top of page

HGTV vs. Planning a Realistic Project

Updated: Nov 7, 2018

I love Chip and Joanna Gaines. They have a very strong and healthy relationship—especially if you consider they live together and work together. That’s a lot of togetherness! They have the cutest kids who are very well behaved and they get a total home renovation done in one hour flat!

Okay, they don’t try to pretend that it all happens in one hour, but we’re only privy to the highlights. Over time, it can give the impression that even though there are hiccups in undertaking large projects, the audience is not made aware of the dramatic or stressful situations that can arise when things don’t go as planned. You just can’t represent the true realities of life in an hour-long renovation show—nor would the producers want to for the sake of their ratings!

So what is involved in projecting a realistic design and construction timeline? Each project is going to be different depending on the scope, the level of customization, as well as the schedules of the contractors and tradespeople. But if you keep these factors in mind, your expectations will be pretty realistic—which will result in less frustration moving through the process.

The Process

1) First things first… Independent Research!

Do some research on your own to establish the direction you want your project to take with regards to functionality and aesthetics.

Ask yourself:

· Do you have small children? Elderly parents? Pets? Any disabilities or diseases that make it challenging to get around? Desire a connection to the outdoors?

· Is your style more casual or formal? Traditional? Transitional? Industrial? Mid-century modern?

· Do you like neutrals? Lots of color? Soft brass? Polished chrome? Flat black? Wood floors? Stained concrete?

Collect images of spaces that appeal to you. This will help narrow down your aesthetic preferences and give you some ideas on the functional needs you may want to address. Collect these images over many weeks or months—as allowing yourself time for this step helps discern common elements that appeal to you over and over again. Then, when it’s time to make specific selections, it will be much easier for us to establish the direction your project will take.

We often collaborate with clients in a Houzz or Pinterest idea board and ask that they make notes on each photograph as to what it is that stands out to them. This provides a window into their thoughts and helps us gain an understanding of what they would like to achieve.

2) To Permit or Not to Permit?

One of the earlier steps to completing a large project is to determine if a permit will be required or not. This will vary depending on the location of the home and the size and scope of the project, so be sure to check with your local authorities. Often, the contractor will handle this, but you should keep it in mind and allow for the time it will take to submit drawings and wait for the approval.

3) Find a Designer

Take a look at and fall in love with the projects we have pictured on our website. Call us, and ‘poof!’ you have a designer! ;)

4) Set a Realistic Timeline

Your designer and/or contractor will be able to help you determine a realistic timeframe for your project. We are familiar with the tradespeople we use and how far in the calendar they schedule new jobs. Things have been hopping recently in the home improvement realm, so it’s not uncommon to have to schedule 4-8 weeks out for a custom cabinet maker, painter, wallpaper hanger, electrician, etc.

It is also important to factor in the amount of time it will take to actually design the space, specify the finishes and fixtures, then order and receive materials. If you limit your selections to items that are in stock, you will receive them within a few days to a couple weeks (depending on where the warehouse is located). However, you may fall in love with a tile or lighting fixture that is out of stock, backordered for 6 months or more, or simply has an 8-12 week lead time. It’s helpful to account for this possibility during the planning stage so the construction timeline doesn’t become a deal breaker in getting the items you really want.

Good pre-planning will enable you to get orders placed early in the process, thus lessening the effect (and stress!) of any shipping delays.

Now, I know that Chip and Joanna manage these issues every day…It’s just not necessarily in front of the camera when they do! They have lots of people behind the scenes helping to get things done and making sure all goes as smoothly as possible. And as entertaining as it can be to watch these types of shows, it’s important to manage design and construction expectations with the realities of life!


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page