Subourbon Mom

HGTV – Where’s All Their Stuff?

In recent years there has been a lot of backlash against the fashion industry for promoting unattainable ideas of what beauty is – and to some degree, it has responded – models are heavier, they are more athletic, and they have some visible flaws. In fact, studies have shown that just looking at a skinny model in a magazine can make you feel bad about yourself.   I’d bet money that seeing a house or well-designed room that you can never hope to attain because of either lack of money or lack of design ability also makes you feel bad about yourself.

Or maybe that’s just me.

I think HGTV needs to take a page from the fashion industry’s book and inject some real “reality” in their shows. I don’t know how many divorces that channel has caused, but I’ll bet it’s quite a few.  So many of the homes they renovate or purchase are out of reach of the average homeowner, or the costs of the renovations are misleading.  Now, I’ll admit I’m just as much an HGTV junkie as anybody else, but I constantly have to remind myself during the shows that what I am seeing is not an accurate depiction of what it takes to renovate, well, anything in your home.



I fell in love with Chip and Johanna Gaines (Fixer Upper) like everybody else. I love her style and their TV marriage, and I even subscribe to their magazine – excuse me…their “Journal”. imagesBut there is NO WAY on God’s green earth you can do the renovations they do for the amount they say it cost. Unless…. you have decades of experience flipping houses (which by the way, is done on the cheap for maximum profit), own your own real estate company and your own construction/design company, which Chip and Joanna do. So, during every episode, in my head I add at least $5k – $10k at the end of each reno cost to be realistic.

UnknownOnce I ran through all the episodes of the Fixer Upper, I watched Love it Or List It. Hubby and I even talked about trying to get on the show so they could fix our upstairs. However, the producers never show these people moving all their crap and their kids and pets into an apartment and two pods while the renovation is going on, or the fact that they are on this show in the first place because one wants to stay and one wants to move.  I think there are already marital issues piling up that need to be discussed, and probably not on reality TV. And, nothing says fix those problems like since buying or renovating a house – one of the top 10 stressors in life.  You can’t tell me there aren’t some serious plate-throwing arguments during the process.

I really have only one question about those shows: what happens when the stagers take the pretty fruit bowls and candles away, and people have to move their old, crappy, dog-chewed, not-the-same-size furniture and towels into the newly-renovated home?

What I really want to see, HGTV, is a show about decorating with what you already have.  Show me how to display the glass bowls, framed menus stacked in the attic, blue coral my cousin gave us for a wedding present, decorative metal bird cage, and our three autographed footballs in a way that doesn’t make my house look like an upper-crusty Goodwill store.  Show me where to put my couch so that I can see the TV, the snow outside and still work on my computer with having to throw a blanket over my head to cut out the glare. And show me how to hide the damned cat litter so I won’t smell it, but I won’t forget it for so long that the cats get revenge and pee on the carpet.

And for God’s sake, will someone please explain what Joanna’s obsession is with shiplap?

But for now, until they can produce a show that accommodates my middle class budget, I’ll keep watching, getting ideas for Hubby to do, and then seeing which one of us breaks first – me deciding I can live without it, or him going ahead and building it so I’ll shut up. And while I watch, I’ll remind myself to look around, see that I live in a home with my loved ones, that is warm enough, cool enough, full of memories and souvenirs and things that make my life very easy in all the ways that really matter – and I’ll be thankful.


8 Comments so far
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Yes, Libby, Fixer Upper is addictive. Thank goodness Chip and his crew look the part, often hot and sweaty, grimy T-shirts and jeans — a legit construction crew looking as you would expect after a hot day’s work in Texas. (Some HGTV shows have “contractors” dressed as if they’ve never had to wrestle a toilet off the floor, spend hours on a ladder hanging a light fixture, or lay down rolls of insulation in a dirty basement.)
But the two reasons Fixer Upper makes my skin crawl are: 1. Joanna’s use of books as accessories. Does the woman even know the joy of reading or are books just things to place strategically on an upholstered ottoman or cover with identical paper so they can be lined up attractively on a wrought iron shelf?
2. The fact that, as shown on Fixer Upper, no one who moves to Waco owns any household belongings nor do they have any decorating ideas of their own. Why would any couple in their right minds give Joanna complete freedom to implement one of her three design suggestions she pulls up in her laptop without any input from the homeowners?
The couple buys a house C and J have pre-selected, they set a budget, they say yes, your design and your decorating choices are fantastic. And, of course, at the big reveal — “We love it.😍”


Comment by sbhankins

Agreed to all of that! 🙂


Comment by subourbonmom

Great column!


Comment by Maria Jones

Thanks! Glad you liked it!


Comment by subourbonmom

Love the blog and it was perfect for the week before Thanksgiving! I refuse to watch too many of those shows! I just feel inadequate and know I could not afford “their” ideas to renovate my home! So for now until I hit the lottery, I’ll live in my home- the one my sweet daughter calls HOME…that makes my house perfect!


Comment by Sue ann

Best attitude out there!


Comment by subourbonmom

You said it! Also the other comments. I seldom watch for the same reasons. I don’t need those folks adding to my house envy. My house is fine. I just need a free housekeeper. The one who lives in my body is lazy.


Comment by energywriter

My housekeeper quit a few days ago – and by that I mean I left everything in the sink and waited to see how long it would take the rest of the fam to clean up..:(


Comment by subourbonmom

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