‘Reality-based’ TV renovation shows mostly fantasy

By Ted Blankenship

Watch some of those cable shows where they “flip” houses (no they don’t toss them on their roofs), and you’ll discover that the laundry room is an important part of the modern household. 

You don’t have to wash or dry anything there, but it has to be well designed. The rest of the house can be a dump, but you’ll be washing dirty underwear in a special place. 

It’s a room that can be nicer than some living rooms.  In it is a sparkling washer and dryer (stacked, not spread out) along with splendid shelves for towels and such. You won’t find a clothesline stretched between two T-shaped posts in the back yard.

The laundry room is often next to the mud room. It’s not where you store mud. It’s where you remove boots, galoshes and other assorted pieces of outerwear before going into the kitchen. 

The kitchen must have an island with enough room around it to seat all the members of the PTA plus a high school football team. The counters will be of granite imported from Brazil. If you’re from Brazil, naturally you’ll import granite from the U.S. 

Most of the walls are removed so that the household cook (if there is one) can see all the way to the living room without opening any doors. We aren’t told what there is to see there. 

Some of these walls are bound to be “load bearing” as they say on HGTV, and removing them will not only let you see through the house, but may allow the roof to fall down on you. 

To avoid this, the roof is held up with expensive beams that must be hidden above the ceiling. Then fake beams are installed below the ceiling to improve the décor. 

That can cause a mess in the expanded living room but can also be a good thing because the roof usually needs to be replaced anyway.

All appliances must be removed and replaced with stainless steel ones. These gleaming beauties aren’t really “stainless” of course. They attract finger prints and splotches from spilled milk and dribbled mayo. 

If there is a fireplace, it must be converted to gas or electricity so that it glows enough to enhance the decor but not enough to keep anyone warm. If it is made of brick, an outmoded material, it is painted white or covered with gray tile. 

Most remodeled houses will have wiring that was installed by Thomas Edison, so the house will need new electrical wiring and new copper water pipes. They work just like the old stuff, and they keep the city’s building inspector happy. 

Mold and mildew will have to be removed by an expensive crew dressed in plastic or you will be wearing a mask to bed. 

But when it’s done, you’ll have a house just the way you want it and it will cost only a little more than building a new one. 

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