Anatomy of Preservation Guilt: HGTV

I have two confessions.

(1) I get sucked into HGTV. It’s terrible. Usually it’s “House Hunters” or “Property Virgins” or some remodeling show such as “Love It or List It” or “Property Brothers.” This particular selection of shows is probably more related to when I watch HGTV than choosing specific shows.

(2) Normally, every show that I watch on HGTV drives me crazy. Yet, I still watch. My mom and I enjoy yelling at the TV, just as my father enjoys yelling at the NY Jets on Sundays.

Now, what annoys me about these shows? A short rant, if you will. Consider yourself spared from the long rant.

(1) Buyers are always looking for “charm” and “character.” So they start by saying that they want a “historic house” but then buyers shudder at any sign of needed maintenance. More often than not, buyers shy away from old windows and only look to beautiful wood floors. What they want is a Pottery Barn house that evokes the cleanest sense of history, with none of the quirks and small bathrooms and closets of older homes.

(2) The shows’ hosts & contractors knock down plaster walls and add double doors in place of windows, completely changing the facade. Windows are so often replaced.

(3) Buyers are constantly buying houses that are way too big for them (a single person does not need even close to 2000 sq ft).

(4) The shows seldom say where they located! (At least the renovation shows do not).

So, why do I watch?

(1) I can’t help it.

(2) I like to see the transformations of houses, even if I do not agree with changes. But not all renovations are bad.

(3) Once in a while, I’ll pick up a useful home improvement tip.

(4) I like houses and neighborhoods and hearing another point of view.

A solution? Can someone please make a TV show about rehabilitation projects according to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards? What about people who want a historic home and appreciate a home that is listed on the National Register? If viewers want drama and controversy, we can find some.

What do you think?