I feel the same about HGTV. Yes, it's interesting TV. Yes, it has exposed millions to the concepts of functional design But where is the reality of making those decisions It's great that the "Property Brothers" and "Love It Or List It" show people the possibilities of remodeling. It is the ultimate in recycling. But can they really remodel the entire house for $30000? No. It gives the viewers a false idea of what the reality of costs are. Even using the cheapest of materials, it's highly unlikely they can achieve that budget even if they are not paying for labor. I want a scroll of expenses. Those granite counters-$4500. The free standing sculptural tub- at least $3000. It all adds up very quickly. The contractors we work with are superb at giving accurate numbers. If Hillary was better prepared she wouldn't have the confrontation you know is coming-the heating system needs replacing and you are not getting the second bath! And there shouldn't be the confrontation at all. The better educated the client, the less disappointment in the end. It is the professional's job to make sure that the client knows what's coming. I realize that especially in older homes, you sometimes don't see the full picture until the walls are down. Preparation for an unforeseen obstacle should be part of the project before you start. Having licensed pros evaluate the systems on the front end helps prevent surprises.
Then there is the decorating aspect. Jonathan at least takes his client shopping. Maybe that is not a job I would give to the builder, but he does take into account the clients desires. Hillary is so often accused of not listening that it gives designers a bad name. The "reveal" should be joyous as many don't have the ability to envision a finished product. But it shouldn't be shocking. Clients should be involved every step of the way. Each family is different Everyone has their own style-even if it is undeveloped. A good designer teases that out. And if the $30000 can't cover the construction costs, how on earth does it cover three rooms of furniture and accessories Well-it can't be good quality. Notice that often the curtains don't reach the floor-just my pet peeve. Custom curtains are not inexpensive. But they fit and will last decades if made of good materials Because these shows are about instant gratification- 4 weeks??-really?--custom work tailored to the needs of the client is often impossible. Yes-Home Goods is a great store-but do you want all your lamps and accessories loaded into a shopping cart? It becomes just space filler. Nothing personal or meaningful.
Probably the designer that I think shows reality best is Candace Olsen. She doesn't promise instant. She actually makes a presentation to the client to show finishes and fabrics. But there is still no discussion of costs. Candace used good materials. Many are things she uses are licensed in her name to lighting and fabric companies. The results are lovely, but it comes at a price.
It's not that every project is expensive. Sometimes changing lamp shades and paint can reenergize space. Finding those treasures stuck in a closet can add personality and personal connection to your rooms. Little things can make a big difference. Armed with a good furniture plan and a list of priorities mean the search for the right thing can be fun. But that shouldn't rule out spontaneity . If you find a piece of art that speaks to you-buy it. The curtains can wait!
It all boils down to communication between the client and the professional- whether it's the architect, contractor, or designer/decorator. They should be listening to you and interpreting who you are into a functional, beautiful space. You should have a budget and establish priorities. Before the first truck pulls up to your house, you should know what you are getting. Dr. House is often dealing with mystery-design shouldn't be. No yelling "Clear" at 26 minutes after the hour-and hopefully no drama!