These home improvement TV shows are so useless, and tend to piss me
off. Almost everything I own I built, and built it using recycled
lumber, and other building materials. Then I see these shows on tv.
It seems that their main goal is to waste as many materials as
possible, wreck as much as they can, and then use the most expensive
materials that can be bought. They act as is resources are unlimited
and every home owner has unlimited money to spend. First, they start
with a nice looking smaller home, that I'd die to own. Then they
pretty much destroy the place, being sure to waste and wreck as much
as they can. They bring in huge dumpsters to dispose of perfectly
good, used lumber. They toss out metal items that could be sold to a
recycler and/or reused. They take older but well made cabinets and
rather than remove a few screws or nails from the wall, so someone
else can enjoy these used cabinets, they bust the hell out of them
with sledge hammers and sawsalls, and toss them all in the dumpster.
Finally they start to rebuild. They make the small house into a hube
mansion that only a politician could afford to heat and keep clean,
and they cant put in a common formica cabinet, but have to use
imported and expensive marble, and install multi-thousand dollar
sinks, and spend a fortune on everything.
I dont know about you, but I am perfectly happy with my formica
counter top, recycled stainless sink, and my $50 Moen faucet. My
vinyl floor tiles are just fine, and my electrical switches and
outlets are common ivory colored and dont cost $50 each because they
are ultra fancy. After all, most of them are hidden behind furniture
anyhow. To me, fancy is putting up a little wallpaper instead of
painting, and yah, I did spend a few extra bucks to get some extra
fancy trim in my living room, but didn't go into debt for the rest of
my life to do it.
Heck, it's a house. I sleep there, eat there, and most of the rest of
my life is spent either working or socializing outside my home.
Everyone needs a roof over their head, and caves are sort of outdated
and hard to find. We dont need to live in caves, but then there are
the other extremes. Why do most people need such huge homes and why
do they go into debt for life to build them, when that debt means they
will have to spend more time on the job and less time in that house.
It just dont make sense. Of course, most people dont live or build
places like that, but there are some that do. Yet, if you watch these
Home Improvement shows, you'd thing everyone needs to own a 40 room
home at a cost of 5.5 million dollars. And of course, to build them,
we must waste and wreck as much as we can, so that those who could use
them, will never get them. Yah, it's just TV, but it still pisses me
On Sat, 04 Aug 2007 06:20:05 -0500, jj60204 wrote:
Im with you all the way.
I dont have as much experience with homes as we just bought ours last
august. But I have learned alot and I didnt learn any of it from watching
You know they dont even consider that when they get done with the house
the cost of doing it puts the house out of the price range of others in
the neighborhood. How will they sell and recoup any of the money they
spend when other homes are valued way below what they spent on the remodel
plus the origional value of the house???
Some of these shows even use crap material and poor installation
techniques. The "Improvements" they made will probably last only 5 years
tops and then it will have to be regutted and rebuilt. I bet the next
owner uses formica when they do!
I know property values are different in the west but Im never gonna pay
400,000 bucks for a 1200 square foot house!
What I really laugh about is when they buy a place and never even spend
the 500 bucks to have a home inspection. They would rather save the 500
and spend 10,000 later when they find out about rotten wood or termites!
These shows are truly crap and for the totally clueless.
Somewhere in between lies the truth. You do make some excellent points
about waste and excess, but it is my home, I do spend quite a bit of time in
it and I do want nice stuff. My kitchen has Formica counter tops and a Moen
faucet also. But most of my appliances are top of the line or near to it.
I like the ice and water dispenser even though the ice maker had to be
replaced. I'm willing to pay for that convenience.
Comes down to priorities. Last December I had the choice of spending my
Christmas bonus on a kitchen remodel, or new furniture, or a down payment on
a new car. I chose to rent a villa in Tuscany and sped a couple of weeks in
Italy again. If you took a survey of people here, some percentage will say
I did the smart thing, others will say I'm nuts spending that much money on
a vacation that lasted only 2 weeks. Twenty years ago, my priorities were
different and I probably would have put the money into the house.
Meantime, I'm saving for another vacation, just now sure where yet.
All good points. What I find useless is that these programmes flip
back and forth so quickly that one doesn't gather as much info. One
moment they are finishing the front step, although the new porch
(following a logical sequence hasn't been erected yet), 30 seconds
later they are back to tearing out the kitchen cabinets. And then
switch to putting up a new light in the hall. Very confusing.
'This old house' takes it more logically?
We are, most of us here? very lucky to be able to make choices, living
in societies that are reasonably stable and also allow us some
reasonable freedoms to own or rent and/or do our own fix-ups. Along
with that comes responsibility. If I put up a shelf and it's crooked
and my wife's best vase falls off and breaks, or shelf falls down and
cuts open my child's head, I am responsible, eh?
When it comes down to it, at least to many of us in 'Western
Societies' it is a matter of 'The hierarchy of human needs'.
Our first need is to stay alive, we need to eat, be clothed and be
warm (or cool), we need to be appreciated (loved) and acknowledged by
Further down the list of needs are 'self actualization' also such
things as how fancy and how much can we afford to pay to have nice
things around us. An original manuscript may be the choice of a
scholar, a comfortable old sofa or chair might be the prized
possession of someone who listens to music/radio/TV etc. Mine is a
WWII radio shortwave radio that I owned as teenager around 1950!
Possession can become a demonstration of presumed affluence/
prosperity. A need to impress others; by having the fanciest car, the
nicest garden on the street or the biggest fanciest swimming pool on
Like several other here our housing is very 'ordinary' but very
practical. Very pleased with the decsions we made 37 years ago (for
this our second house) when myself and two carpenters built it. And
finished over next few years.
And therefore 'No mortgage'.
So if the roof over you head meets your needs let's save up for that
Gotta go and run the vacuum; as a widower I have to 'do' for myself.
Many thanks to a generally very helpful and practical group of posters
on this news group. Even some of the snide comments can be helpful!
You do verily suck, Edwin! Where exactly in Tuscany were you? Would
you recommend the villa?
BTW, if you did take that poll I think you'd find that some people
would think you're nuts _and_ you did the right thing. ;)
This is where we spent most of our days
Great place, clean, modern amenities, nice people. They do not have a pool
so they charge about 20% less that comparable places with one. It was like
living in a castle, 18' ceilings, thick stone walls.
In addition we spent a couple of nights in Venice, one night in Milan since
we flew in and out of Milan, we spent the day before there making it easy to
fly out in the AM.
The villa was in Rosano, about 10 miles outside of Florence. Off the
Autostrade, it was about 10 miles, then off the main road to a secondary,
then you turned off the paved road for another 1.8 miles to the villa that
sits on a hillside. Fantastic view across the valley. This place was build
in the 1100's and has only had a few owners. It was only a short drive to
shopping and to a mid sized town with supermarkets, etc. Mostly, we had
breakfast in the morning, at our big meal in the afternoon at a restaurant,
and then had bread, wine, cheese, salumi, etc at the villa in the evening.
I rented a car and drove about 1400 miles. We visited Pisa, Parma, Bologna,
Venice, Milan, and many small towns in between. One night we had dinner
with the owners. A fantastic experience. Every day was a minimum of one
bottle of wine.
This was our second trip to Italy. We flew Boston direct to Milan and drove
from there. The first time was a tour starting in Rome and working up to
Milan. Tours are great the first trip to get some idea of the historic
places, learn some traditions and customs, but getting of the tourist path
and into local shops and restaurants was very rewarding.
If we go again, we'll go south, starting in Naples. If you are thinking
about it, go. Don't hesitate and miss out.
That is what pisses many of us off so much. In the old days, even with that
idiot Vila as host, they did projects normal people could relate to and
learn from. Norm still did actual real-world carpentry outside the show
(before he got his own show), and the owners actually did work themselves on
the projects, not just ooh and ahh at what the designers and kitchen centers
came up with. I grew up in the business, so it was interesting to see their
spin on stuff I had actually done before.
They have heard the bitching- that is why they started the companion show,
Ask This Old House. It does stuff the original show did in the old days. TOH
itself is nothing but yuppie masturbation any more. I seldom notice when I
miss it anymore, and don't go hunting for it.
They exist not just to teach but also to sell building materials and
support a lifestyle of weekly trips to the home improvement store,
just as you would buy groceries. There are powerful vested interests
that need these trends to continue.
Even the PBS series do this with their heavy duty corporate sponsors.
Upwardly mobile people in similar age groups get whipped into a frenzy
as to what they can put into their house to show off to their peers.
(Miel Dishwashers, 6 in. thick granite countertops, media rooms...
whatever the latest trend is that month). Houses are no longer
'machines for living' or a place to raise family, but just as the
family next door that drives the monster SUV, these houses become an
'in your face' statement of who you are.
It used to be just the super-wealthy that did this. But now people
will mortgage themselves up to they're eyeballs in debt (as one funny
tv ad depicts), just to have all this stuff.
I have to mostly disagree with you. Although I do do think that TOH has
projects that are in the budget stratosphere, some others are more
realistic. Hometime is not bad, and some of the shows on HGTV and DIY
networks are more suitable for the average Joe. I guess that I watch
these just to get a snippet of design/build ideas here and there. Even
TOH may ocassionally have a single idea or concept that may work. I'm
not talking about traveling to Italy to pick out handmade tiles for a
closet floor, or chartering the space shuttle to have custom glide
roller bearings for kitchen cabinets.
My gripe is the Flip This House type of shows that compact 6 months of
quality work into 10 days of damn sloppy work. Refinishing floors at
3AM?? A tile job in 6 hours, including underlayment, setting tile AND
groutng all in one shot?? Mark
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