What’s That? An HGTV Show That Will Not Infuriate Preservationists?!

While I’ve confessed my love of HGTV previously, most of the shows are not preservation friendly. What’s particularly annoying? The shows in which people talk about “character” and “charm” but only want brand new homes when they are looking at older homes. Or the shows in which spray foam runs rampant. I normally end up angry at the television. (It’s a good thing I watch HGTV only a few times per year.) But, wait! This time on my HGTV stint, I’ve discovered a new (to me) show.

The show is Rehab Addict, with host and “star” Nicole Curtis. She’s a self-taught DIY-er who buys historic homes desperately in need of rehabilitation. And what does she do? She restores them, doing most of the work herself. She saves old windows, hardwood floors, and significant features. And when new material is needed Nicole finds salvage material where possible. The show is based in Minneapolis, MN and Detroit, MI. How does she afford such tasks? Curtis is also a real estate agent; after the houses are rehabilitated she sells them.

As a preservationist, what do I like? Nicole seems genuine and she gets excited about finding historic features. She wants to save as much historic fabric as possible. She loves these houses. She despises vinyl tile, popcorn ceilings and bad renovation decisions. And she’s a cool woman. How many of us (women and men) wish we could do what she does? Read more about Nicole Curtis here.

While I’ve only seen a few episodes, it’s exciting to find a television that actually is about restoration not “remodeling.” Good job, HGTV. And now I want to buy a dollar house somewhere. Who’s with me?

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?

What’s Your Architectural Personality?

What is your personality in terms of architecture? Take this quiz from HGTV to find out where you fall in the wide range of architectural styles.

I was hoping to be of the arts and crafts variety, but I took the quiz twice (you’ll see that some questions you can probably answer more than one way) and both times I received:

You’re solid as a Ranch house!

Simple and suburban by nature, you exude a cozy warmth that lets people know you don’t mind if they leave their shoes on in the house — it’s only carpet, after all! Family and friends are important to you, and you love having them stop by. While not overly fussy or vain, you care about your looks — but honestly, you’re happiest in sweatpants. To you, life isn’t measured in the goods you’ve acquired, but in time well spent.

Well, thinking about it, it’s not so bad and having grown up in a 1957 ranch house, what else am I supposed to know? And I do love having friends and family stop by; I was just hoping to escape suburbia! Not this time, I guess. Well, for anyone else who was hoping for a different style, this quiz only uses 18 styles and we know just how many there are beyond that 18. Take the quiz and share your results.

An edit: So, I found out there was a bonus question involving dog choices, but that didn’t come up every time for my quiz. Strange. But with the dog question (and the same answers that got me the ranch house) I ended up with Highbrow Greek Revival:

Greek Revival homes (also called Southern Colonial) are a mixture of many influences, including Roman and Greek (the columns) and French (the high windows). You’re a mix, too. You take the best from the world and make it all work together. Though sophisticated, you’re still up for a night of dancing on a sawdust floor. You love life. You have a welcoming temperament and can always find time to chat over snacks.

Hmm…I suppose a combination of all types is a good thing. Clearly, this quiz is way too entertaining. Keep playing!

Thanks to Maria G. for sharing this quiz!