get from your remodel project when it’s time to talk with design and construction firms.

Defining what you want with words (and even pictures or vision boards) can be challenging, especially if you’re undertaking your first remodel experience. This bit of challenge can yield a longer-lasting project, and this term may help: visitability.

Visitability is a gauge. Incorporating visitability design elements during your remodel will make your home more … well, easy to visit. Easy not only to approach and enter, but also to stay and socialize. Components of a visitable house include:

  • A clear exterior and interior path.
  • One zero-step entrance.
  • Doorways and hallways that are wide enough to navigate through easily (for scooters, wheelchairs, crutches, etc.).
  • A bathroom that is located on the main floor and large enough to easily use by the person with additional mobility requirements without any more support or care than they typically use.

In terms of your home and your potential remodel project, let’s think about you and your loved ones specifically, while taking a fresh look at your current space. Consider these scenarios:

Are you starting a family? Once you have a stroller, a baby, a bag or two and a dog, how will it feel to navigate several steps to each door? Could you use a no-step entrance as one of your entry points?

Do you have relatives close by and a yen to host Thanksgiving Day gatherings or holiday parties? As your relations age (and as you age, too), how will they get to and through your home?

Does anyone in your family or friend circle have additional mobility requirements due to multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy? What’s the plan to get them in and comfortable should they come for a visit?

What about those around you (and let’s include you as well)? Would a more visitable home improve your quality of life or that of your family? Picture the same home, same loved ones and yourself 10–20 years into your future.

Perhaps in the future your kids have finished or are finishing college, or have moved out, and their ground-floor room is unoccupied. Let’s also say the room is not already needed for crafts, a game room or storage. The room could be made to accommodate an elder parent in that future, couldn’t it?

Or, maybe you’re just ready for a bigger bathroom, a no-stairs walkway to the back door and wider doorways? It works in hotel rooms and feels wonderfully spacious, doesn’t it? Who knew that these few changes could also positively impact a friend or relation?

Have you considered that improved visitability could also be a positive selling point? When it’s time for you to move on from your current home, and you’ve got easier access, a larger bathroom and wider passages throughout your home, it’s going to appeal to more people — especially if those new owners are looking for a home they can stay in for a long time to come.

Visitability really has more to do with improving the quality of life, not only for who is living in the home but also for those who come to visit and connect.

Originally Source: https://www.seattletimes.com/explore/nwhomes/is-visitability-included-in-your-home-remodel-goals/

Original Date: Sept 20 2018

Written By: Paul Kocharhook

What Should You Know About Aging in Place?

Financially, It’s Worth Tweaking

The average cost in the United States to live in an assisted living community is upwards of around thirty-six hundred dollars a month, that is roughly forty-two thousand dollars a year.  Age in place modifications for the average single-story home on the other hand are roughly between ten and fifteen thousand dollars.  That is one heck of a cost savings over the course of seven to ten years.  If simple age in place modifications can keep you at home even one year longer than you anticipated the amount you save is astronomical.

Don’t Over Complicate

Even the smallest updates can make a huge difference in how you co-exist with your home.  Start with something as little as replacing the hardware on doorknobs, cabinets, and more.  In bathrooms it is important to install sturdy grab bars, replace dual faucets with single-handled faucets, upgrade the toilet to a comfort height style, and increase the amount of lighting.  Kitchens are much like bathrooms with the addition of roll-out shelving and undercabinet lighting.

Renovate for Accessibility

Accessibility modifications are costlier than the previously mentioned simpler updates in hardware and lighting but can add more independent living years for you.   Consider installing a handicap ramp to entry ways with steps.  Depending on the length and incline needed a wheelchair ramp can be installed for under three thousand dollars.  Another common accessibility renovation that is recommended is the installation of a lip free shower.  If you choose custom-tiles, upgraded materials, fixtures, and fixings a custom, curb-free shower can run a family up to fifteen thousand dollars whereas simple, modular options run around three thousand dollars installed.

Think Bigger

Sometimes structural changes to the home are needed.  Some of these options can include widening doorways, creating a more open floor plan by eliminating walls, and event he addition of elevators in some cases.  If you are doing a major renovation to the home that is the time to think about the longevity of your life in the home.  It is less expense to do large structural changes while doing major renovations within your home.

Considering Using the Equity in Your Home

With the equity that has built up in your home over time there are multiple ways to pay for age in place modifications:

  • Cash-Out Refinance of Your Mortgage
  • A Home Equity Loan
  • Line of Credit
  • Reverse Mortgage

Glen Miller the Home Doctor is a licensed general contractor servicing Livingston County and the surrounding areas.  Glen offers a wide range of services including home maintenance plans, age in place remodeling, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, finished basements, and hardwood floor refinishing.  More information can be found online at https://www.glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/.

 

 

Major home projects call for remodeling pro

Is shelling out extra cash really worth it, especially with all the tools available online today?

Q: What is the benefit-cost ratio of hiring a professional remodeler? Is shelling out all that cash really worth it, especially with all the tools available online today?

A: The list reads like a DIY horror-story script and gets bigger with each desperate cry for a professional remodeler’s help. It’s filled with hundreds of accounts about homeowners who thought they could tackle a seemingly simple project after reading a decade-old PDF and watching the first two minutes of a YouTube video.

Whether a simple kitchen backsplash install or new bump-out addition, area remodelers every day hear — and see — the disastrous results of homeowners who took on too much to save a little money. Or so they thought.

We get it. Why spend extra cash when you don’t have to, right? Wrong. Your home is likely the biggest investment you’ll make in your lifetime and you don’t want to chip away at its value with subpar work. For the price we Puget Sounders are paying for homes these days, you could purchase a nice little collection of exotic cars — and you wouldn’t attempt to tinker with the engine or switch out the chassis on a Ferrari, right? No, you’d take it to a professional.

(Courtesy Nip Tuck Remodeling)
(Courtesy Nip Tuck Remodeling)
(Courtesy Carlisle Classic Homes)
(Courtesy Carlisle Classic Homes)

This is a roundabout way of saying that contracting the work of a professional remodeler is always the way to go if you’re not an experienced home renovator. Melissa Irons of Irons Brothers Construction takes this statement four steps further when speaking to those who are hesitant about hiring a pro. She reminds homeowners to ask themselves four questions when approaching a project of any size.

  • How much do you really know about what you’re attempting to do?
  • What if the project doesn’t turn out right?
  • Will there be any unintended consequences and, if so, how will you deal with them?
  • How do you know if the project is right for your home?

If you cannot confidently answer any of these questions, you need to hire professional help.

April Bettinger of Nip Tuck Remodeling urges homeowners to think long-term about their decision to ditch the DIY approach, especially if it’s a project of bigger size and scope.

“Embarking on a remodeling project such as a kitchen or bathroom renovation or addition is not something the average homeowner does every day,” she says. “Projects of this size are likely to occur once every 10–20 years. If that is the case, doesn’t it make sense to use the best materials and installation practices available so that you are making the most of your investment today? In the long run, it will save you money to hire a professional.”

Doing proper research and choosing the right remodeler for your unique situation is also key, Bettinger says, and will save you time (and headaches) down the road. “Finding a contractor that will be able to grow with your home and be a continual resource for you is not only a benefit, it means that you only need to do the hard work of research once.”

Original Source: https://www.seattletimes.com/explore/nwhomes/major-home-projects-call-for-remodeling-pro/

Written BY: Cameron Poague

Published Date: Sept 27 2018