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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Obsessed with HGTV

April 7, 2004

It’s a love hate relationship. Pure and simple. That’s the only way to describe my addiction to HGTV.

Home and Garden Television offers 24-hour-a-day programming on everything from decorating tips to building backyard ponds. I tuned in to this cable channel two years ago to get some floor plan ideas for building a new home. And so began my obsession.

I love HGTV for several reasons: the interior designs, creative landscaping, and innovative concepts. (Only on HGTV could they scavenge a rusty rowboat from a trash dump and transform it into a beautiful bookshelf for a nautical-themed room.) I hate HGTV for one reason: unrealistic expectations.

It tends to set us do-it-ourselves-types up for failure. Believe me, it is NOT possible to refinish a desk in one day. I have the paint stripper, splinters and ruined furniture to prove it. And when I dig through trash to find recyclable furnishings, all I get is smelly. And the green paint that looked so soothing on their walls, looks like putrid pistachio on mine.

Those perpetually perky show hosts make it look easy. They demonstrate a project, start to finish, in only 30 minutes. There is no spilled paint, no bruised and bloodied fingers. Not a bead of sweat to be found. All you see is a great-looking outcome, and the hosts still sporting pristine clothes, perfect hair, and impeccably manicured nails.

One of my favorite shows is Sensible Chic. The host chooses a ridiculously overpriced designer room and replicates it for a smidgen of the price. It’s the equivalent of shopping Wal-Mart instead of Ralph Lauren.

A recent episode showed an $87,000 dining room with an $18,000 area rug. The rug had a red and cream checkerboard pattern. They called it “art for the floor.” Yeah. Whatever. I called it ugly.

Those frugal folks at Sensible Chic achieved a similar dining room for only $2,000. They simply bought a cream area rug and spray painted it with red squares. Then they substituted affordable, but elegant, light fixtures, furniture and decorations. It was sheer brilliance. And dare I say, sensible. The cheaper version looked better than the original. And no one would be afraid to eat spaghetti over that rug.

And that’s why I love this network. It makes us believe we can do anything. But no matter how hard I try, my projects never seem to live up to those on HGTV that inspire my creative concoctions.

After my latest disaster of trying to craft a tropical paradise in my bedroom, I decided to go to the experts for help. But to be considered for the HGTV shows, you have to live in Los Angeles or San Francisco. So, I guess I’m stuck trying to once again do it myself.

My next big project? To organize my closet like a recent display on Mission: Organization. I fear it may be my waterloo.

They say the first step to dealing with a compulsion is admitting there is a problem. OK. I admit it. If anyone knows of a support group, let me know.

Originally published 4/7/04 in The Exponent Telegram newspaper.


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